CHARTING A NEW COURSE FOR FUNK
AN INTERVIEW WITH TAYO BRANSTON OF FIVE ALARM FUNK
Five Alarm Funk is not so much a band as it is an experience. Combining elements of Funk, jazz, and even gypsy rock, the group have created a fully unique and entirely intoxicating sound. Combine that with eight members on stage full of passion and energy, it’s no wonder Five Alarm Funk have developed a reputation as one of the best live acts touring Canada today.
Tayo Branston, Lead Vocalist and drums, has a very specific way of describing his band: “Gypsy Rock, Afro-Funk, Latin, Ska, and Punk. An all encompassing, genre spanning Funk party that is gonna make you sweat and put a smile on your face.” They’re a tough band to musically pin down to say the least. But if pushed for brevity Tayo simply describes his band as a new genre. Five Alarm Funk is both a band and a musical movement. A collection of diverse and wide ranging inspirations to create something fresh, new and exciting. They are simply, Five Alarm Funk.
With the group’s latest release Sweat, Tayo is confident that they have been able to fully capture the intensity of their live performance on record. “It’s the first record that I listened to front to back and I say ‘Oh my god, I’m happy.’ There isn’t any part of this record I would want to change.” Tayo says of the new release. Sweat marks the group’s sixth record in their ten year career. Tayo feels that Sweat is the culmination of everything the group has been working for over their career. “It’s the experience of writing music together, over a decade of mistakes and successes. The knowledge that we’ve been able to grab to make the best possible record.” Tayo believes that Sweat marks a much more focused and honed sound for Five Alarm Funk. Of course the record still carries an incredibly diverse set of influences and styles. Before Tayo felt they jumped from genre to genre on each song, Sweat has a common musical theme that carries over from song to song. “What we’ve taken from all of these genres is kind of the signature Five Alarm Funk sound.”
As great as it is to groove to the sweet serenade of Five Alarm Funk on record, this is a band that truly lives for the stage. Sweat perfectly describes the experience of seeing this band live. Eight members jammed up on stage with the crowd packed in just as tight. Things tend to get real sweaty real fast. According to Tayo, Five Alarm Funk have worked hard to create an inviting environment at their shows: “It kind of speaks to the music we play. It draws out a very friendly and inviting crowd. People that just want to forget about the day and rock n’ roll for a little while.”
Five Alarm Funk are truly one of a kind. It takes guts to describe your band as a new genre, but Sweat more then delivers. They’re a band that acts as the soundtrack to the perfect weekend. Care free and a hell of a lot of fun. Tayo hopes that the group have written an album that’ll get listeners up and dancing from the moment the first song starts. And with Five Alarm Funk starting to get sweaty in venues across Canada it’d be in everyone’s best interest to join them for a dance or two.
Five Alarm Funk Tour Dates