Yes In My Backyard is a semiweekly column showcasing MP3s from new and emerging local talent.
“Funk” has long been a four-letter word in Brooklyn’s noise-punk loft scene. To survive, hyper-aware BK dance bands either adopted stiff no wave personas, used aggro-synth terrorism, squelched out deconstructed stumblebump, or just signed to DFA, where disco gets a pass. But funk? Shit, better think about bringing that veggie-oil van back down to Bonnaroo, hippie. The brand-spanking new CSC Funk Band–the brainchild of former Usaisamonster mega-riffer Colin Langenus and Talibam! keyboard splatter-artist Matt Mottel–is unapologetically funk (it says so right in the name), and the band is set to bring booty-moving, head-nodding grooves to the Todd P universe. Boasting a nine(!)-piece lineup, the CSC features members from a variety of bands obscure and otherwise (drummer Jimmy Thomson once did duty as GWAR’s Hans Orifice) and a sound that’s tight, lively, and sharp. Langenus likes to draw the connection between funk and minimalist composition (i.e., repetition, repetition, repetition). But don’t be surprised if dudes just devolve into a regular ol’ awesome party band within a few weeks. “Bad Banana Bread” is definitely (and defiantly) more James Brown then James Murphy, and more acid-fried Funkadelic than either, given Langenus’s ripping leads and Dave Kadden’s completely bonkers, Ethiopiques-tinged oboe solo.
Tell me about how “Bad Banana Bread” came about…
Colin Langenus, guitar: A funk version of “Paradise City” with a bunch of riffs that sound like late Hendrix throwaways–which is my shit! We wanted to see if we could actually make a concise song… another experiment.
Why did you want to form a funk band as your next project?
Langenus: I wanted to do something opposite from Usaisamonster. Something with lots of people, lots of repetition and jammy. And I wanted to work on my soloing.
Matt Mottel, keyboards: Colin called me up as I was high as fuck driving to the Grand Canyon in late December 2008 and said he wanted me to play with him and it to be funky. I was all about it. Nothing like the Arizona desert to get you primed for jams.
Why do you think Brooklyn is so scared of funk?
Mottel: Not sure why Brooklyn is stiff. Maybe it’s the water or the over-aware record-head vibe…. But our band is loose and free. Relaxed makes it work.
Langenus: I’m old as fuck and live in Greenpoint. If they want to come to the gig, rad. If not I’ll be there anyways….
What are the similarities you find between funk and minimalist music?
Mottel: Minimalism and funk have the same tendencies to find the pocket and go with it. Currently I am in Paris about to play a gig hanging with Rhys Chatham and he says that one of the great minimalist composers of all time is George Clinton. So there you go.
Langenus: I thought it was fun to try and explain funk as an avant-garde music, which it can be considered, but who gives a shit. I guess when we started we were so repetitious, ridiculously so on purpose, trying to be exaggeratedly minimalist, but now we’re kinda a tight funk band with changes and everything.
What’s your favorite place to eat in Brooklyn?
Langenus: Polonia on Manhattan and Bedford
Mottel: I miss Luncheonette Fountain off Nassau Ave and McGolrick Park… Lately I wound up a bunch at M Shanghai and the Chinese food is killer! It took six years to check it out, but worth it.
CSC Funk Band play Monster Island tomorrow, Friday, October 23 with Jimmy Cousins Big Band.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 22, 2009