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It’s been two years since YIMBY first peeked in on CSC Funk Band, the rollicking, hard-hitting, long-jamming, unapologetically funktacular boogie monster tapped to finally “bring booty-moving, head-nodding grooves to the Todd P universe.” In that time they’ve blossomed from eight members to 11, turned countless lofts into sweatboxes, and tightened their jamcentric trance-outs into taut acid-washed Funkadelia. Most importantly, they’ve secured a deal with hip-hop staple Fat Beats for the release of their debut album Things Are Getting Too Casual (due August 23). Frontman Colin Langenus describes the band’s inner workings as, “the joy of getting these dudes together and creating something from all of our disparate musical pasts.” Those pasts include Langenus’s stint leading noise-prog colossus USAISAMONSTER, drummer Jimmy Thompson laying down some blood-thick grooves as the drummer from Gwar, and the other nine members working with everyone from Anthony Braxton to Akron/Family to ska brats Bad Manners. The clattering percussion of album opener “Caneca” is like Remain In Light Talking Heads if they weren’t afraid to play ripping guitar solos, and like its party-anthem forbear “Tequila,” the lyric sheet consists of one celebratory, inebriated word. Shout along.
What does the word “Caneca” mean? Why did you choose it as the sole lyric in the song?
Colin Langenus, guitar: “Caneca” means flask of liquor. Boom!
Jimmy Thompson, drums: Could just have easily been “banana” or “Santana,” but caneca was what was being passed around the room that night.
Do you remember anything about the recording session for this song in particular?
Thompson: It was hot and midsummer in a basement apartment in Bushwick. We felt like funky commandos. Special ops.
Langenus: This recording session was an experiment in seeing if we could write a couple songs, make a 45, and see from there where we could go. This was one of our first originals. It was our first session. Before this recording we barely existed and could have folded without a whimper, but upon hearing ourselves and doing our first tour, we had so much damn fun and got so much better. You could feel it. It was all a plan. This recording sesh was like setting up our first domino, knocking it over, and trying to set up another.
What are the benefits and obstacles of having an 11-piece band?
Langenus: Well, we’re more like eight members with three on the bench. So, if a couple dudes can’t make it, there’s others to fill in. That’s a benefit. But the band is designed to play simple music requiring minimal rehearsing so the potential logistic problem of getting 11 people together isn’t too much of an obstacle. Its just fun for me to have all these sounds coming out of the band without it just coming out of my foot pedals. We each got our own job and our specific frequency.
You talk a lot about repetition and trance, but this is such a short song!
Langenus: I think we cleared the room one too many times with four song, hour-and-a-half sets that we thought it’d be a fun experiment to try. Another art experiment. Plus it had to fit on a 45!
Thompson: We hold these truths to be self-edited. The 45 rpm project for vinyl makes you distill your ideas. You can always stretch out to fit different situations but the medium, the 45, gives you only so much time to state your case, then the speaker has to step down.
Have you guys been influenced at all by New York’s afrobeat renaissance?
Thompson: I don’t think deliberately, but certainly by some sort of pop culture/reissue osmosis I’m sure it’s seeped in. It’s there but there’s never by design on our part. I think we feel music as more of a continuance rather than any particular renaissance. Of course there’s always an element of discovery when you come across reissues of say funk from Ghana from a very specific time, but we’re not a group of musicians who say “Hey, let’s go for this vibe.” Things just kind of happen on their own accord with this band, a gushing of ideas and energy when we’re assembled. That seems more authentic for us and more what we’re all about.
What’s your favorite groove of any song in 2011?
Langenus: “Push it in” by Vybz Kartel.
Thompson: “Youba” by Sway Machinery and Khaira Arby.
CSC Funk Band play Public Assembly on July 28 and Nublu on July 29.