Last night (that’s Tuesday for those keeping score), Roy Ghim, who is part of the team who booked the slate of music at Frederick’s Artomatic this year, chatted – literally over Facebook – with Retro/Ricole Barnes and his band, Da’Mood, in anticipation of their show this weekend with Cheshi and Mathias. And because we want to remind you – yes, you! – of all the fine things that Artomatic has going on, music-wise, we thought we’d post it here, edited and in Q&A form. The questions came from Ghim and the transcript came from Ghim, so go follow him and all the fabulous things he does on The Twitter and such. The fun starts Friday at 8:30 p.m., friends, and it’s free. You can’t beat free.
Roy Ghim: So lets deconstruct Da’Mood – who’s got what duties?
Ricole Barnes: Ok to intro the band …
Ricole Barnes – Main Vocals
Chris Smith – Electric Guitar
Dan Zyboyan – Bass Guitar/Upright Bass
April Reardon – Keyboards
Ethan Lichtenberger – Trombone
Beau Bailey – Drums
So, basically I assembled this amazing group of musicians for the Weinberg show (the Frederick Music Showcase last February), and the chemistry and cohesion was so good that we decided to keep this thing going.
Roy Ghim: You had a sold out show at the Depot in Baltimore last month. I take it there were people who hadn’t been familiar with your music – they had a good reaction?
Ricole Barnes: Yes, I think the show surprised a lot of folks who weren’t expecting live instrumentation. It definitely went over well.
April Reardon: It was a great experience and I was psyched because we were different. The other mcs just came with tracks to feed the DJ. We had a whole band. We definitely made an impression.
Dan Zboyan: We definitely raised some eyebrows at first, but people were movin’ and shakin’ so it was a good surprise for the crowd.
Ethan Lichtenberger: It was different being the only group not just handing a CD or a phone to the DJ, but it was a good different.
Roy Ghim: Let me back up in time just a little bit. I think a lot of people are still reeling from the Weinberg show. That was (as objectively as I can state it) incredible. Such a performance, wide and varied, you dropped a cultural explosion inside that 90 year old venue. First hip-hop act ever. I take it you and the band are still charged from that event?
Ricole Barnes: I’m still on a high from it. I couldn’t have pulled something off this significant without this talented group of musicians and Uriel Collins (band manager). They gave their time and dedication to making sure the public would have a night to remember. It was one of the best nights of my life.
Dan Zboyan: Shows like that certainly let the town know that the Frederick music scene is alive and sprouting.
April Reardon: Charged enough to develop new music and keep working together! We were psyched. We had so much fun that I think we all thought, “This doesn’t end here.” We got something and man it was pretty fun hanging out twice a week to practice. We took two weeks off after the show and I think we all missed each other. First night back, we just jammed and it was great.
Roy Ghim: There was honest chemistry – it wasn’t just that the music was tight (it was) but it all made such good musical sense. Kitchen sink all thrown together – but sounded so good. Let me zero in on a moment that really grabbed everyone emotionally: Your mother came on stage. Were you expecting this?
Ricole Barnes: Thanks! That was totally not planned, however my mother was so in the moment, I could see her from the stage dancing the whole time. Her and my dad were ecstatic. People are still coming up to her about that moment. I’m glad I made my family proud!
Roy Ghim: Let me fast forward now to a few days ago. You all utilized Facebook technology to live stream the Da’Mood practice sessions. That gave a real hint of some promising things to come this Friday.
Ricole Barnes: Indeed! We will be live streaming!
Roy Ghim: Really? Friday night? That’ll be amazing! The live Facebook snippets posted were called, ‘Live practice sessions from Dan’s den?’
Beau G. Bailey: Dan has a unique home. It’s somewhat secluded, and the energy is just naturally there. Dan has welcomed us as a family to his home twice a week. We eat meals together. If it weren’t for him, the band would have never progressed as fast as it has.
Roy Ghim: April, taking what you said a bit further, I gather the band has been able to continue to be really creative in creating more music and adding rad sounds to the whole mix.
Dan Zboyan: There certainly is a special energy there and with all the talented, creative minds coming together, it jives so well.
April Reardon: It’s an open book. If someone has a beat or a song or a riff, we work on it. There’s weirdness. It’s perfect.
Beau G. Bailey: And to go along with that, we love to have fun, but we take this very seriously at the same time.
Roy Ghim: I heard this randomly today from an artist, but the words were very clear: F*!$ tribal-ism. I get the sense from you all that you, too, share that sentiment in your music while being able to connect as artists and as human beings. I guess what I mean is while you all are from different tribes (races), you can still get beyond that to forge a new identity and alliance – namely this band and this music.
Dan Zboyan: Bridging gaps, breaking barriers, running parallels – we can all agree music is art, science, love, communication, but even more so, it’s a spiritual connection, a force of energy between us, the crowds, the listeners. Who ever would’ve thought seven simple notes could impact cultures, moods and the world?!
April Reardon: Damn Dan. That’s deep.
Ricole Barnes: Hey, I’m a student of Prince. The Revolution members were from all walks of life. Not to be funny, but I also watched the Muppets as a kid and they all looked different. But when they sang together, it was dope.
Beau G. Bailey: Danimal!
Roy Ghim: That leads to my next question: As we approach Friday’s show, everyone that knows you, Ricole, knows you were deeply impacted by Prince – and his death recently was something that sent shock waves everywhere. Prince was someone who blew up musical genres and artificial borders. Is that a torch that Da’Mood is picking up and carrying on?
April Reardon: I think that’s what music is becoming in general. Blurred lines. Country meets rap meets soul meets pop. Just as the races are blurring, music is blurring.
Ricole Barnes: They know my love for Prince and his artistry runs deep. I was deeply affected by his death. I was raised on his music. I wanted to be a multi-instrumentalist because of him. I wanted to dabble in other genres. I wanted the most dynamic live show, all from being a student of him. The night he passed, the band played “Purple Rain” so beautifully. Da’Mood definitely carries that torch. The night of my birthday, we rehearsed, we ended up going from rockabilly to funk to alternative back to hip-hop and every thing in between. I want them to be seen as a band that can play any venue because there’s no ceiling.
Roy Ghim: I don’t want to reveal any spoilers for Friday’s show, but might we expect something in tribute to the late purple one?
Ricole Barnes: I answer that with an emoji (a purple devil, next to an umbrella with purple rain coming down).
Beau G. Bailey: We are blessed with a guitarist that has no limits.
Chris Smith: I play a bit.
Ricole Barnes: There’s our guy!
April Reardon: Look at that sneaky dude.
Roy Ghim: Ricole, you got a chance to curate this lineup for Artomatic this Friday. You have Cheshi, an exciting indie rock band, and Mathais from D.C. People around here may not know but he just headlined a show at the legendary 9:30 Club as part of its tribute to Prince. And then there’s you and your band, hip-hop and beyond. What was your process in your mind when you were curating like this?
Ricole Barnes: I was inspired by festivals, really. Coachella, Bonaroo and Made In America. I love seeing different genres share the stage with each other. For example, Made In America, which was Jay-Z’s festival. DeadMau5 was on the stage before Beyonce. I just thought that was so dope. Jay-Z sat in the crowd and passed around drinks while watching the whole thing. I thought to myself, “I love how the crowd is checking for both artists.” With that being said, I’m a fan of Ashli (lead singer of Cheshi). Her voice is amazing and Mathias is the epitome of a dope DJ in this era! Some of the best parties I’ve been two in the last five years, Mathias has been the maestro behind the turntables. I wanted to create a live version of your Spotify account on shuffle! And yes I was stoked to see he played the 9:30. He and I where just there for a Pusha T show! The fact that it was a Prince dedication was even crazier!