Once dubbed the “grooviest band north of the border,” After Funk is … well … funky. Hailing from Canada, they are bringing their blend of rock and funk to the Blue Sky Bar and Grill Thursday night for what promises to be … well … a funky night. We caught up with the band’sJaime Rosenberg to talk about how they got together, how they came up with their sound, and the dangers of sleeping in a house that’s super smokey.
First, how did the band come together? It seems like you’ve been doing it for a bit now, but when did you start and what brought you together?
We all met back in 2011 while studying at the University of Western Ontario. Justin (bass) and I were paired up as roommates in our dorm through an interest survey. We had a pretty extensive jam set up in our room and moved the desk into the storage room and replaced it with a couch that we stole from our floor’s lounge. We met Yanick (keys/vocals) at an open mic event and started to jam, but it wasn’t until the following year that we actually formed a band.
What’s the hardest thing about staying together as a band? Have there been times when you guys have come close to calling it quits, and if so, how did you get through?
Being in a band can be frustrating and can be discouraging at times. We’re lucky to also be best friends — the other guys are like my brothers — so even when things aren’t going our way, it’s easy to keep smiling and having fun. I think having fun is really important. This makes it easier to persevere and keep pushing even when things are tough.
Can you talk a little about your style? It’s a blend of soul, funk and retro-fitted rock — was that always the aim for this band?
We have such a wide range of influences collectively. Obviously, we all love funky and groovy music, but in the van you’ll hear a bit of everything — funk, rock, soul, hip-hop, reggae, jazz, fusion, metal, gospel, classical. For me, a few big ones have been Led Zeppelin, Lettuce and James Brown.
Have you been to the Frederick area before (Baltimore/D.C.)? If so, where did you play, and if not, what are you looking forward to the most about getting here?
We have been to the 8×10 a couple times and to Gypsy Sally’s in D.C.
You guys have a lot of tour dates lined up — is there a memorable — particularly good or particularly bad — tour story you might be able to share?
The other day, the house we were crashing at was suuuper smoky so a few of us went to sleep in the van. In the morning, we went to use the bathroom, but we were confused about why all the furniture had been moved and we were wondering where everyone went, but we were convinced it was the right spot because it stunk like cigarettes. Turns out, it wasn’t, and we just walked into the neighbor’s house and used their bathroom. We were in South Carolina, so we’re lucky we didn’t get shot (laughs). Funny story, though.
Where are some of your favorite places to play and why?
I love playing in the Maritimes (East Coast Canada) a lot. We have a really strong, loyal following there, and we always feel the love. I also like playing down South quite a bit. Florida has shown us lots of love. Any chance to go the beach is always great, too.
Who are some bands we should check out that we might not already know about?
Five Alarm Funk, Pineo & Loeb, Vibe & Direct, Dub Kartel, Alysha Brilla, Stacey Kay, Hayley Jane and Funk You.
What do you think is the greatest song ever written and why?
This is a loaded question (laughs). I don’t know if I can choose just one. It depends on my mood, and my tastes are always changing.
And finally, what can we expect from you show at the Blue Sky?
A high-energy, infectiously fun performance.