Most funk bands have a short list dream collaborators -- and rest assured Bootsy Collins is on everyone's. And Vancouver's Five Alarm Funk is livin' that dream with "We Play The Funk," a new track whose video is premiering exclusively below.
"It's one the great steps this band has ever taken," drummer and co-founder Tayo Branston tells Billboard about the track, which is featured on the octet’s Boots & Wheels EP. "Bootsy's the captain funk, so for us to hop on board with him, man, it's such a pleasure and such an honor and an inspiration. It really pushes the band to new fans and into different people's ears. It's a real elevator, a huge lift."
Primarily an instrumental band to this point, FAF came up with the Collins idea while it was on tour last summer, thinking about adding vocals to the mix. "We were trying to switch up what we were doing," Branston recalls, "and we were like, 'Who would be a perfect fit?' Five Alarm is pretty outside the box, pretty zany and intense. The first person who came to mind was Bootsy." FAF sent an email to Collins' management along with the "We Play The Funk" instrumental track. The legendary bassist/singer's reply was swift; "He said, 'I love it. Let's do it!'"
"Funk brings people together, I guess," Branston says. "He was just on board and it lined up perfectly with the new record he put out, World Wide Funk. It came together super seamlessly, and working with him was just easy." FAF hasn't yet met Collins, but Branston says that after "We Play The Funk" the group "is trying to push to have a little more interaction, maybe some other stuff come out. We'll see what happens there."
Collins, in fact, affirms that he's "looking very forward to working more with them in the near future" and calls working with FAF "a no brainer...When I first heard Five Alarm Funk it felt very familiar and something I could embrace...I felt it was fresh food for funk." The "We Play The Funk" video was icing on the cake. "The video is jammin' from beginning to the start something fresh and new," Collins says. "For me it trips down memory lane with a bunch musical freedom fighters going gung-ho just for the funk it. All we ask in return is for you to have just as much fun as we do. This is not just a music video, this is a Groovement that will sweep one nation at a time. Soon we all will be onto first responders to Five Alarm Funk!"
FAF, according to Branston, has "tons new music" with plans for a follow-up to its Juno Award-nominated 2017 release Sweat after a full slate summer tour dates. "Hopefully we'll have other collaborations as well. We're trying to reach out to other people who are loving the funk," Branston says. "The momentum the group is huge right now. Everybody is firing on all cylinders. We're 15 years in the game as a band. Everybody is fully committed and loves being on stage and loves putting records together. It's a fantastic team, and I feel privileged to be part an environment where everybody is so passionate."
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