Proud to be firmly installed in the new-funk movement, KUNG FU is quickly popularizing their unique sonic contribution, blurring the line between intense electro-fusion, and blistering dance arrangements. Making fusion music “cool” again, the band draws on influences such as early Headhunters and Weather Report, and merges those ideas with a contemporary EDM informed sensibility. Imagine 70′s funk-fusion meets a modern dance party and you have these guys!
Keyboardist Todd was able to answer a few questions for us, please read and enjoy….
Axiom-Nation (AX): Kung Fu has made quite a splash in the festival scene as well as headlining local shows these last couple seasons, to what do you attribute this success?
Todd Stoops (TS): We have been working hard and reminding ourselves daily about how lucky we are to have these opportunities in the first place. Like the old saying goes “you only get out what you put in…”
AX: Your latest album is enjoyable funky and remarkably different from your first, tell me about some of the new concepts or soundscapes explored in “Tsar Bomba”?
TS: Tsar Bomba is a collection of music that we took a healthy amount of time concentrating on. Almost 18 months to be exact. Between fine tuning the arrangements at our live shows, and re-tooling the material in the studio, we arrived at a very comfortable place where we could realize the evolution of the band and its influence on our writing. We wanted to tap into some of the more progressive ideas that were floating around our camp, without losing sight of accessibility – basically indulging our inner geeks while keeping an inviting sound
AX: As far as I know the band never uses pre-recorded synth lines or beats, have you considered adding this element to your sound? Why or why not?
TS: We toss the idea around and won’t rule anything out. But I would say it’s unlikely. There’s a couple of guys that aren’t really into it and I think it’s a matter of personal preference. But who knows!?!? Maybe the next album will have a little “womp” thrown in for good measure!
AX: The live shows always have so much energy and excitement, how do the new songs build off your previous work? Is there a new direction you wish to navigate?
TS: We don’t try to pre-determine a “direction” if you will. It’s as organic as one of our members sends a new idea around the horn in an email – we learn it and rehearse the new material as a band – if we all dig, we bring it to the stage – if it’s not working we re-tool it, etc – I believe that every new musical idea one of us comes up with is the product of where the writer is that exact moment with his creative cycle, what he’s influenced by during that period (and that changes often!), and what’s going on in the world around us. I feel like another approach might feel contrived to be honest.
AX: The majority of your tour goes up and down the Atlantic seaboard, but I saw you played the beautiful Mishiwaka Ampitheatre, how do you begin to settle the west so to speak?
TS: We have spent some time in Colorado over the past few years and we absolutely love it. Colorado music fans are some of the best in the world, their energy return borders on supernatural at times!! We are hitting the Midwest this fall tour and look for KF to return to Colorado this winter.
AX: I notice that there has been a fair amount of co-touring with the likes of Orgone, Turkuaz, Juno What, etc.. Who are some groups that you would be honored to tour with? (e.g. Dopapod w/ Umphrey’s is a match made in heaven)
TS: We love meeting new bands and becoming good friends with them. That’s been the most fun for us over the past few years, we have really forged some amazing friendships with other bands in the scene – that said it’s always an honor to get a look from a successful band who garners respect from the musicians circle – we have been lucky to perform with Umphrey’s and Snarky Puppy in the past, those guys are at the top of their game musically and are always a great hang – the Nth Power are our good friends and are straight killing right now – I am always down to perform with Lettuce or some configuration of our homies from the Royal Family scene – talk about talent! Endless respect for all of those cats
AX: What are you plans for New Years? It seems that you guys are at the right stage now for a NYE run.
TS: I’m not allowed to say anything other than I’m pretty sure it will take place south of the Mason-Dixon Line!
AX: We will be on Jam Cruise too! What are you most stoked for?
TS: The hang. Having all of the best players in the scene on the boat for five days and getting to collaborate and learn from everyone. It’s going to be amazing.
AX: If you hadn’t become Kung Fu, what would you be doing right now?
TS: We would all have opened some kind of pizza restaurant together or maybe a traveling circus – better yet a traveling pizza circus with cute bear cubs that ride unicycles but aren’t abused. Wait is that weird?