On the Rise: Future Vintage
The Dunedin Brewery is a fabulous place for a variety of reasons. Their food is very good, and their beer is outrageous. But it is the music that keeps bringing me back. They have music almost every night, from popular national acts to unknown locals… and everything in between. I have “discovered” so many great bands there first, more than any other location. The Brewery is dedicated to bringing in music, and house engineer Chris Fama is as good as it gets.
So it was in October of 2013 that I saw a band named Future Vintage was scheduled to play there. From what I could read, it seemed like these boys would be squarely in my wheelhouse. That turned out to be a massive understatement. I fell in love immediately with their funk, jazz and jamtronic sounds. I practically became a stalker, but the trio didn’t seem to mind.
Matt Giancola is the keyboard player, but that definition gets lost in trying to explain all of his synthesizers and computers and other devices, some with keyboards, some not. And lots of cables. On top of that, he went to school for jazz guitar before switching to keyboards, so he stills picks up the guitar from time to time. He moved here from Colorado in 2011.
Trevor McDannell plays bass, a bass synth pad, and a brand-new Moog. He formed a band with Ben Plott called One Sun that played for three years, before Ben moved to . The original drummer for the band was DRoc, but he is a very responsible daddy with two small children at home, and he parted company with Future Vintage last year. Miles Neiffer is currently sitting in the drum chair and meshes perfectly with Matt and Trevor.
And I would be remiss were I not to mention Giancola’s wife, Anna. She is the band’s photographer and videographer, and she is truly gifted at both. And she gets it. Matt usually handles audio recordings, and between them they are archiving the rise of this great group.
The band just played a fascinating show, providing part of the live music for the Dream Noir Aerial Show with the Aerial Dragons. Future Vintage has an afterparty scheduled for August 20th at Fubar following The Motet show at the State Theatre (it’s that Colorado connection!).
They are currently working on finishing a new album. They have been handing out free CDs titled Live Mix with five of their best live tracks, superbly recorded. And Future Vintage recently began working with Don’t Fret Entertainment, who have been building an impressive roster of up-and-coming jam band talent.
In addition to Future Vintage, Matt and Trevor are playing with the Juanjamon Band, and this is one sick line-up, with Michael Garrie bashing the drums, Dre Mack crushing the guitar, and Meesta Juanjamon on tenor saxophone, EWI, keyboards and bass. This funk is deeper than deep and subject for a ‘future’ On the Rise article.
Matt and Trevor will be performing at The Great Outdoors Jam July 3rd with the Juanjamon Band, and Matt will be sitting with Holey Miss Moley later that night as well.
Trevor also started playing with Juanjamon at Wednesday jam sessions at Cafe Del Mar in St. Petersburg, but a couple of weeks has turned into five months, and it looks like that gig will continue for the foreseeable future. Matt sits in as well on occasion.
And just a bit into the ‘future,’ mark your calendars for the Come Back to the Future Vintage Party featuring the amazing Come Back Alice along with Future Vintage at the Crowbar in Tampa. Now you know you can’t miss that! That would be October 21st, 2015. (You could look it up.)
MusicFestNews: Talk about musical influences.
Matt Giancola: The roots of our influence start with the keyboard-led Fusion bands of the ’70s. Herbie Hancock and the Headhunters, Weather Report, George Duke and Chick Corea are important influences. From there we also draw a lot of inspiration from the Electro-Funk era of the late ’70s/early ’80s. Bands such as Zapp and the like are a big influence on our sound.
We are also fond of the pop music of that era as well. Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall and Thriller as well as the early Prince albums are seminal influences. The gear used to produce music during this era figures prominently in our sound – Prophet and Moog analog synths, the Talkbox and Vocoder as well as the sound of the analog drum machines (Oberheim DMX and Linn Drum) used on these recordings are all key. This covers the ‘Vintage’ side of things, but we are also influenced heavily by a lot of the producers in modern Electronic music, particularly those who are excellent instrumentalists as well as producers.
Trevor McDannel: Growing up, I started piano around 6 years old and played until I was around 12. Got my first bass when I was 16. Started playing in my first band in high school when I was 17.
My earliest music influences were like most others: Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin. But when I got a little older, it was all about the funk. It really started with James Brown [ed. note: everything started with James Brown!]. I was a huge fan of his bass players and his horn sections. And Ben Plott, my partner in One Sun, was a very big influence as well.
Now let’s get to the good stuff, my bass influences. Bootsy Collins and every bass player for James Brown. Stuart Zender and Paul Turner from Jamiroquai. Paul Jackson from the Headhunters. Christian McBride from too many projects to list. The one and only Jaco! Garrett Sayers from the Motet, and Chris DeAngelis from Kung Fu.
MFN: How did you develop your sound?
MG: We didn’t start out with the intention of being an electronic trio actually. The three of us (with original drummer DRoc) started getting together in 2012 with the idea of getting the rhythm section tight and then adding additional members later on to form a more traditional Funk band. Over the course of many jams and sessions prior to ever booking a show, we started to realize the trio format allowed us a to experiment a lot more with the technology side of things that we wouldn’t be able to do otherwise. DRoc started using a Roland Electronic drum pad in place of the regular drum kit on some tunes, and I started using Ableton Live software as well as some hardware samplers/loopers and effects units to bring in more of the electronic elements that is a big part of our sound today. Somewhere along the way we decided to ditch the idea of adding additional members as we were happy with the direction the technology additions made to what we were doing. This side of the band is constantly evolving as we are always experimenting with new devices and electronic instruments.
MFN: Talk about your vision for your music:
MG: Our original music is primarily rhythm-based. All tunes are composed with specific rhythmic parts which fit together into a more complex whole, the idea being the whole is bigger than the sum of its parts. Everyone has a job to do rhythmically, and the most exciting part of what we do is when all of these parts are locked in sync together. Melodically the idea is to keep it simple and catchy. Feel is another thing we are constantly working on in the rehearsal room. Funk music is all about where you put the notes, and it takes constant work on the smallest details to get this just right. If anyone of us is even the slightest bit off the groove, it can change the whole song. All of this being said, however, our main goal is to get people dancing and keep them dancing all night!
TM: Future Vintage is my dream project. To be able to work with a world-class keyboard player like Matt G is truly special. It’s all about the funk, and nothing else. I play a Fender Jazz bass. A couple of pedals that I use are built by this guy in New Orleans, which enables me to get those synth-like sounds. My newest purchase is the Little Phatty Moog. So now we have 2 Moogs in the band!
MFN: The back of their t-shirt says “ELECTRO FUNK NASTY.” Accurate, I’d say!
Photos courtesy of Anna Giancola and Brian Hensley. Video courtesy of Anna Giancola.