Funk band, Hunter Gatherers, formed in January and competed in Whitworth’s Battle of the Bands as their very first performance on Feb. 23 in the Hixson Union Building.
The band is made up of sophomore Augi Sheets, sophomore Matt Goode, junior Ryan Grande, freshman Jacob Dansereau and freshman Cameron Smart. The group has an eclectic music taste. Smart, who plays piano, and Dansereau, who is the drummer, are both heavily influenced by jazz.
“I have an uncle who is a studio musician drummer and he plays smooth jazz,” Dansereau said. “That’s the kind of music that I’ve grown up around and grown to love.”
Smart started playing the keyboard in sixth grade and has now started jazz piano lessons.
“We do a lot of stuff with a 12 bar blues progression, but I feel like we have a unique sound,” Smart said.
Their song “Inside Passage” is an upbeat crowd-pleaser with fast drumming. “Lonesome Coyote” is based around the chord structure found on “The Legend of Zelda” soundtrack. Other musical influences hail from Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, Pink Floyd and Stevie Ray Vaughan.
The band members may have different tastes but they all have one interest that brings them together: their passion for making funk music.
Lyric writing is mainly left to vocalist, Grande. He said their tunes are made by a lot of experimentation.
“Augi does a lot of the chord make-up, I do a lot of the melody make-up, and then me and Augi collaborate on song layout,” Grande said.
The song “Hujambo,” which means “Hello” in Swahili, (guitarist Sheets had a brief encounter with a Swahili class before dropping it) is an example of this band’s love of funky beats.
“We’re kind of in the wrong decade,” Goode said. “I think we should be in the 70s.”
Whitworth’s Battle of the Bands competition offered artists the chance to win a first place prize of $500.
The first band to play was Quesas, followed by Hunter Gatherers. The runner-up was Franklin and the winner of the evening was dream pop band, Nude.
Franklin and Nude put on polished performances that got the crowd out of their seats and dancing.
Among the crowd was freshman Henry Johnson.
“It’s nice to know that Whitworth has some musical talent,” Johnson said. Franklin had the audience clapping along with its music throughout. Adam Ogg, senior and the bassist of Nude, described Franklin as really lively and catchy.
Sophomore Rachael Hall said it was fun dancing along to Franklin’s songs and she enjoyed the vocals of guitarist and lead singer freshman Austen Case.
“Franklin should have won because she sounds just like Regina Spektor and I like her; the singer had an amazing voice,” Hall said.
Case said she hoped to spend their second-place prize money of $250 on bettering the band’s equipment.
“I feel so privileged to have played on stage with such great musicians, and a band like Nude,” Case said.
Nude, who won $500, has been together for nine months and is soon to produce a record. They played their songs “Freely,” “No Show” and “Lurker” at Battle of the Bands.
“I feel very grateful,” Ogg said. “We have lots of things to buy for the band.”
Nude will also be performing in the final round of EMP’s Sound Off competition this Saturday in Seattle, Wash.
Smart, of Hunter Gatherers, said he wasn’t surprised at the results of Battle of the Bands and thought Franklin and Nude deserved to win the prizes. He said his favourite performance was Franklin’s because they had good harmonies and an alternative sound.
Smart said he enjoyed his band’s first public performance and said they will use the experience to improve the group.
“I think our band needs to work on being more connected,” Smart said.
Story by Samantha Payne Staff Writer
Contact Samantha Payne at email@example.com.
Photo by Cathy Bronson