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Gavin's Underground

Periodic Table Of Funk & The Debi Graham Band

by Gavin Sheehan
- Posted // 2009-06-08 -

If you were at Pride this weekend, chances are you were soaking wet... from the weather.

Raining more than just men, this year's parade and festival brought out the umbrellas and tarps, but that didn't stop the show from going on as many packed State and 2nd East for the show. Some even took advantage of it.

In the course of the parade I got kidnapped by the
SLUG float and ran the rest of the route taking pictures with them. Princess Kennedy posing on the truck to the sounds of Muscle Hawk was quite the crowd pleaser.

Inside the park the booths were in full swing and the local acts took stage. Cody Dew, Sister Wives, Bronwen Beecher, Honey and Kid Madusa all got the crowds going in the midst of alternating showers.

For this year's fest I got to chat with two of the performers, Periodic Table Of Funk and The Debi Graham Band. (
Both chose to answer as a group.) And you can click over here and here to check out 600 pictures from the Parade to Festival.

Periodic Table Of Funk (Raphael Kahn, Ben Weiss, Ben Turner & Thomas Sienko)

http://www.myspace.com/ptof

Gavin: Hey guys, first off, tell us a little about yourselves.

PToF: We are musical missionaries preaching the good word of da Funk. We believe the world is sick, sick with some serious shit, and da cure is da Funk. Da Funk cures all that ales you. Da Funk is loving. Da Funk is kind. Da Funk will remind you of what you once were and what you could be.

Gavin: What got you interested in music, and who were some of your favorite acts and musical influences growing up?

PToF: Pink Floyd, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, STS9, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Tool, A Perfect Circle, and all that falls in between. As well as rainstorms, life, and comically disturbing experiences. We're in this for the chicks, haha!

Gavin: How did you get together and form PToF?

PToF: For fun we started. For fun we play. Now we play.

Gavin: Being a funk jam band, how do you guys come about forming the sound and your songs? Is it more spur-of-the-moment or thought out ahead of time?

PToF: Both and neither. In our humble opinion, some of our on-the-spot improvisations are more complex, funky, rocking and awesome than our pre-composed pieces. But that's not to say that our compositions aren't funking spectacular.

Gavin: The line up seems to change on an almost frequent basis. Why is this, and do you believe it improves or hinders the work as a group?

PToF: I wouldn't say that it changes that often. Ben Weiss and Ben Turner are fondling members, who have been in it since the beginning. We went through a point where we were in between drummers, playing with a lot of different guys, but this current line up has been together for over a year.

Gavin: How did the idea come about to do a live album?

PToF: We are a live band. Music is performed live. Going heavily commercial and using all the studio tricks would take away from our sound.

Gavin: What was it like recording and releasing Live From Dan's Basement?

PToF: Lazy, half-assed, poorly rehearsed, but a lot of fun.

Gavin: Are there any plans in the works for a full album, or do you prefer just playing live and not worry about it?

PToF: We are in the works for a full length album. We have laid down all the tracks and are in the process of mixing and mastering. Brace yourselves.

Gavin: Do you prefer being DIY or are you looking for a label to join up with?

PToF: First step is a singer. We'll go from there. A label would be nice though. That would get us the chicks for sure!

Gavin: A little state-wide, what are your thoughts on the local music scene, both good and bad?

PToF: Good question. Long answer. Some of the music being played in Utah is the best in the world. Some of the jazz musicians here are lightyears ahead of the heaviest cats in New York. The problem with the music scene here is that there are very few venues to see good music. There's tons of good music being played, but you have to really look for it. It's really disheartening at times. There's no place to go and be guaranteed good music. Because there's only a few venues to play at everyone, even the beginners who still suck (you have to suck before you're good, it's the way of the world), all play at the same place. Few people in town are going out to venues for the sake of seeing new music. People only go out to see bands they've already seen, or bands that their friends play in. There's nowhere to play where people just go to. This scene has the potential to be one of the best in America, but everyone has to jump through so many freaking hoops, bands and club owners, that I doubt it will happen without some major changes.

Gavin: Is there anything you believe could be done to make it better?

PToF: There's a lot that NEEDS to be done. First off clubs and musicians need to unite and realize this is a battle that must be fought together if anyone is going to get anything out of it. Currently either the club fucks the band and the band makes no money, or the club pays the band what they deserve and the club makes no money. We need a musician-club owner pow wow. Everyone needs to get on the same page and work together to find ways to deal with all the shit put on us by wacky ass liquor laws and the general attitude of this state and the people in charge.

Gavin: Who are your favorite acts in the scene right now?

PToF: John Henry. The Orbit Group. John Flanders and Double Helix. Fat Soul. 2 White Guys. SLAJO. The Eric Openshaw Band. Fictionist. Afro Omega. The Josh Payne Orchestra. Three Reasons. Individual musicians... Dave and Joe Chisholm, Derek Howa, Jake Rosenzweig, Dave Halliday, Geoff Miller, Kenji Aihara, Steve Lyman, Denson Angulo, Keven Johansen.

Gavin: What do you think of the current trends in music that are getting radio play today?

PToF: KRCL has got it right for the most part.

Gavin: What's your take on file sharing and how it affects you as a musician?

PToF: It's great. It's an easy way to share music. Real money is in live performances. Real music is in live performances.

Gavin: What can we expect from you guys the rest of the year?

PToF: A kickass full length CD, and some awesome shit to follow.

Gavin: Is there anything you'd like to plug or promote?

PToF: We play anywhere, anytime, for a nominal fee. We as individual musicians are available for lessons, gigs, studio work etc... Individual emails: Ben Weiss (gtr):
benfunkinweiss@hotmail.com. Ben Turner (bass/flute): bbgrabbag@hotmail.com. Thomas Sienko (drums): tsienkodrums@yahoo.com. Raphael Khan (gtr): reynolds311@gmail.com. The Ben Weiss Trio (which is Ben Weiss, Ben Turner, and Thomas Sienko) host a jam session every Thursday night at Sugarhouse Coffee, 7PM. See you there!


The Debi Graham Band (Maria Galiano, Debi Graham & Larry Martinez)

http://www.debigrahammusic.com/

Gavin: Hey guys, first off, tell us a little about yourselves.

DGB: We’ve been together for over eight years. We’ve toured extensively throughout the West and are a very close knit trio. We love playing together and are very lucky to be able to have the opportunity to continue performing on stage with one another.

Gavin: What got you interested in music, and who were some of your favorite acts and musical influences growing up?

DGB: Debi grew up listening to the Beattles. Larry listened to a lot of rap while growing up, DJ Magic Mike for example, which helped him fall in love with the low lend and Maria favorite drummer is Carter Beauford from the Dave Matthews Band.

Gavin: How did you get together and form the group?

DGB: Debi and Maria met at a party and played as a duo for several years. Upon opening for a local act, we asked Larry, the bass player of that band, to come jam with us and we’ve been playing together ever since.

Gavin: Is it odd leaving other bands to form a new one, or did you welcome the challenge and change?

DGB: Debi and I have never really experienced leaving a band to form a new one, but Larry tells us it is a new challenge that gives you more freedom to musically express yourself.

Gavin: With the different sounds you made with those bands, what was it like crafting your own unique music for this one?

DGB: For the most part, my style remained similar, but my skills of course as immensely progressed, says Larry.

Gavin: How was it recording the Anesthesia album?

DGB: It was like sculpting with sound waves, tedious, time consuming and exciting every step of the way.

Gavin: What was the public reaction to it after its release and how did you take it?

DGB: Although Anesthesia didn’t accurately represent our live performance, the public response went well. We sold and ass-load of them locally, nationally as well as internationally, prompting us to duplicate the album three separate times.

Gavin: How did the idea come about to do a live album?

DGB: We needed an album that truly represented the intensity of our live performance. Therefore, at the request of our fans, we recorded Bulb Studio.

Gavin: What was the process like recording Bulb Studio?

DGB: The process was fun, however, the engineering was not as great as we hoped. Several disasters later finally allowed for a finished product which we released.

Gavin: I understand you've been in a somewhat hiatus. Are there any plans in the works for a new album or tour?

DGB: It’s all in the works.

Gavin: A little state-wide, what are your thoughts on the local music scene, both good and bad?

DGB: We believe the Utah music scene is excellent. We’ve played in many different cities and have found that the talent in Salt Lake surpasses many. The bad part in our opinion, are the club membership fees on top of venue cover charges.

Gavin: Who are your favorite acts in the scene right now?

DGB: Seriously, trying to make a list is pointless since it would go on and on. The scene is packed full of extremely talented and creative locals. We have love and respect for ALL of them.

Gavin: What do you think of the current trends in music that are getting radio play today?

DGB: Record labels are going to shit and their cookie cutter artist mentality is no longer working. This gives independent artists the edge in quality. KRCL is one of our favorite stations due to their support of quality independent artists.

Gavin: What's your take on file sharing and how it affects you as a musician?

DGB: Debi is all for it because it helps spread the word. If you want to make money, just perform. It’s not all just about record sales.

Gavin: What can we expect from you guys the rest of the year?

DGB: Occasional local performances; Farmers Market, Brown Bag Concert Series, Red Rock Women’s festival and much more.

Gavin: Is there anything you'd like to plug or promote?

DGB: Go to iTunes and search for Debi Graham to buy single MP3’s. Additional plugs include: Peace, Love, Tolerance and Happiness!

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