By Alexis Ahlzadeh; August 7, 2013
The guys of Charlotte-born rock band, Bubonik Funk, are no strangers to the stages of Athens, but their show on Friday will be their first at the Georgia Theatre. Stefan Kallander, lead guitar and back-up vocals, says “we’ve probably played Nowhere bar at least five or six times, and a few times at New Earth,” but he says of their show on Friday night, they’re “really excited to experience it.” Us Athenians should be excited as well, as Bubonik Funk has been playing for about eight years now and their sound, which they describe “definitely expands from funk and rock” is pleasing audiences from Atlanta to Boston.
Their musical inspirations are widely diverse, “everything from Led Zeppelin and Hendrix to Radiohead and Kimbra, even some hip-hop like A Tribe Called Quest,” and this mixture is apparent in their music. Their songs are heavily soulful, which stems from the “old soul” influence of artists like Curtis Mayfield and Earth, Wind and Fire. They’ve produced 3 albums now, “OTB”, “Wink at the Devil”, and their most recent, “Zabooki”, which Kallander says is his favorite album they’ve made. Since Zabooki, they’ve also released an EP, “Live at Amos Southend” from a show in their hometown of Charlotte. Since taking their talents on tour, which spanned all around the East Coast, they’ve really been enjoying their times in Athens, where “people really seemed to be excited about the music.” He says of Athens, “it has a really condensed and unique artistic and musical atmosphere, I feel like there’s so much culture crammed into those few block downtown.” Though they’ve enjoyed visiting places like Philadephia, Wilmington, and Boone on their tour, Kallander claims that “Athens appreciates music as a whole more than your average smaller college town.” We sure do, Mr. Kallander.
Kallander describes their songwriting process as “pretty collaborative”. When it comes to writing music, “we all add our own twist, since we’re all coming from different places,” and the final product comes out perfectly smooth. When I asked Kallander how he feels when he’s playing music, he responded, “I know it sounds kind of cliché, but orgasmic is definitely a real description.” He describes the intimacy of performing, “to go out and push it into peoples’ ears with hundreds of wattage behind you, it’s great.” When asked about the future of the band, Kallander seemed excited for bigger things, like “pushing out west a little more, if not all the way to the West Coast.” They’ll be playing at venues similar in size to the Georgia Theatre all over the East Coast, but are reaching for national audiences, “definitely in terms of College towns and public radio”. They’re playing a three-night run in Asheville in August and then “hitting the road pretty hard” through places like New York, Boston, Rhode Island and Philly. Kallander says “hopefully we’ll have some new tunes in September or October,” and they’ll be at the Atlanta Sweetwater Brewery on September 12th.
Bubonik Funk has “always got a groove, it always has a good pocket of rhythm, and from there it streams into rock, sometimes pop, funk, r&b.” Luckily, the band will be dosing us with funk rock on the rooftop of the Georgia Theatre this Friday, August 9th, so prepare yourselves for a funky (free) time!