This week we’re pumped to feature local Soul Garage band, Black Alley. What is Soul Garage, you ask? It’s a music genre created to distinguish the sound that Black Alley makes, proving that they are not your average go-go band; not even close. Whether it’s soul, rock, funk, hip-hop, etc., Black Alley’s got you covered in their “Tropical Kool-Aid” mix. The seven-piece band keeps busy playing gigs all over the Washington DC area while successfully converting new spectators into Soul Garage fanatics. Black Alley has released their latest street album ”Soul.Swagger.Rock.Sneakers” to much love from their supporters. We spoke to the band recently about their latest record, Soul Garage, Chuck Brown, social media, and more! Check out our interview with them below.
Black Alley is non-stop live show machine, be sure to catch them this week at Bar 7, Lux Lounge, and for those in Miami, at the Miami Beach Convention Center!
Who are Black Alley and what does everyone contribute to the band?
KACEY: We are a Soul Garage band from the Washington, DC area. Soul Garage is a music genre we created to descibe our unique sound. The best way to describe our music is a multi-faceted infusion of the best elements of jazz, funk, rock, hip-hop and soul. Our band consists of myself, Kacey the lead singer, Animal on Drums, Josh on Bass, Eric on Lead Guitar, Hope on Keys, Mack on Keys, and Beedy on Percussion. Eric calls us the United Nations of Music *laughs*
Most bands have some special story behind their band name, does that appeal to you all as well?
KACEY: Prior to my joining the band the name had already been established. But as time progressed it took on its own meaning to me and I think it’s been that way for most of the members. To me the name Black Alley symbolizes the interest of the unknown. If you envision approaching a dark alley…a BLACK ALLEY…you aren’t sure what to expect or what is beyond that alleyway. It is a mystery. There isn’t much light shined on DC bands or artists (nationally). We represent the attention that we feel we, as band should receive, and DC music should receive on a national scale.
Who are some of the musicians today that inspire you to make the music that you all make?
HOPE: Personally, some of the musicians that inspire us musically would have to be Robert Glasper, Thundercat, Little Dragon, Foreign Exchange, Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, Gretchen Parlato, The Mars Volta, J*Davey, NERD, Animals as Leaders, Backyard Band, Chuck Brown (RIP). Pretty much anything that sounds good, fresh, new. Overall we try to listen to everything to get new ideas or for inspiration.
You appeal to various genres in your music. NBC Washington even says, “You cannot limit this band to just one genre.” This is where the term “Soul Garage” comes into play. Could you explain the term for those who aren’t familiar with your music?
DANNY: We couldn’t figure us out either *laughs*. We have so many different backgrounds in music within the band like gospel, jazz, neo-soul, go-go, latin, rock, and hip hop, it was difficult to categorize us. But Soul Garage was once described as Tropical Kool- Aid. All your favorite fruits and flavors mixed in one powerful punch. It’s kinda like being hit with 8 hands. Just when you think you know where the next one is coming from…BAM!!!
Black Alley released SOUL.SWAGGER.ROCK.SNEAKERS. this past March. How has the reception been with your debut street album thus far?
JOSH: I think Soul.Swagger.Rock.Sneakers is really setting a new pace in our area right now. Its showing our city you can fuse different generes of music together and still have the same feel. We call it “Soul Garage”. Every week I personally get a lot of compliments on the album which reinforces that our hard work paid off. I can honestly say we have a good number of supporters that are with us every step of the way! And they rep hard for us #TeamBlackAlley.
Where did you all cut the record and who helped produce it?
MACK: We recorded the album at House Studios and Mixed it at Phase Studios. Most of the songs were written by Cameron Poles but we also have tracks written by Raheem DeVaughn, Claude McCay, and Kacey & Animal. Of course the featured artists Phil Ade and Frank Sirius wrote their verses. Our album was produced by us, Black Alley, and DC producer P Murph.
You all were very fortunate to work with the late Chuck Brown for his 75th Birthday celebration. It was a huge loss for the DC music community. How has that experience in working with him impacted your band?
BEEDY: It was a blessing to be at his 75th birthday. To be from DC and have the opportunity to share the same stage with a legend was an honor. And to think about the fact that it was his last birthday before leaving this earth is even more remarkable. We really miss him.
You guys are very frequent social network users. How important is it for youall to keep in touch with Facebook and Twitter and with all the fans that hit you up every day?
JOSH: Social media has always been important to me. Not only is it a great way to market yourself, its also a way to establish that special bond with your fans. A way to get them to know who you really are as a person. We try to keep up with our fans as much as possible using Facebook, twitter @WeAreBlackAlley and other social media sites.
It’s no secret you all play some mad shows. How do you all keep it fresh each time?
ERIC: This is true, sometimes we gig so much its hard to find time to re-vamp our set lists but the good thing is we do try to get up at least 2 times a week so that when we do have time were always talking about “what can we do next??” or “you know what would be tight!??” we’re all too ADHD to always play the same set every night and I can dig that.
What are Black Alley’s plans for the rest of 2012?
KACEY: I’m so excited about what is next for Black Alley, as far as the rest of 2012 goes. We just want to continue to push SOUL.SWAGGER.ROCK.SNEAKERS and travel all over the country…better yet the world to share the unique sound and concept that Black Alley has to offer.
DANNY: …and pushing the Soul Garage movement until its a revolution. 2012 and beyond.
We’re very big on supporting local bands. In what ways have the DC music scene and fans inspired you all to go out and do this every day?
ERIC: DC has been great to us! I can’t tell you guys how much it boosts me to see people come out every week to party with us, its really the motivation for what were doing right now and the best is still yet to come!
HOPE: The DC scene has a lot of great musicians who inspire us as well.
Thanks for you time! Keep reppin’ DC. Any last shout outs for those reading this?
MACK: First and foremost we have to shout out #TeamBlackAlley – our fans!!! We really have the best fans in the galaxy!! Also have to shout out AlleyHouse Entertainment, our management team AND TWENTY28, our marketing and PR team. Your readers can learn more about us by checking out our website (www.blackalleyband.com), Facebook (www.facebook.com/blackalley), Twitter (@WeAreBlackAlley), and Youtube (www.youtube.com/weareblackalley).