by Janene Starr
Last Friday after their set at The Toads Place in New Haven, I had the opportunity to sit down with the gentlemen of the Bridgeport’s most funk-tastic band, Relative Souls. The group of five, Mike, Aaron, Luke, Justin, and “The Gurge” were certainly an animated bunch to talk to. Their name, “Relative Souls” refers to the idea that they are a collective group of individuals. While they come from different backgrounds and span 20 years of ages, there is one element that ultimately bands them together, their love of music.
Relative Souls are an equal share of funk, jam and rock. Interestingly enough, the group found each other on Craig’s List and luckily all brought major talent to the table. Influenced by 70s funk and jam bands like The Dead and Phish, Relative Souls value live performance and are comfortably accustomed to musical improvisation. Though the set they played on Friday was just about an hour, Relative Souls manager, Evan stated that back in their hometown of Bridgeport, the guys can kick out the jams for hours on end.
The group meets up weekly to practice and normally the band mates will bring new riffs that everyone can build on from. “No one is ever at a loss for what to play,” explains keyboardist, “The Gurge”. Their creative process is a matter of starting with a “seed” of inspiration that ultimately grows into something cohesive.
Relative Souls have played at various festivals surrounding Connecticut and the Tri State area, including the SoNo Arts Festival and the Steel Jam Festival. They enjoy playing for new crowds and making connections with other music lovers. Bassist Luke explains, “There is no alternative motive to the festival person…everyone is there to hear good music,” and the Relative Souls are always ready to deliver.
The band has one studio album, Nebulous, and one live album. Currently they are in the process of working with Sony Studios and are hoping to release another album this fall.
In the meantime, Relative Souls will continue to play out around the east coast this summer. After all, having a good time is what they’re all about. As Luke joking says, “We rock harder than jam bands and jam harder than rock bands.” They describe themselves as a “Funk-casserole” of music, and truly are a gang of talented and down-to-earth dudes.
I parted ways with the band understanding them to be a brotherhood of good vibes; each exceptional musicians and close friends. If you’re looking for solid music and a good time, do not miss these guys!