Band combines genres for unique sound
Published: Thursday, April 26, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, April 25, 2012 22:04
Vermont band ONEoverZERO is a “musical melting pot,” according to their Facebook page.
The eight band members combine funk, hip-hop, world, jazz and reggae music to create their unique sound. The Cynic had the chance to talk to ONEoverZero drummer and UVM sophomore Jake Mayers.
The Vermont Cynic: So the eight of you all seem to be at different ages and points of your lives. How exactly did you meet? Was it the music that brought you together or had you all already known each other?
Jake Mayers: I have been playing drums since I was nine, and music has always been a huge part of my life. Last year, however, living in the dorms, I was pretty much deprived of drums and decided to put an ad on craigslist looking for people to play with.
Eventually, Dan Murphy contacted me and told me his band had recently lost their drummer and wanted me to come jam at his house in Waterbury. Finally, in May of last year, I was able to make it there to jam with [the band], and everything immediately clicked.
From there on out the music has had a life of its own and continues to draw us together. ONEoverZERO consists of a very interesting collection of people with very diverse musical and personal backgrounds. It would have been nearly impossible to sit down and think of a combination of people like this, but fortunately we all somehow crossed paths and united.
Cynic: On your Facebook page, your band is described as a “melting pot.” Does each of you get a chance to solo your personal genre or is it always a mix of them all?
JM: Once a sound, idea or vibe is introduced to the band, it becomes the collective property of all of us, and takes on the personality of the whole rather than the individual. In some songs, like “Sally,” you will find four or five genres interwoven in one song.
So rather than each individual style existing in isolation, they seem to blend together to create one feel-good vibe.
Cynic: What types of venues have you played at?
JM: In our first few months we’ve been fortunate enough to headline events at Nectar’s, Metronome, Higher Ground and the Vermont Statehouse main room. I guess you could say that we’ve been thrown right into the fire.
Our summer plans include playing more outdoor events and festivals now that the weather is nice, and we are hoping to put together a college tour next fall. The response from students all over has been very enthusiastic — maybe because young people are more open to new, original music.
Cynic: What are some of the band’s influences?
JM: Everyone seems to be influenced by good funky music that makes you want to get up and dance. Our singer/songwriter Modou [Ndione] is heavily inspired by his Senegalese roots and the music he grew up playing there. [Murphy] is inspired by lots of reggae, as well as many other genres, and his brother Matt [Murphy] is influenced by hip-hop and adds tasteful raps over our tunes. Our newest member, Chris Heres, – also a sophomore at UVM – is influenced a lot by the lead guitarist of Umphry’s Mcgee and is always adding super creative, carefully placed nuggets of sound.
Personally, I grew up in a very musical family and had the opportunity to play with a wide variety of people. I love funk, especially the Meters, the Neville Brothers and Galactic.
Everybody seems to have their own very unique and individual influences, but what influences us the most is each other and the experiences we’ve had.
Cynic: What crowd would you say that you are trying to draw in?
JM: Our songs appeal to anyone. Some songs have a strong political message and emphasize peace, freedom and unity. All of them are easy to jam to and get up and dance to.
College kids like to have a lot of fun. They like to dance and have a good time, and they are also more open to new and up-and-coming music, so we try to target that audience as well.
Cynic: Where do you see the band in a year or so?
JM: Ideally we’ll have a full-length album released and will be playing all the time. We hope to have more shows and opportunities for anyone and everyone to hear us play. We want our music to reach a wide range of people all around the world.
Cynic: Are there any upcoming shows?
JM: We haven’t been booking very many shows recently in order to give ourselves enough time to make our album. We do have a handful of potential gigs this summer, including a show on July 4 and a music festival in June, but we’re still solidifying our summer plans. As I mentioned before, we plan on putting together a college tour.