Sexy bass-lines, funky horns and killer vocals… The best way to get your funk on and that’s what the Charles Walker Band is all about!
Like I told you back in December, they could funk me up anytime in 2014 and that they did. With dropping their latest EP ‘Ghetto Prophet‘, they sure as hell confirm why they won a WAMI award last year! So it is about that time to get up close and personal in this weeks Wednesday Q&A with the man behind the band, the funk-master himself, Charles Walker:
The Dutch Guy (TDG): Can I borrow 20 bucks?
Charles Walker Band (CWB): Why don’t we trade instead. You trade me a new car and I will trade you $20.
TDG: When you looked into the mirror this morning, what was your first thought?
CWB: Why don’t these nose hairs stay trimmed!
TDG: What was the last furry thing you touched?
CWB: Some cheese that was left in the refrigerator for too long. Actually I touched it, and then it was so old it got out by itself and threw itself away.
TDG: Can you describe yourself in one sentence?
CWB: I am focused and driven.
TDG: What are your (musical) roots?
CWB: I started out playing classical music but grew up listening to Motown and jazz. I started playing jazz in high school and then blues in college. When I started the Charles Walker Band, we slowly began playing soul music as well.
TDG: How would you describe your sound?
TDG: What’s involved in your songwriting process?
CWB: Usually I will sit down at the piano and just begin playing. Sometimes I have an idea for a bass line or a chorus, sometimes my hands just play around until something sounds good.
Once I have a rough outline for a verse, chorus and bridge, I will bring it to the band to play.
We record a really rough sketch and from there the lead singer and I begin working on lyrics. Once the lyrics are done, I begin the arrangement process.
TDG: Which aspect do you enjoy the most while working on new music?
CWB: I love arranging the music. There are so many possibilities and I love to explore them.
TDG: Who or what inspires you the most?
CWB: What inspires me the most is my dream. My dream of playing for packed venues, for creating music that people can relate to and be inspired by. As far as who inspires me musically, I would have to say Stevie Wonder, Earth Wind and Fire, Prince, James Brown and Maceo Parker.
TDG: How important is connecting with fans for you? What kind of connection do you have or do you like to have with them?
CWB: Connecting with fans is everything. They are the reason my job exists. If fans don’t connect with me not just as a musician but also as a person, they probably won’t be fans for long. If a person wants to hear a song, they can turn on the radio. To become a fan, they have to feel a connection to the artist. People want to know you and like you as a person. So I try and talk to folks where ever and whenever I can. I talk to people before and after shows, on social media, wherever they want to connect.
TDG: And social media is a big help in your opinion?
CWB: Social media is like anything else in life, it has benefits and hindrances. Social media has thrown back the curtain on artists and helped fans have a direct connection with the artists they like. Fans feel like they get to know the people, not just the musician. It is also a great way to let folks know about upcoming events, releases, etc. However, it does come at a cost of more time and, of course, being careful to maintain the image you’ve created for yourself or your band.
TDG: What do you do to stand out from all the rest on social media?
CWB: I don’t just talk about band stuff. I ask questions to get people engaged. We share free stuff as well. I try and be goofy once and a while, that helps too.
TDG: What is the biggest misconception people have about you?
CWB: That everything comes easy to us, that our success happened overnight.
It’s been ten years and though I’m not where I want to be, I’m much further than when I started!
TDG: Who is currently on repeat on your iPod or Spotify playlist?
CWB: Bruno Mars, Prince, Robin Thicke, Maceo Parker.
TDG: What’s the best piece of advice you ever got when you started out and you think it would help other aspiring artists/bands?
CWB: Two pieces of advice. #1. Work on your live show, it’s where you make your money. Think about your setlist, how you move on stage, whether your songs all visually look the same. Consider the crowd when considering your performance and always be thinking of how you can better your show based on how the crowd is currently reacting to each song.
#2. There are no shortcuts, it just takes time. You will have to work hard to make this work. Even if you get lucky and get a break without hard work, it won’t last if you don’t understand the business and are willing to work hard. There are 1,000’s of musicians, some more talented than you. Talent doesn’t mean as much as hard, focused work. What I mean by focused is learning the business and really figuring out what’s holding you back. Forget your pride or blaming the crowd, figure out what the problem is and begin trying to fix it. You may discover more problems along the way. Fix those too. It’s not about you. It’s about the music and the people.
TDG: Summer is almost over, but what do you have in store for us this year?
CWB: We will head back into the studio this winter for another EP release for spring 2015. We have toured Europe some and hope to get back there in 2015 as well if we can get some connections lined up.
TDG: Got any last words of wisdom you wanna lay down on us before we wrap this up?
CWB: It’s all a matter of how bad you want something. If you want something more than you want to make excuses for why you don’t have it, you’ll eventually figure it out.