By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Inspired by “funky, feel-good music” by the likes of The Jackson 5, Thundercat and Parliament, London-based neo-funk fusion quintet FAZE recently unleashed their first single “Carried Away.”
With a knack for penning wacky, original tunes with a sarcastic overtone, the group is also fronted by artist/songwriter Yazmine MB.
The Music Bugle had the opportunity to talk with the band about “Carried Away” and more.
Music Bugle – How would you define the year 2020?
Timmy – 2020 has been a crazy year. It has forced the whole world to adapt in new ways to get projects done and keep things moving. It hasn’t been ideal, but we’ve made the most of it where possible!
Music Bugle – How did you guys decide the name FAZE?
Yazmine MB – When we first started the band and were starting to get function work, we sat down, started a Whatsapp group-chat and said, “It is time for a name, my friends!” We were thinking along the lines of something solar like Nova or Nebula, but nothing was fitting. We were stuck for weeks, but then I sat down with my mum and had a look at her vast collection at CDs and records when she fished one out the bunch called Maze. Then, I had a lightbulb moment and FAZE was born! We later discovered that FAZE is also some sort of internet meme, but by that time, we were already sold – now by default, we obviously have to work hard until our band name comes up in the google search before the memes. Wink, wink.
Music Bugle – What inspired your first single “Carried Away”?
Yazmine MB – “Carried Away” is all about the musician’s lifestyle. The good, the bad and the ugly! Being on stage and performing to a lively crowd is such an experience, combined with the nerves, the beat of the music and maybe some liquor really makes for a “wow” moment! That’s why the chorus is so bold. In the verses, we wanted to explore the more humbling side of being a performer – the aftermath that might come with the glam – e.g., waking up on the sofa in the afternoon with your shoes still on!
Music Bugle – What’s the biggest challenge in being a musical act with five different members?
Yazmine MB – I’d probably say getting all together at the same time. We all have day jobs outside of the band and work pretty hard and long hours, so getting together as much as we’d like is tricky! Lockdown hasn’t made things any easier, but we’re blessed that we all get on so well and share the same vision. The group dynamic is great and we have such a laugh every rehearsal – our first tour is gonna be hilarious!
Music Bugle – What excites you the most about neo-funk?
Timmy – It’s a fresh sound that not many people delve into. It really feels great to be a part of a genre with sounds, melodies and vibes so different and bubbly.
Ryan – Neo-Funk fusion is one of my favorite genres. It creates so much room for creativity and unique ideas.
Indigo – It’s exciting for me because it takes 70’s funky rhythms and fuses them with more 90’s grunge and neo-soul.
Johnny – Having the ability to shape a new sound whilst also paying homage to the influential acts that came before us in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s is great.
Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise?
Indigo – I’m listening to classic soul artists like Marvin Gaye and Curtis Mayfield a lot right now.
Yazmine MB – Anderson .Paak’s new tune “Lockdown” and a new band I recently discovered from Canada called Tendavilage.
Timmy – Right now, I’m listening to a lot of different genres ranging from afrobeats, to jazz fusion to R&B. Artists including Wizkid, Eric Bellinger, Angel and Micki Miller are killing the game right now.
Ryan – Off the top of my head, I’m listening to a bit of Wood Brass and Steele, Estelle, Candido, Norman Connors and Camp Lo.
Johnny – A real mix! Anderson .Paak, Marcus King, Burna Boy, Lauryn Hill and Eddie One’s new album is fire too!
Music Bugle – Where do you go when you feel the need to escape?
Yazmine MB – To the piano or the fridge! (Laughs)
Timmy – Usually make music with fellow creatives or work on some production/tracking. I’ll work on projects with artists and producers, but I also like figuring out fresh, creative ideas by myself in a chilled environment.
Ryan – A place to escape for me is usually a wide, open space – somewhere which usually has a calm atmosphere.
Indigo – I exercise with 70’s music playing in the background!
Johnny – I put my headphones in, man! Plug into my virtual pedal board and just play. Either that or I go for a drive, often end up at McDonald’s drive-thru, if I’m honest!
Music Bugle – What’s something you wish happened more in today’s music industry?
Yazmine MB – I wish it was all about the music and not so much about the social media! Nowadays, it’s all about the numbers of followers and numbers of streams, but there’s so many great artists out there with like, three listeners waiting to be heard. I’d like for labels or A&R’s to hold competitions specifically for smaller artists/bands – e.g, with under 3,000 followers, so they have the chance to make their mark!
Music Bugle – Are you working on any new music at the moment?
Johnny – Of course! Just about to record our next two singles. The second single called “MALIBU” – expect excitement, an escape and a vibe! We’ll be doing regular merch giveaways for each track, so follow us on Instagram and Facebook @fazebandofficial to catch the competitions as they come out.
Music Bugle – What’s a quote that motivates you to keep doing what you do?
Yazmine MB – Not exactly a quote, but more a concept. The “six feet of separation” rule really interests me. It says you’re only six social connections away from any stranger, ever. That could be someone who lives on the other side of the planet, The Queen, or a future fan who wants to hear your music! When I think about that, I realize none of us are as far away from our dreams and goals as we think.