Vulfpeck is unlike any other band that I’m aware of. They are an instrumental funk rhythm section, which means with just bass, guitar, drums and keys, they are a bare bones quartet. Their sound is paired down, focused, upbeat and above all, fun. Probably the best part about Vulfpeck is watching their homemade studio session videos on YouTube (or seeing them live, which I have yet to do), where you really get the feeling that the guys are all good friends having a great time jamming out. The members are Theo Katzman (guitar and drums), Jack Stratton (keyboards and drums), Woody Goss (keyboards) and Joe Dart (bass). The whole group vibes so well together, but for me the shining star is bassist Joe Dart. Like any good bass player, his playing provides the rhythmic backbone for the group, but it is also more than that. He provides a beautiful melodic element that many bass players eschew. It seems to me that his playing is the underlying inspiration for Vulfpeck’s rhythm-centric, minimalist funk sound.
The song I want you to check out is called 1612 off of Vulfpeck’s most recent EP ‘Fugue State’. Most of Vulfpeck’s music is instrumental, but this song features Antwaun Stanley on vocals. The song is wonderfully upbeat with some happy sounding comping on the rhodes piano coupled with Joe Dart’s in-the-pocket bass groove. If you’ve read my past posts, you may have heard me use the phrase ‘in the pocket’ before, and I realize now that most people probably don’t know what I’m talking about. The pocket is a magical place that is created when the drummer and bass player are perfectly in synch. As a bass player myself, I can tell you that being in the pocket is pure nirvana. I’m getting ahead of myself right now, just listen for how the hit of the bass drum lines up perfectly with Joe Dart’s bass, it’s awesome.
Let’s talk about Antwaun Stanley’s vocals for a second. His voice is so soulful that it’s stupid. He could literally sing anything and it would sound great, and I think Vulfpeck knows this because the lyrics don’t really make a lot of sense. When you watch the video, read along with the subtitles and you’ll notice that at one point Antwaun is actually singing the names and models of cars. Like what? I never thought the words “Ford Focus” could sound so sexy.
I hope you think Vulfpeck is as cool as I do. If so, they have 3 other EP’s and each is funkier than the next. I recommend checking out their YouTube channel for the full Vulf experience.