January 4, 2007

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Small band, big funk
Two guys play a five-guys sound
By Erica Febre efebre@hippopress.com

The sounds of funk, retro, jazz, electronic, rock and bluegrass come together in Funkatronic, a duo with brothers Justin and Paul Caraher from Rhode Island.

Originally from Nashville, Tenn., the Caraher brothers relocated to Rhode Island to be closer to the area they tour through in New England. Together the two present the sound of a full five-piece band.

Justin takes drums and percussion, while Paul takes the guitar, bass, keyboards and vocals. Using a foot pedal, called a Jam Man, Paul is able to play more than one instrument at a time.

Starting with a guitar riff, he can record that, loop it and then lay down another instrumental beat on top of that to give the effect of playing multiple instruments at once.

“It’s very natural for us ... like we have this telepathic thing going on between us. A lot of our sound is improvised — the solos, the drum beats. It just works with the whole less-is-more kind of thing,” Justin said.

“When you’ve got a whole band, you’ve got four or five people. That’s four or five egos and more pieces of the pie to split up when you get paid,” he said.

Justin said most are amazed that they play the old funk tunes, such as Parliament, James Brown, Ohio Players, Cameo and Kool and the Gang. Herbie Hancock was the bridge for Funkatronic, according to Justin, that moved them from covering classic rock to funk.

“Think retro ’70s dance party. We mostly do stuff that people will recognize and then if the people are feeling it, we’ll throw in some of our originals, which tend to be instrumental grooves. It’s kind of a funky jazz, acid jazz kind of mix and then we’ll mix that with the covers that people will recognize,” Justin said.

Funkatronic is promoting their latest release, Up from the Underground, featured on CdBaby.com. This is the third CD for the duo. Up from the Underground was recorded in a studio setting, while the other two were self-recorded. Funkatronic works with an independent label, Higher Synthesis.

Funk
Who: Funkatronic
When: Saturday, Jan. 13 at Penuche’s Ale House; Saturdays, Jan. 27 and Feb. 17, The Barley House
Where: Penuche’s Ale House, 4 Canal St., Nashua, 591-9831; The Barley House, 132 N. Main St., Concord, 228-6363.
For more infomation: Go to funkatronic.net or myspace.com/funkatronics)