Pablo Ojeda's 'Treat Yo Self' is the latest Funk instrumental to reach listeners since Rubberneck, a band the Chilean songster and his brother started in the 90s.
Rubberneck toured incessantly sharing the stage with bands like WAR, Maceo Parker, and The Greyboy Allstars until disbanding in 2006. Since then Pablo has performed with Latin influenced bands Toque Libre and Sabroso as well as a brief stint with singer Geoff Byrd.
Now, creating music from home and residing in Portland, Oregon, Pablo gathers the touchstones of his influences and unifies them over a four-minute funkadelic instrumental. Highlighting the skills behind the bass maestro's fingers, alongside tight-fitting drums, crooning electric guitars, oscillating organ keys, and melodic horn shots that festoon the expanses of the mix with a saucy vibrance. Pablo's bass guitar steals the show here.
Although the horn sections flash and rise with beautiful motifs as the silver-tongued cadence develops, the walloping sonics emitting from Pablo's strings seizes your attention and clamps on to it like adhesive.
'Treat Yo Self,' is an instrumental that lands somewhere in-between the funky orchestrations of 'Tower of Power' and the urban soul of 'The Family Stone,' unifying the two influences into an accessible jam-session between conversational soul-infused instruments and textures, layering and interweaving their melodies with each other like a meticulously designed score.
This sort of audible accomplishment should seem tiring and complicated to produce, but it feels like second nature for Pablo Ojeda, the genius instrumentalist behind it all.
How did you go about recording, 'Treat Yo Self?' Was it all done at home, and who played the other instruments if you were behind the bass?
‘Treat Yo Self’ was all recorded at home on my computer. I started with the bass lines and then added a drum program. I also played guitar and keyboards on the track which really helped it start to take shape. Once I had all of the rhythm tracks recorded and was happy with them I thought the track could use some funky saxophone. That’s when I reached out to my friend John Nastos, a fantastic local Portland saxophonist that has toured extensively with Grammy-winning vocalist Dianne Schuur. I emailed him the rhythm track, he added his parts and sent it back to me.
What were the emotions you were aiming to highlight throughout 'Treat Yo Self?' Are those the same emotions you've channeled into for your instrumental performances for this instrumental?
Funk music is all about rhythm and joy. My goal is always that when you listen to my music you first smile, then start to move. That’s what it’s all about. Sometimes music is so funky that when you listen to it you can’t help but laugh! If people smile and bob their heads or even move their whole bodies to my music then I’ve accomplished what I set out to do. I try to channel this as I’m recording. I lay down and part and listen back to it, does it make me happy? Does it make me move? That’s what I think about it.
What was the most challenging part of writing, recording, and delivering 'Treat Yo Self?' Were there any lessons you've learned from the experience that you could share?
The most challenging part of recording ‘Treat Yo Self’ was really around my own perfectionism. I’m not a strong guitar player or keyboard player. That sometimes makes it difficult to perform what I hear in my head. Often times that leads to several takes until I get something I like. Another challenge I would say is around the technical part of the recording, mixing, mastering, and learning how the software works. I’m still very new at this and still learning how to do it on my own. I’m used to going into a full studio and paying someone else to do it! It takes a lot of tweaking and listening to the song over and over until I think it’s right, you can ask my wife! She’s probably heard this song over a hundred times.
If you could give your audience a few words that would act as a prologue to the adventure behind 'Treat Yo Self,' what would you say and why?
I would say that as we all know 2020 has been extremely challenging. You have to find things that keep you going and inspire you. It’s easy to fall into a negative space with everything that’s going on in the world. This time has given me the opportunity to work on my own music for the first time. This is the first time that I’ve completely written, performed, and recorded my own music and it is a great feeling. I try to make my music reflect that joy and happiness and I hope it brings other people joy when listening.
What has been keeping you inspired in 2020?
The creative and learning process has really been keeping me inspired. I love music and love expressing myself through music. Learning how to record and produce it has really inspired me and being able to share my music around the world has been such an inspiration and morale booster. It’s such an amazing feeling to have something that you created being enjoyed by people all over the world.