Stomp Your Feet with Bad Breed's Soulful Instrumental, "Amanaka"

The Toronto-based funk, rock, and soul band Bad Breed unleashes their foot-stomping instrumental, "Amanaka," off their recent album, 'Ferocious Love.'

Diving into their second studio album, 'Ferocious Love,' the project is said to chart the most pivotal year of singer/drummer/lyricist Mike Gribben's life. Themes of power, joy, and love act as a dominant force within this record, while Bad Breed delivers their steamy instrumentals with maximum grooves.

Highlighting their slinky blues-funk instrumental, "Amanaka," off the album, 'Ferocious Love,' Bad Breed exclaims their fascination with the spiritual realm's beauty and mystery. Teaming up with Cuban-born bassist Maylin Ortega for the entire album, the collaboration offers nothing but savory flavors through each intricate instrumental arrangement.

"Amanaka" begins its venture with bluesy harmonica melodies, mid-tempo drum breaks, and Maylin Ortega's exciting bass riffs. Once the song moves into its steady groove, we're met with tight electric guitar picking that sweetens the vibrant and soulful atmosphere. What we adore about this track is how Bad Breed allows listeners to step back from examining lyrical concepts and fires through with incredible instrumentation, allowing any listeners to take away something of their own.

About halfway through the track, the rhythm switches up into this heavy and gritty foot-stomper while the lead harmonica serenades us with the aches and pains of modern-day blues. We truly feel that this track came straight out of the swinging sixties, as Bad Breed exudes nothing but instrumental perfection through each heavily defined rhythm and melodies.

Get your dose of soul with Bad Breed's recent hit, "Amanaka," and find more grooves off their second studio album, 'Ferocious Love.'

We truly admire the in-depth and soulful instrumentals within your recent single, "Amanaka." How did you want your audience to feel after listening to this groove?

Well, thank you very much for the kind words!! We want people to feel taken away for a couple of minutes. There’s a feeling of almost laying down in a rowboat and just letting the river take you wherever it twists and turns. Maybe you can imagine staring up at the moon and the stars or the clouds or whatever it is that’s in the sky that night. Hopefully, it’s something soothing in this painful time.

What inspired your group to create such a heavy and bluesy instrumental like “Amanaka,” for the album ‘Ferocious Love’?

I love putting one instrumental on each of our releases. It’s one of the threads connecting all the material. This time I had a musical idea for an upbeat funk/rock instrumental. When I showed it to Oscar Tang, who played guitar on the album, he asked if he could have a couple of days with it because he had an idea. So he came back with what became “Amanaka”. He’s just such a gifted musician and he’s just so into blues and I’m thrilled with what he came up with. After we recorded it as a trio with me on drums, Maylin on bass, and Oscar on guitar we reached out to Peter Stone, who added the harmonica. And that, I think, became the cherry on top of something very satisfying for us.

What was it like working with bassist Maylin Ortega for your album ‘Ferocious Love’? What influences did she have on the project?

Maylin and I had played together in the very early 2000s in a project. But we really hadn’t seen each other for over a decade when she came into the band. It was like a miracle-working with her. She just brought such hugely positive energy to every rehearsal and writing session. I feel like reconnecting with her just made everything gel. She’s a great musician and she’s got a great soulful, emotion-filled voice. She’s just the kind of person that you want to spend time with. Her energy is contagious. So I just felt like I had this new musical partner. And together we can do anything! She refers to herself as a minimalist so she brought that I think to her playing on the record. She never overplays and she doesn’t over-sing. She does everything in this effortlessly funky style. And she just loves a good groove and her style of funk is filtered through her life growing up in Cuba and all of the music that comes from there that she’s so immersed in as well.

Could you tell us more about your album ‘Ferocious Love’? What story do you tell throughout the project?

It’s a record that came on the heels of my wife dying. I was so distraught and after a while, I just desperately needed support from other people and by means of socializing has always come in some form of a musical project or a band. So I got all these amazing musicians and just surrounded myself with them and leaned on them. At first, I didn’t know I was writing a whole record, I just knew it would be healthy for me to sit with people and write songs. At one point I would be working on one song with Katherine and then another one with Oscar and then another one with Maylin and it just became apparent that if we all got together and worked hard we could put this record together. The story is one of death to life if that makes sense? I didn’t think I would be able to ever function again in the world and really, through music and the community of other musicians I had something resembling a foundation to start over again. I also fell in love with someone and so those two life-altering events make up the story of the record.

What’s next for you?

Well in an ideal world we will start performing again as soon as it’s possible! We never got a chance to play the record for anybody once we released it so we are really itching to do that. We’ve got a couple of new members, we’ve got a great singer named Catia who is with us now and she’s got a great jazz-influenced voice and I think that will be a huge asset to what we’re doing musically. For me, because the journey of this record started over three years ago, I’m ready to start writing the new record. We just started working on the first song for the next project. We’ve got a great new piano player named Denzel who comes from the classical music world and the song that we’re writing together right now is just filling me with the excitement of the promise for the future for this band.