The Data Waves are an interesting group of individuals who make as equally interesting
music. Their sound is a brash concoction of instrumental funk which will surely have something for the music lover and enthusiast. Their EP titled “Lady In Red” hosts five tracks each tinkering with various music genres, while showcasing their musical abilities and artistic vision.
The EP is kind of like a sample platter to the band where it starts of with a track titled,
“Sun Salute” which gives the listener a kind of throwback funk while providing a new age twist to it. It is a very upbeat song that will get you moving along with their next track titled “Move on Up”. The third track called “Cameo” gives some leisurely played jazz piano while picking up the momentum into the fourth track. The punchy and thick bassline of “Autumn Breeze” is beautifully accompanied by a saxophone solo which gives it a slight angst giving a contrasting mood compared to the last three tracks. The final track is titled, “Drunk Funk” which seems to reflect someone who is indeed drunk. Hurried piano playing, slurs and notes bumping into each other give you some leeway into the more smooth section of the song painting a picture of this “Drunk Funk”. The band has a natural talent of using instrumental funk to tell stories and bring the listener into their music. A solid blend of hip hop, jazz, blues, rock and gospel will get you reeling in for more!
Listen to "Lady In Red" here and get to know The Data Waves in our interview below!
What is the meaning and inspiration behind the EP’s titled, “Lady in Red”?
Shravan Raghuram, drums: The EP’s title is the original name of the art piece, but we specifically selected it for its color scheme and design. To us, it seemed like a callback to some of our favorite jazz fusion records from the early 1970’s such as Sextant Herbie Hancock, Abraxas by Santana and Bitches Brew by Miles Davis.
Joey Parker, keys: The name itself only relates to the image we used as a cover. However, the image itself stood out because of its contrast in color. The lady in red calls for one's attention, but the space around her is equally beautiful.
Aditya Kashyap, bass: Matthew Lesniak was the artist behind our album cover. His talent with collages and many other mediums made him an obvious choice for us, plus he's a great friend of mine. I love how iconic the lady in red is. You can check out more of his art on Instagram (@jayjaymattjay).
What was the most challenging track to compose as a whole and why?
Joey: Surprisingly, "Sun Salute" was the more challenging of the two originals to compose. With "Drunk Funk", there was built-in variation, and its structure inspired some improvised sections that became permanent. The repetitive nature of "Sun Salute" made improvised variation more challenging, so it took longer to work out a definitive structure. Even this recording was somewhat impromptu, despite having a predetermined sequence of events.
What is the inspiration behind the track “Drunk Funk”?
Joey: "Drunk Funk" was the fortunate collision of one idea from guitarist Sammy Gessesse and another from myself. When jamming together one day, Sammy started playing the riff now heard in the introduction and throughout the first section. After jamming for a while, Sammy stopped and said, "I feel like this needs another section." I had separately thought of another progression that was contrasting in feeling, and when the two sections were put together, the seeds of a title track were planted. As soon as the band played the track together, it organically developed, including an amazing bass/drum feature from Aditya and drummer Seth Graham, and a beautifully rhythmic solo from saxophonist Kevin King. "Drunk Funk" is a testament to the collaborative nature of the band's compositional process. The title comes from the band's history playing funk music at crowded Urbana basement parties.
What was the composing process of “Cameo”?
Joey: "Cameo" is not an original, but the process of arranging it for the band was very intuitive. Aditya proposed the cover, and inspired the band with his crunchy bass effects. From there, the band filled in the rest of the sound, doing their best to replicate the feeling of the original track while injecting their own individual sounds.
Aditya: The song is originally by a great English band called Childhood. I knew the song would fit our band well, and it helped us break new sonic ground and expand our sound.
Shravan: "Cameo" was an interesting choice for us due to its genre; since it is more of a smooth pop song than what we are used to covering, it allowed us to experiment with our sound and style. The track provided a nice contrast to the upbeat funk that usually dominates our live sets.
As a band, how do each of you communicate your creative input into each track?
Joey: One or two members work from a simple groove to a chord progression to a fully developed song with a defined structure. As soon as the band begins rehearsing, something new always pops out. An important part of our composition comes from the unexpected. As we improvise, we find what works best and run with it. Over time, new sections and a structure gradually form, until the whole band is satisfied. Everyone's opinion is valued equally for every song, while giving respect to the person who composed it.
Shravan: The goal for our work with covers is to fully capture the feeling and vibe of the original song, while using solos and improvisation to make our version unique and different. This sort of format works really well for us because of our ability to improvise and explore new sounds while still keeping the song intact. Regarding our creative process, each of us are able to compose our own individual parts, and we each also provide suggestions and alternatives to each other in order to achieve the best possible sound.
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