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In this edition of Staff Picks: New Orleans rising stars bridge their live show to their new album in the Sweet Nasty deluxe package. 200 shows, three trips across the United States and appearances at Electric Forest Festival, Bear Creek Music and Art Festival, and Wakarusa Music Festival. It’s been a busy 24 months for Earphunk who have seen their efforts propel them from small club stages to packed clubs and theaters across the country. The New Orleans born-and-bred quintet shows no sign of letting off the gas, and now, with the band’s third studio album release Sweet Nasty, the band has captured the energy that has won over a rapidly growing fanbase of loyal listeners.
When you hear the album it sounds like a live show, and that’s how it should feel. – Paul Provosty, Lead Guitarist
Recorded at the storied Studio in the Country in rural Louisiana while on break between tour stints, Sweet Nasty is Earphunk’s boldest release to date. “When you hear the album it sounds like a live show, and that’s how it should feel,” explains lead guitarist Paul Provosty, who also handled mixing duties for the record. “We wanted it to sound big – a true representation of our live show.” The Studio’s hallowed halls provided the proper backdrop for the band’s uniquely organic balance of heavy-pocket funk and reckless prog-driven guitar explosions, or “prog-funk”, as the band refers to it. “It was the right place to make this record.”
The band’s first rehearsals saw Provosty, Mark Hempe (vocals/guitar), Michael Matthews (drums), Michael Comeaux (Bass), and Christian Galle (keyboards/organ) as college students around New Orleans and Baton Rouge, LA in 2009 — there were no expectations of national tours and sold out dates. But as things quickly progressed, the option to pursue a full-time career as musicians drove the band to hit the road. “After the first few tours, we were fully vested in this together,” Hempe muses, “and when people are coming to the shows, and appreciating what we’re doing, it gives us the drive to want to step up our game, to be as tight as we can be.”
When people are coming to the shows, and appreciating what we’re doing, it gives us the drive to want to step up our game, to be as tight as we can be. – Mark Hempe, Guitarist / Vocalist
Years later, the unit’s tireless touring ethic continues to fortify their commitment. “It’s tough leaving New Orleans; this is our home. We don’t get much time back here now, but luckily as we’ve toured, fans have spread,” explains Provosty. “To do this right, you have to keep visiting every market every three or four months, and we’re committed to that. When the shows are selling out, we know our music is resonating. It’s just a matter of continuing to give this thing the room it needs to grow.”
Part of finding the room to grow is recognizing when to reach out to a few helping hands. New Orleans Saxophonist and close friend Khris Royal (Rebelution, Dark Matter) had contributed his services to past Earphunk records, but for Sweet Nasty, the band was looking to create a larger section. “Everyone in New Orleans, they play with each other. Everyone sits in with one another. It’s a natural thing and that’s the vibe we wanted on the record,” says Provosty.
There are worse places to be than New Orleans when in need of a horn player, and the band had to look no further than Eric “Benny” Bloom (Lettuce, Pretty Lights). “We had been out on the road with Lettuce for a few dates in the Southeast and got to know the guys pretty well,” recalls Galle. “When Eric moved to New Orleans, it was a no brainer. We needed him on the record with Khris.” Bloom and Royal unite with the five-piece in stellar fashion, bringing a proper funk authenticity to high-energy tracks like the Zapp and Roger inspired Phine and foot stomping title track Sweet Nasty.
Although the album was done, the work was not yet complete. In an age where digital releases and distribution models leave artists with more questions than answers, the band sought for an alternative. The solution was found in BitTorrent Bundle. “It’s a ubiquitous platform” say Provosty, “if you listen to our music, you probably know about BitTorrent.“ Earphunk chose to debut their new album exclusively on BitTorrent Bundle, enriching their fans’ Sweet Nasty experience. In addition to the new record, fans will get a Bundle loaded with exclusive videos, live sets, and artwork.
It’s a ubiquitous platform. If you listen to our music, you probably know about BitTorrent. – Paul Provosty
With Sweet Nasty set for release, the next step is a familiar one for Earphunk. As the band loads the trailer for their next national trek to support the new album, dates and festivals are already being booked for 2015. There are no plans to deviate from this strategy, after all, it’s worked out thus far. “Our fans have done so much for us already on this journey,” closes Hempe. “We just feel beyond fortunate to have this audience and we’re just going to continue working how we’ve been working, so they can feel proud to support us.”
In partnership with Earphunk, we’re exclusively releasing the Sweet Nasty deluxe package: a collection consisting of the band’s new album, three full soundboard sets from the band’s recent tour, live videos and exclusive art. Unlock the Sweet Nasty Bundle to introduce yourselves some of New Orleans finest.
Earphunk Sweet Nasty Bundle
01 Sweet Nasty LP (Audio)
02 Live at Nectars, Burlington, VT (Audio)
03 Live at Tipitina’s, New Orleans, LA (Audio)
04 Live at Artmostphere, Lafayette, LA (Audio)
05 Full Video Set from Groove Festival, Georgetown, CO (Video)
06 Sweet Nasty Album Artwork (Art)
07 Sweet Nasty Tour Poster (Art)
08 Sweet Nasty Lyric Booklet (Art)
About BitTorrent Bundle
BitTorrent Bundle is an alpha project made with and for the web’s creative community. Our mission is to help artists connect directly with fans, inside the content they share.
Each BitTorrent Bundle allows artists to distribute content directly to the Internet. And each Bundle comes with a key. Fans can unlock artist content with an email address. The idea is to make each song a storefront, and each file more valuable, every time it’s shared. Got ideas for the next BitTorrent Bundle? Hit us up.