Soulive is playing today, rain or shine (big tent on the way), at the Tower Jam concert series – the concert starts at 4:30pm with a set from Free Henry! then Jony James will take it from there. Soulive should go on stage at about 6:15pm. The grillers will be serving food starting at noon and the beer tent will open for the concert. Mayor Brown will be at the show to announce that today is officially Soulive Day in Buffalo. Hometown vocalist and all around media personality, Alex Kelly, caught up with Alan last night at Merge to ask him a few questions prior to the show.
Alex Kelly interview with Alan Evans
Alex: Soulive has been creating together for 11 years now, you guys have toured all over the world and with a number of other artists including Talib Kwali, what are some key elements that went into making this band such a success?
Alan: Well I would say that the three of us let each other do our own thing; we all come to the table with songs. There are no rules, like you have to play exactly like this…. We just create songs and everyone plays it how they interpret it. It’s all about adding your own personality into it. Everyone has the freedom to do what they want to do. Most importantly we have fun doing what we are doing. When we are on stage its not a big show with explosions and all, we are having fun, we are doing out thing. I think that people can see that we enjoy what we do, and so they have a good time. It’s a symbiotic relationship. We want people to feel like they are a part of the experience, and that has helped us become what we have become.
Alex: In regards to experimentation, you guys have always tried to keep your music relatively new, so as not to repeat yourselves. What has the response been from our audience, and how difficult is it to keep things so fresh?
Alan: For us it hasn’t been that difficult to keep things fresh. Outside of Soulive we all do our own thing. We play with other people, so when we create with other people, we have quite a vocabulary to pull from. We have other things that inspire us so there is always something to pull from the pot. In regards to our audience, you can’t please everyone. I try to keep up with what is being said about us like online and whatnot, but you do get some people that give you a hard time if you go in a different direction, but they also give you a hard time if you put out the same stuff all the time. To be a true artist, you have to almost disregard what everyone thinks about what you do, but at the same time you want to make things that people can relate to…. It’s a fine line.
Alex: Can you talk about Royal Family records a bit?
Alan: Yeah, Royal Family Records….. It’s new in name but it’s old in our hearts. It started in 2008 (I think), Soulive took a few years off from heavy touring; we did a few gigs to keep the lights (laughs). In that time I opened my recording studio as a commercial spot. My brother Neal started his work doing music for “The Blacklist” for HBO. I think it was harder to find all the people that were connected with us like Lettuce and Break Science, so Kras took it upon himself to create a blog where we could all be linked together. Neal and Kras had never actually been to my studio, and since I had some time off, I told them to come down and eventually we wound up recording this album called “UP Here” which wound up being our 1st release on the label. When we realized that we had this album, we had no idea how we would put it out. We were not with a label nor did we want to be, so we put it out ourselves, and since Kras already has a pretty good web presence with Royal Family Music, we turned it into a record label and it just kinda took off from there.
Alex: How has extending yourself to new artist been helpful to your own band?
Alan: I guess its like, your hippin’ new cats to what your dong and growing your whole family… For us that’s what it’s about.
Alex: Many of your Buffalo fans will be excited to see you live; can you tell us what they can expect to see?
Alan: As always, high energy. Buffalo is an exciting place for us to play. We play all over the world but Buffalo feels like a second home. It’s like whenever we play here, there are so many people that you know. It’s not like in Tokyo and you see some cat that you know and you’re like, “Oh, I partied with that guy”… Here, there are people that you really know… it’s a whole different energy. It’s an energy that we do not find anywhere else that we play.
Alex: What is next on the agenda for Soulive?
Alan: Ok, ok, there is a bunch of stuff…. Let’s see, we recorded a new album that is kinda out right now, it’s called Rubber Soulive, it’s all Beatles tunes. We took a few days and just like listened to pretty much every Beatles song ever. We picked out some that we dug. The official release of that is September. At the same time we did this thing called Bowlive at this spot called Brooklyn Bowl. It took us ten nights and we had all of our friends come out each night, and I mean the list of people that came out was crazy. There will be a DVD of that in the fall. In terms of the Royal Family, Eric’s album is out now, my brothers album is coming out soon. Nigel Hall, Nigel is the truth; his album is coming out soon, as well as my own stuff…. So there is a lot of music.
Alex: Sweet, Ok I think we’ve come to the end of our interview…. Any last words?
Alan: …. I LOVE Buffalo…