Focusing on a strong pulse and melody lines that float right up to the top, Dan Klug’s group The Consecutives is about to drop its newest release simply called “Volume 2.” The Brooklyn-based band acknowledges its funk and blues patterns that are also injected with jazz.
From Vol. 1, “Glide” has a fat and confident bass, an exciting pace and relentless shredding; a song that flirts with the edges of soul. “Robert Parish” recalls the laid-back drum entree of “Superstition” which melodically happens to honor that song’s funk as well.
Vol. 2 finds its sweet, heavy guitar that hits a blues feel straight out of the gate on “Highway” and “Chicken Pox” packs some firepower on the keys with drums that attack the beats just right. “Singularity” pairs blistering percussion mastery with a unity and tightness among the ensemble that is a stunner to witness. Personnel: Dan Klug (drums); Andy Berman (guitar); Ray Cetta (bass); and Tom Wilson (keys).
When and why did you take up drums and piano?
Drums are my main instrument and what I play in The Consecutives, although I compose a good amount of our music on piano. I started playing drums when I was a young kid, around 10 or 11 and I’m 35 now so at this point I’m going on my third decade of playing. I didn’t go to music school but studied music at a liberal arts college where I picked up piano, so I’m still in my second decade there. On piano I’ve taken about a dozen lessons in my life but I’m mainly self-taught and started learning the blues basics and studied jazz theory so I built from there.
On drums, I’ve taken many, many lessons. Most notably I studied under the great Bob Gullotti in Boston for many years and he was really my teacher, mentor and motivator. He showed me what it takes to really be a jazz musician and constantly challenged me to be better. In studying with him I grew a ton as a drummer but also as a musician. Bob passed away last year but I know if I shared this music with him he’d say something like, “DIG IT MAN! But you gotta work on your hand speed.” He was the greatest.
On drums, John Bonham was really what hooked me when I was a young kid. From there I’ve been chasing the jazz greats ever since (Tony Williams, Art Blakey, Elvin Jones, Max Roach, Joe Morello). I’m also inspired by a ton of modern players (Dave King, Billy Martin, Nate Smith, Chris Dave) and a ton of funk and soul masters (Clyde Stubblefield, Jabo Starks, Dennis Chambers, James Gadson, Paul Humphrey, Mike Clark). I’m leaving a ton out here but when I see these dudes play I just want to get better.
On piano, I’ve always been drawn to the New Orleans style stride piano so I can play (very poorly) in the Professor Longhair, Fats Domino, James Booker style, but have also played through the Great American Songbook and picked up stylings from players I love – Bill Evans, McCoy Tyner, Herbie Hancock, Thelonoius Monk, Bob James.
Why did you name your band The Consecutives?
I originally started leading this band under a few names with my name on the bill – Dan Klug Trio/Quartet/Funk Band – because I couldn’t find a name that I liked that wasn’t already taken. I always thought writing good music would be the hardest part of leading a band but finding a name you like and that isn’t taken is tough!
After like eight months of spitballing the name thing I had a friend tell me that some people name their companies by looking through mathematical dictionaries so I found one online and when I got to the letter C there it was – The Consecutives.
The name doesn’t mean anything profound but I was looking to name the band in the same style as those awesome soul bands from the 70’s – The Supremes, The Stylistics, The Impressions, etc. I like the way it sounds so here we are.
What was your first public performance as a group and what was it like?
First gig this band played was as a trio at a club in Harlem called Shrine. If people don’t know Shrine and Silvana (another club owned by the same people), it was a super cool venue that had music every night of the week. It was known as a great spot to kick off a project for local bands or for up-and-coming bands to come through when they were in town. I was still trying to find the vibe of the band at that point so I remember we played like five of our songs and like three James Brown tunes so the crowd dug what we were doing. I walked to the bar after our set and two older guys said “hey good job man” and whenever you can get total strangers to dig your music I count that as a win in my book.
What are the differences between Vol. 1 and Vol. 2?
I don’t have a theme per se for Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 but my basic strategy is to get all of this music out in the world, so right now there are two records. I have at least a Vol. 3 ready to go and maybe even Vol. 4 and 5.
I wrote a lot of these tunes in my 20s and I always said to myself that when I got to 10, I was going to start a band so this is the fruition of that.
We recorded Vol. 1 digitally in an apartment studio in Brooklyn and Vol. 2 was recorded to tape in a proper studio also in Brooklyn, so they sound a bit different if you have recording mixing ears. Vol. 2 is also our ‘modern/progressive’ music, with some odd time signatures and thumping bass and drums, whereas a lot of our other music is more laid back. When I put the albums together, I don’t want any song on the record to sound the same so I’m intentional about trying to combine them in a creative way.
What inspires you when you compose?
Everything – food, sunlight, strong coffee, running – I’ve been trying to zero in on this question for a lot of my adult life but I’ve always found that just letting the inspiration come works the best and then trying to capture that inspiration as soon as possible however I can. Forcing it just doesn’t work for me.
With that said, I’ve also noticed as I’ve gotten older and when I listen to music my brain subconsciously stores it in my head and plays it back to me when I’m doing normal things in life, so if I’m ever struggling for inspiration, I go to my record collection and just dig in to settle my nerves. Typically the bands I listen to when I’m struggling there are The Meters and James Brown because they’re awesome.
How do you typically begin writing: with a melody you hear in your head or a rhythm or chordal progression?
Any and all of the above, however it comes. I read Dizzy Gillespie’s book when I was younger and in that book he always recommends building a song off a rhythm as opposed to anything else so that actually inspired me a bit to start composing on the drums. (Montana Slim and Singularity on Vol. 2 are written in that style). But again, I’ll take it however I can get it.
How would you characterize your overall sound and style as a band?
Modern Funk. We aren’t the classic big horn section, rocking singer kind of funk band (although I LOVE that music), but instead we write simple music that has a groove and is also put together like jazz tunes to give each player the room to improvise and do their thing. To me that’s a much different vibe compared to other forms of funk, hence “modern funk.”
What did you do to keep the buzz alive during lockdown?
Lots of records and practicing! Like everyone else, lockdown sucked but I’m lucky enough to have a practice space at my apartment. I’ve kept myself mentally busy by digging in to some practice material I’ve had on my music stand for a long time. I made the best of it but I’m also ready for it to be OVER.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of producing an album?
Standing by the final product. The Consecutives is really my life’s work up to this point so the fact that I’m hearing this music the way it’s put together as opposed to just imagining it in my head is a huge accomplishment and the fact that it’s out in the world is a whole other level. I’m just really happy it’s getting out there.
How have both funk and jazz influenced your music?
I’m a musician who is obsessed with both of these genres so my life pretty much revolves around them, from constantly making time to practice to always looking for new music and meeting new people who feel the same way as I do. It’s really a lifestyle for me at this point.
What are you most looking forward to this year?
Hopefully playing gigs soon! The studio session for Vol. 2 was one of the only times in the past year I’ve played in a room with other people so I’m looking forward to getting more opportunities to play with other people in front of other people sometime soon. Fingers crossed that will happen in 2021.
Thanks to everyone who listens to our music. We are a young band trying to navigate all the changes with the live music world so everyone’s support is very much appreciated.
For more information visit https://theconsecutives.bandcamp.com/album/the-consecutives-vol-1.
Photos courtesy of and with permission of the artist.
(c) 2021 Debbie Burke
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