Augusta band Funk You has been on the road a lot lately, traveling through states such as Colorado, Texas, North Carolina, Louisiana and New Mexico. If you’ve been meaning to catch one of their shows, you’re in luck — they’ll be at Sky City on Halloween night, performing two original sets with an all-‘90s cover set sandwiched in the middle.
And ’90s costumes are strongly encouraged.
The singer of the band, Gavin Hamilton, describes their sound as “good-feeling music that makes you want to dance.” The band is open to dabbling in any genre of music, but heavy influencers include James Brown, Phish, Umphrey’s McGee and The Grateful Dead.
Funk You is Hamilton on lead vocals; Evan Miller on the guitar; Will Clark on drums and vocals; Palmer Owens on percussion; Will Foster on the keyboard; and Rob Thompson on the bass and vocals. The band started out with four people in about 2010, and it has evolved into a six-piece band, with the current incarnation of the band coming together about four years ago.
The band recently spoke with the Metro Spirit, passing a phone around while rambling down I-20 toward Tuscaloosa, Alabama, in a 15-passenger van hauling a trailer.
Metro Spirit: Gavin, how did you get into singing?
Hamilton: I grew up in the church; my mom was a singer growing up when I was a kid. One of my older brothers really influenced me; he was in choir and sang a lot when we were younger. That’s pretty much where I started. When I got into middle school and high school, I had a lot of friends that I did music with and worked with and kind of pointed me in the direction of getting involved with a band and trying to do more with that side of the music scene.
Spirit: I know there can be some drama in the world of bands, so I’m wondering what makes your band work so well together?
Clark: “Well, we try to respect each other as much as we can. It’s a team effort, so we’re all trying to put in as much skills as we can and combine everybody’s talents and create the best product we can.”
Spirit: What do you guys think about the music scene in Augusta vs. maybe 10 years ago?
Foster: I think then, going out, seeing live music was a social thing to do. I feel like as the years go on, more people are just sitting at home or going to bars — I just don’t feel like there’s as many people going out in Augusta anymore, for live music. I mean, it’s just dead a lot. I don’t know why that is.
Clark: Well, some of the other people in the scene think the opposite of that, too, so we have conflicting views within the band on the music scene in Augusta. I’ve noticed an influx — even just being in the band for four years — an influx in the amount and quality of bands who are willing to come stop by Augusta, which used to not.
Clark: It’s not so much our scene as it is the music scene as a whole, which has definitely increased the amount of bands and the shows that get put on. … People are actually using the things that Augusta has, like the Jessye Norman Amphitheatre, that used to never be used for anything, and now we’re bringing bands to showcase the beautiful river. And with the Bell Auditorium and the Miller Theater that’s about to open next year, we’re bringing in a lot bigger acts now that want to come to Augusta.
Spirit: Can you guys describe what life is like on the road and what you do during down time?
Clark: We just got done with a three-week, northeast tour where every show we played was our first time in that market, so that was really exciting for us. We like to explore the cities, walk around downtown, find cool waterfalls, go hiking. We camp out in some places that are very beautiful. As far as down time, we keep ourselves entertained by just exploring the city and hanging out with each other.
Spirit: What do you dislike about touring?
Clark: … smelly socks? Also that vacuum cleaners aren’t just automatic. We need a robot vacuum cleaner for the van; if we had one of those, I’d like touring a little better.
Spirit: What topics do your original songs touch on?
Thompson: I mean, it’s a lot of different stuff. It’s supernatural things, it’s ethereal things, tangibles, intangibles. Love is something we like to touch on, because I think we all feel it at some point in our lives, and we all feel hurt at some point in our lives. We don’t get too political with it, and we definitely aren’t a preachy kind of band, either. We prefer to write about things that allow people to have a good time. But we bring some focus to things that are going on in the world, too.
Spirit: Like what?
Thompson: Like, I don’t know, a lot of stuff in politics in this world, a lot of stuff happening to the Earth right now. A great example of it is, the opening track on our album “Apparitions” is called “Resolution.” And that touches on a lot of stuff; Gavin wrote those words, and I think he must have been feeling some angst about the world in some way when he wrote it. It calls for people to kind of change their minds about some things and how to act about taking care of the world and taking care of each other.
Spirit: How long will you guys be playing Halloween night?
Thompson: We’re gonna crank up about 9:00 and go to close, I believe. It’s gonna be a good, long night of music, it’s gonna be a lot of fun, different music, different kinds of music.”
Spirit: Are you guys gonna be in costume?
Thompson: Yeah, we’re gonna dress up. We don’t have anything planned as a group yet, but we encourage people to dress up, absolutely. We want people to come out and have a good time. The theme is all ’90s. Bright colors, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network — JNCOs for sure.
Visit funkyoumusic.com to hear Funk You’s music, or follow them on Facebook at facebook.com/funkyoumusic. The Halloween show at Sky City costs $10 in advance and $12 on the day of the show. Visit skycityaugusta.com to buy advance tickets.