A couple months ago, I played at Rockwood with some very talented fellas: Akie Bermiss, and Dan Asher. Here are a few moments I was particularly proud of. That “Love Having You Around” cover may be the funkiest thing I’ve ever been a part of. Hope you enjoy.
I don’t post here often enough. It feels like I have to have something great and portentous to say. So I made myself a Tumblr for the pictures, the videos, and the quick passing thoughts. The big ideas will still end up here.
I played at Rockwood Music Hall all by myself a couple weeks ago. It sounded like this. Hope you like it!
Tonight, the Geniuses are taking the first step in a new direction.
When I told people I wanted to change the sound of the band, almost every single one thought I was crazy. This group has done some great things over the past two years – it’s always amazing to watch when creative people start to work together and “get” each other, and one day, you look up, and six things have become one thing. The Geniuses: a well-oiled, full-throttle, indie-soul-machine.
So why change? Why give that up?
Well, I’ve written a lot on this blog about the individual voice. In my solo work, my focus has always been on being relentlessly myself, in the most authentic way possible. I believe that when you create work that feels real and honest, people will be compelled by it. Some people won’t, but that’s just how it is. (In fact, this sounds a lot like my general life philosophy.)
With the band, however, my focus had been different. There’s something so visceral about performance that it’s easy to fall into traps, and rely on what works. You can put on a great show that you love, and the audience loves, without ever doing anything they haven’t seen before. The more talented the players, the easier it is to get hooked on that experience, and lose sight of the greater goal.
So a few months ago, I had to ask myself: what do I specifically bring to the table? What can the Geniuses do that isn’t already being done? What can we give to the world that feels meaningful and real? And what am I doing as a solo performer that isn’t happening with the band?
So we sat down, Genius-to-Genius, and we started to hash it out. The answer is hard to put into words, but it has a lot to do with space. A certain quiet intensity that allows our three voices to really stand out. A sound that explores, but still feels warm and safe.
Less soul, more soulful. Less work, more play. Less yeah, more yes.
Tonight, we’re gonna set sail to find our destiny. We hope you’ll come with us.
Sometimes it feels like being a Musician requires a singular focus. The ability to say, without hesitation: “This is what I want, this is what I do,” and never look back. And never even want to look back. A serious question: how many musicians (or artists of any kind) reach the end of their lives and say, “I wish I’d done something else”?
until we open for Christopher Jackson at his CD Release show at The Canal Room. If you’ve seen In The Heights or Freestyle Love Supreme, you know the guy’s a powerhouse. This is gonna be a great show…
As I’m sure you know, I’ve got a big gig coming up with the Geniuses at Mercury Lounge on January 28th. (Tickets on sale now!) But if you’ve never been to see us, and you’ve only heard my solo EP, you probably don’t know just how soulful this band is. So, here. I will show you.
My friend recorded these from her phone, unbeknownst to me, and I think they turned out pretty well! Hope you like! See you on the 28th!
For my first official musical endeavor of the new year, I will be sailing my band, The Geniuses, into new and uncharted waters.
On January 28, we will be bringing our very best selves – our prettiest harmonies, our deadliest grooves, our newest of new songs, our tiniest of tiny instruments – to the Mercury Lounge.
We have invited all manner of suit to attend. We have to convince them that we play well with others, and are thoroughly liked by our peers.
This is where you come in. We need your pretty faces and funny dances, and most importantly, all your friends and family. Come play with us!
Arthur and the Geniuses in
A REALLY BIG SHOW
Friday, 1/28 @ Mercury Lounge
217 E. Houston St
Doors: 7:30 PM, Show: 8 PM
As for the tiny instruments, a fan from Kazakhstan gave me this shankobyz at our last gig. (That wooden Easter Island face is the case it came in.) Thanks Danelle!
I promised her I’d work it into the January show. What have I done?
Happy New Year, everyone! 2010 was an interesting one for me. It would appear I neglected this blog a bit throughout the year, so here’s a little recap:
• I got the current version of the Geniuses together right at the end of 2009, and we spent this year building something funky and magical together. Like so:
• I played a bunch of shows around the country with my boys in Freestyle Love Supreme, including a sold-out show at New York’s own Gramercy Theater.
• I started a weekly series called The Musicians’ List that became a great scene in Queens for singer-songwriters to try out new material and play with each other. Unfortunately, it ended when the venue shut down a few months ago.
• I co-arranged, sang, played, and recorded for ukelele rapper Jon Braman’s new album, You And Me, due out in 2011, and watched as our regular gig at Pianos grew into The Melting Pot, a genre-smashing melange of hip-hop, folk, soul, and jazz folks getting together once a month to make great music.
• I orchestrated a reunion of my old high school chorus, and got to try my hand at choral conducting. Might have to do some more of that.
• I did my first California tour, and fell in love with LA. More on that later.
All in all, a great year. But my focus was definitely skewed towards being “out there” – gigging, collaborating, playing in public. In 2011, I’m looking forward to focusing inward again. Sitting at the piano and writing. Making stuff happen in the studio. Exploring ideas I’ve never worked with before. I’m excited about some of the projects I’ve got planned for this year. Stay tuned for more!