Marking the return of the ultimate “funky dance record” (as coined by the great Kenny Gamble) while celebrating various elements of Jazz, Funk, Soul and Disco (yes the “D” word); BSTC comes strong with some serious Chicago Funk/Soul in their latest debut offering “Music For a Saturday Evening”. Which made me an instant believer when I first recieved the promo 12′ (biggups to my man Dcee at Mahasa Music) of “Jazz In Outerspace”. I had a chance to catch up with founder and brainchild Andy C to talk about the group and its conception.
A-Ski: First and foremost I have to say that your debut is one of the most refreshing albums i’ve heard in a quite awhile. What was the inspiration and how did the concept come together?
Andy: The group came together while i was working with Tunji on some rap projects. While we were in the studio, we
came up with the songs BSTC and Jazz in Outerspace, during
the downtime. I let Tone hear it (All Natural Recordings),
he fell in love with the sound and we started working on
an EP, while working on the EP I reached out to Keanna and
asked her to write a song to an instrumental that we had and
from there the concept grew in to what it is today.
A-Ski: Where are you guys based out of?
A-Ski: So that exlplains the serious funk factor?
A-Ski: Being that Chicago is one of the major architects behind Soul/Blues/Dance music, what are the elements of the Chi Town experience that continues to bring out so much intense talent?
Andy: Its cold outside, Chicago has a constant
evolving culture, that is definitely not merciful. So in order
to survive for any amount of time in this town in
entertainment, you must be able to roll with it.
Otherwise you wont make it, dosent hurt that we have cold
winters, it sort of gives you a deeper focus.
A-Ski: How did you guys come up with the name BSTC?
Andy: BSTC is an acronym for the blackstone theatre
collective, the Blackstone Hotel was home for many of the great
jazz and blues musicians of the 50’s and 60’s. Usually at the
end of the evening, other musicians would come down to the
hotel and have jam sessions with other musicians that
were in town, so i called the group the Blackstone Theatre
Collective, because thats what the album is. Instead
of the hotel, we all got together at different studios, in
different cities, and had jam session, to create the
A-Ski: Do you feel the live element of music is coming back? Speaking of which who composed the horn arrangements?
Andy: Yes, the information age is in fact, bringing on a
musical renaissance, young kids are starting to show
appreciation for the music again, because they are
seeing the old shows and hearing many of the classic songs
that inspired me to pursue music. I see it becoming the
next thing in the States. As far as the horn arrangements
go, I did them on everything except Jazz in Outerspace (Tunji),
and Forty Days which was arranged by Tom Tom 2084 (legendary Producer/Arranger/Architecht of Chicago Soul) , who
arranged horn sections for the Chi Lites, the Dells, Earth, Wind &
Fire, and Phil Collins.
A-Ski: “Venus and Mars” is in my top 5 of favorite songs on this album, what is the story behind that song?
Andy: “Venus and Mars” came out of necessity. Tone called
and asked for a single that fit the vibe of “Jazz In
Outerspace”. So I went to the studio the next morning, and put it
together, Tunji and Marshall, and the LDB (lowdown
brass band), came in later on that week and laid their
A-Ski: Also the cover of “Forty Days” is beautiful and with a very different approach, what inspired you guys to tackle this classic?
Andy: This is one of my favorite records of all time
very grimy and very polished at the same time. I had done
some studio work with ZZaje before and I felt that they
would not only pay respect to the original song while making it
A-Ski: If you were on a deserted island and you had to the choice of grabbing 5 records, which ones would they be?
Andy: Jesse Gould-Out of Work, Stevie Wonder– Black Man, First Choice- Love Having You Around, Earth, Wind, And Fire-Fantasy, Fair but So Uncool, Minnie Ripperton-Memory Lane
A-Ski: Any tour dates?
Andy: As of now, no, but we are in the process of
putting one together for winter 2009
A-Ski: Whats the ultimate mission of BSTC?
Andy: For everyone to enjoy music TOGETHER!!
Album Review- BSTC: Music for a Saturday Evening
Time and time again we discuss the controversial term “Neo-Soul”. The whole idea of Nu-Soul is somewhat irritating because it’s like buying a fake Coach bag when you can get the original. While a fake is often cheaper, it never quite lasts. Some artists understand that it’s not about trying to be something that you are not it’s about being who you are. That’s what makes the BSTC “Music for a Saturday Evening” album so beautiful. You cannot put this group under one title or genre, you know this immediately when you hear the Intro and track one “BSTC”, where the gospel organ takes you back to Mississippi juke joints and holly rolling evangelists. This “baptism by the bass” sets the stage for the journey to come almost as if Bootsy Collins is driving the bus and we’re all aboard. I snobbishly labeled track three “Love featuring JL” as sounding too R &B until I found Samba undertones pulling me out of my seat. If you’re like me, while you’re up you should grab your partner because track four makes you want to turn on the red light and find a nice spot against the wall to get your wind on. “Fresh Love” immediately reminds you of the House yet two stepping roots of these Chicago natives. “Venus and Mars” is tangled with electronic broken beats but again laced by the organic sounds of percussion and keys. The slow jams “Fly away” and “Love and Lust” allow just enough time to catch your breath before your Saturday night endeavors. “Agua De Beber”, “Afrika”, and “Suffering and Smiling” my personal favorites, conjure the spirits of Deodato, Santana, and Fela Kuti causing your hips to effortlessly take over. “Jazz in Outer Space’s” old school hip-hop swing will transmit you back to high top fades and Cross-Color jeans. Yet the last two jams “Forty Days” and “Mr. AC” remind you that you’re all grown and ready to take over the world. As their first album release, BSTC put it down! They define themselves and being indefinable, which is lovely because as a great man stated “I cannot be contained in the space of the earth, I cannot be contained in the space of the heavens, but I can be contained in the heart of my loving servant.”In this case BSTC are loving servants to the music.
Courtesy of Dj Lotuspetal