Music Video: Kat Wright & The Indomitable Soul Band - By My Side
It was one of those moments that we live for here at Next2Shine when we came across Vermont's Kat Wright and her Indomitable Soul Band early last year - a moment of musical discovery ripe with the satisfaction of finding a collective of talented musicians who are purpose driven to deliver music that is infused with an uplifting, passionately expressive and soulfully resonant authenticity; that moment of joy when finding music grounded in a reverence for the best of the timeless sensibilities to be found in classic soul, r'n'b and jazz, the type of music that effortlessly engages both the emotions and the feet, offering a salve for the soul while inviting the shedding of life's constraints to experience the joy of the moment.
With the seven-piece Indomitable Soul Band that comprises some of Vermont's most talented musicians providing the foundation, and Wright's sultry, enchanting and exquisitely nuanced vocal delivery, suffused with the most captivating of emotional hues and shades, casting its spell, the band has been winning over an ever growing fan base with their distinctively soulful, jazzy, r'n'b and funk influenced instincts, instincts they describe as 'blending Memphis soul and new school r'n'b''. Having headlined festivals and played iconic venues in New York such as Rockwood Music Hall and Mercury Lounge, and following the release of last year's 'Introducing...' EP, the band's joyous and uniquely magical brand of music-from-the-heart-and-soul recently saw them named 'Best Funk/R'n'B Group' and 'Best Jazz/Blues Band' in Vermont.
With their progress in the last year-and-a-half having proved the aptness of the band's moniker, we are pleased to continue our journey with the band by premiering the video for their recently released 'psychedelic love song', 'By My Side', the dancers, variegated light show and stage setting channeling the legacy of classic 60's and 70's music videos as Wright offers a beautifully emotive confession as to the passions that are stirred within her by a special someone.
To complement the premier, we caught up with Wright as she explained more about the song and video, the band's growing recognition, and their plans for the future -
What was the origin of, and inspiration behind, the song?
The origins of the song are two fold; Bob, our guitar player brought the first spark of the song to the group at one of our notorious "band camps" (when we go up to the Northeast Kingdom of VT and workshop songs together and eat a lot of bacon together). So Bob brings the idea for the main "line" in the song, I believe it was something he had initially come up with some time ago and had on the back burner, and the rest of the tune came together pretty quickly in a pretty collaborative way. We started building the form, and Shane (keys) and I started channeling lyrics, everyone was vibing, and before we knew it the song was all there. We like to say it kind of fell out of the sky into our laps, because it was pretty effortless and felt like a magical gift from outer space...(or was it inner space)? The lyrics were really silly at first... once someone starts talking about rainbows, its all over. We've got a few comedians in the group. But the act of pretty much collectively writing a song that we really like brought a lot of satisfaction. And the song continues to lift us up every time we play it, it always brings me back to that dreamy afternoon when we wrote it. We weren't trying to force it, it just happened. Those are the best kind of songs.
How was the video devised/envisioned to reflect and enhance the vibe of the song?
The idea for the video came after a few of us did a tribute to Pink Floyd with Matt Burr (Grace Potter & The Nocturnals). Matt hired an amazing projectionist to come do some live projections for those shows. One of said shows was in one of my favorite venues in Vermont, this really quirky theater called The Big Picture. Its a movie theater/restaurant/event space owned by a couple really interesting, wonderful people (one of which is a documentary film maker- Eugene Jarecki). So the place has a ton of personality, definitely has an old theater vibe, something from another time. I really dug how trippy the projections could make a simple scene (a band playing on a stage), and I started dreaming up the video to incorporate the projections and The Big Picture, a space that feels back in time as well as uniquely Vermont.
I worked with the projectionist to come up with some cool moving images, lines and shapes to project onto us, and he created the images and projected them live, onto us as we filmed. I really love those old music videos from the 60's and 70's that have such bizarre-o stage set ups, like a band playing but everyone is standing on a different size weird red cube, or there's big ladders everyone but nothing else and the singer is like, wandering through them. I also really love the classic shows like Soul Train, The Carol Burnett Show, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Midnight Special, The Ed Sullivan Show, The Johnny Cash Show, etc. So I was hoping to channel some of those old school vibes, mixed with a new agey kind of effect with the projections with this video.
Why do you think people are responding so positively to Kat Wright & The Indomitable Soul Band (KWISB), and what is it that you are trying to give to people, and to make them feel, when they experience your music?
We've all worked really hard to hone our talents individually, and we've worked really hard over the last 4 years on playing as a group, and I think that shows. I think it also shows that we're all trying our hardest to be genuine. I think it shows, more and more all the time, that all of us in the group really love each other dearly as well. Over the last year especially we've been through a lot together, in our own personal journeys and as a band; and our friendships are as strong as ever. We love being together, we respect and admire each others talents; and that always radiates and becomes contagious.
We all want people to feel good when they see and hear us. We want people to let go whatever it is they might have been carrying around all day, all week, all year...all their lives. We want people to let loose, move their bodies, vibe with us, smile, laugh, remember, rejoice, be in the moment with us.
Fredrico Garcia Lorca's notion of 'duende' is something that has been mentioned as being relevant to the band. How does this notion inform what KWISB striving for artistically and aesthetically?
Okay, so 'Duende' is kind of like 'mojo'. I understand it to mean: when someone is possessed by the spirit of whatever it is that they're doing, often in reference to the arts. One of my favorite examples: when Nina Simone is signing- she was possessed by the spirit of the muse, of the music. Duende often has a dark, mischievous under current. It's this force, that drives me personally. Thats what I'm always aiming for.
KWISB were recently named 'Best Funk/R&B Group' and 'Best Jazz/Blues Band' in Vermont, and in recent times you have shared stages with the likes of Leon Russell, Grace Potter and the Original Wailers. How affirming and motivating have these experiences been for the band as you look to the future?
The last year has been really beautiful. Its so humbling to have the opportunity to listen to the music of, and even speak to some of the best performers out there right now, like the ones you mentioned: Leon Russell, Grace Potter, The Original Wailers to name just a few. It's been really affirming (though sometimes we feel like we're progressing at a snails pace) and when we reflect, we are really grateful for all of those opportunities. We've worked really hard to put ourselves out on a limb (often financially) whenever there's an opportunity for us to shine, and its really rewarding to be recognized for our talents from time to time. There have been so many people who have come out again and again to support us, and told their friends, and the audiences continue to grow...its a beautiful thing. There's people that I barely know who have become fans in different cities (especially NYC)...and when I see them, even if I can't remember their names its kind of like seeing an old friend.... I'm like "I know you! Thanks for loving us! We love YOU"! Its incredibly encouraging.
From the beginning we have been shown so much love and support in our hometown of Burlington, Vermont. Winning the reader's choice awards in two categories this year was so meaningful to us. Vermont might be "off the beaten path" but it is known for having a high quality of living, for its good taste in culture (food, music, art), and for its people who are real and down to earth. Its a 'no bullshit', 'what you see is what you get' kinda place. Which is pretty how all of us are as individuals. We were so honored to win 'Best Funk/RnB Group' and 'Best Jazz/Blues Band'...all of the other nominees were so talented and deserving.
What can people expect from KWISB in the immediate future?
This spring/summer we recorded 3 live shows here in Burlington. Two were at the beloved home of our 3 year residency, Radio Bean, and one at Signal Kitchen. We will be releasing a live album (or two!) from those shows, as well as some live video from those nights. We have also started to record a new EP! And we're going on our first mid-west tour next week, so we'll be hitting new markets we've never hit before including Chicago, IL, Traverse Cit, MI, Buffalo, NY etc. We'll be back in NYC as often as we can - hopefully for CMJ (confirming soon)! In the immediate future and forever, we'll keep trying to stay true... to ourselves...and the duende.