Monday, December 9, 2013
Stereocom is a Portland-based outfit of soul, funk and jazz musicians who have been playing together for less than a year and in that time have developed an impressive repertoire of originals and extremely well-chosen covers. Like this band on Facebook for some instant musical gratification.
Stereocom plays a diverse mix of original music and obscure soul and funk classics. The band performs on Saturday at the MyTie Lounge in Brunswick.
WHEN: 8:30 to 11:30 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: MyTie Lounge, 94 Maine St., Brunswick
HOW MUCH: Free
WHAT'S ON STEREOCOM'S iPOD
"Golden," Jill Scott
"Who You Are," Jessie J
"Dear Prudence," Jaco Pastorius
"Black Betty," Ram Jam
"Mama Feelgood," Lyn Collins
"Corporal Clegg," Pink Floyd
"Nicotine & Gravy," Beck
"Shaking the Tree," Peter Gabriel
"Safari," Steps Ahead
"Oferere," Daniel Ponce
TURN YOUR RADIO DIAL to 102.9 WBLM every Friday at 8:30 a.m. to hear Aimsel Ponti wax poetic about her top three live music picks for the week with the Captain and Celeste.
The lineup is Eric Rohrbach on keyboards, Ben Coombs on bass, Jay Nelson on drums, Stephen Perry on saxophone and congas, and vocalist T.C. Foxx. GO fired off some questions to the band, and got a lightning round of collective responses back.
How did you all meet?
About four years ago, we (Jason and Eric) were playing drums and keys in the instrumental group Greenhead when Steve answered a Craigslist ad looking for a saxophone player. We hit it off right away, but eventually life happened and Steve moved away for a while and Greenhead fizzled out. A Craigslist ad produced another player in the person of Ben (bass).
Shortly thereafter, Steve contacted the old gang. The chemistry was there instantly, and the four of us immediately began building a diverse repertoire of original music and obscure soul and funk classics. This winter, Ben started contacting female vocalists in the Portland area via Facebook, and T.C. Foxx showed interest. Ben and I saw her perform at Empire Dine & Dance, and knew right away that she would be a good fit for Stereocom.
What's happened with the band since you formed last spring?
Mostly, we have had our heads down practicing. It's hard to be an instrumental band in Portland. The only way to do it is to be super tight and nail all the changes. We've had a bunch of small gigs with a great response from the crowds, but found it hard to maintain a consistent following when people couldn't sing along. The addition of T.C. has been great. We can still rock instrumentals, but can also have her as a front person.
Any plans to release a CD?
Right now, we are writing some of our first original songs, with T.C. Foxx in the fold. As soon as we have a few down, we plan to get in the studio this spring. We hope to have an EP ready for release in mid- to late-summer.
How did improvisation become such an important element of your music?
As a band, we agree that improvisation is not just an important element of our music, it is the most important element. Each of us comes from very different backgrounds both musically and socially, and that is what makes it interesting.
When we are on stage, it is like having a conversation. Sometimes, one of us will take control and dominate the discussion for a while before passing it around, but just as often, there are two or more of us playing ideas off one another, and this is when things can really get moving. We have been known to end up on a journey that might take us through four or five other songs before finding our way back to where we started.
There are only two guarantees you get from going to Stereocom shows: You will have fun, and you will never hear the same song played the same way twice. Even the well-known songs we have in our repertoire have our own spin on them, and we are always tinkering.
How do you decide which songs to cover?
We try to add as much new material as often as possible. Since adding T.C. on vocals over the winter, most of our focus has been on increasing our repertoire with her. Part of the reason why Stereocom sounds different than any other band in Portland is because of the diversity in the music we play. This variety is because everyone brings music to the group.
What's the writing process like for the band?
Now we have a vocalist, which is really exciting, but also a new experience when it comes to writing original music. We are excited that T.C. shares our passion for creating original ideas that are 100 percent group collaboration.
Staff Writer Aimsel Ponti can be contacted at 791-6455 or at: