When Soulive first came up a little more than 10 years ago, the music business was just beginning to change. The past decade has seen the band evolve along with it, recording in their own studio, launching their own record label, and putting up their own videos online.
From the beginning has been Pete Shapiro. The band would jam in his Manhattan club, Wetlands, back in the day, playing there more times than any other club, even since. This month, they play a two-week residency at his newest venture, Brooklyn Bowl in Williamsburg, adding new notches to the belt with 10 nights of funk-infused music.
“We built Brooklyn Bowl with these types of events in mind,” says Shapiro.“We wanted to create an environment where bands can stretch out, invite some friends over and jam.”
Soulive will do just that over the course of the residency, aptly named “Bowlive,” pulling from their many albums and EPs, as well as inviting as many friends as they can to join them each night.
“It’s definitely going to be a cool list of people,” says Soulive guitarist and Greenpointer Eric Krasno. “Over the years we’ve worked, recorded and performed with a lot of amazing artists. So we’re pretty much reaching out to whoever’s around…and mashing up different talents.”
In addition to the core band – Krasno, Alan Evans on drums, and his brother Neal on bass – there will also be a horn section – the Shady Horns, as they play selections from their 10-year discography, and stuff that’s to come, including a collection of Beatles covers. (That’s dubbed “Rubber Soulive.” Love it.)
“It’s pretty much Soulive organ trio versions of Beatles tunes,” says Krasno, who laid down songs like “Eleanor Rigby” and “Something” for the album. “That’s something we’ve wanted to do for a long time.”
No surprise that they did do it. Since the band started, they’ve been able to make things happen. The first time they all sat down together and jammed, they wound up with their debut album — “Get Down.” Soon, they signed to Blue Note Records and started getting regular gigs in New York, including Wetlands, and all over the world (the band’s especially big in Japan). A little over a year ago, they started their own label – Royal Family Records – putting out their own music, including most recently a live session recorded in Tokyo, as well as others. Label mates include Lettuce, Adam Deitch and Nigel Hall (an appearance by these guys throughout Bowlive is likely).
With music downloads so prevalent, the band has also been big on immediately getting out media on their own terms, whether that means CDS right after they’ve finished clearing the stage or uploading videos of shows to their Web site.
“When we go on tour, people record anyway and put it online. That’s why we started doing it ourselves.Here’s a little bit of quality control,” says Krasno.
With their next releases, the band also looks to play more into instant gratification.
“Eventually our idea is to put up tracks instantly from the studio,” says Krasno, who wants to constantly update the site with music to sell and available for free todownload, as well as have videos streaming from their sessions. “We’re working toward what we consider the future of music distribution. Nowadays, the music industry is so unpredictable, you have to diversify.”
With that said, 10 years from now, don’t be surprised if Soulive comes full circle yet again with another set of gigs at whatever club Shapiro’s manning then You heard it here first.
Soulive do Bowlive at Brooklyn Bowl (61 Wythe Ave) March 2-6 and March 9-13. All shows at 9 pm. Tickets $10 on weeknights and $12.50 on weekends. For more information, go to www.brooklynbowl.com or call 718-625-2100.
For more on the band, go to www.soulive.com.