Performing at over 200 shows and traveling non-stop across the country is no easy feat for any band. Earphunk has been putting in work for the last two years. Next month they release their new album, Right Where I Belong, and with no signs of slowing down for these guys, it's amazing they have the time to talk to folks like us. Luckily, Mark Hempe (vocals/guitar) was kind enough to carve out a few minutes to chat before their show at Terminal West last week.
How do you guys go about writing your songs?
Usually, there will be an idea presented by someone and they will bring that to the band and it will be somewhat developed. Then the band will put their take on it and it will turn into an actual song. Paul and I come up with a lot of the songs.
Your sound is a bit edgier than most funk bands, what made you decide to go with a bolder sound than a chiller approach?
As far as the music we're all interested in, since the very beginning we have been doing classic rock covers and rockier stuff. Rage Against the Machine covers, stuff like that. Feeling and seeing that response to that kind of music shifted our writing style and taste towards the edgier side.
What's your personal favorite song to cover when you guys play live?
Right now, Allman Brothers "Whipping Post" has always been kind of a favorite of mine. It seems to get a good response from the crowd.
Would you consider the band's music to be progressive?
Yeah, it's been termed as "prog funk" by a friend of mine and I believe he coined the team.
Tell us about the new single, "Moolah" off the new album Right Where I Belong.
It's 33% vocal and it has a rawer sound than songs in the past. As for the album, we didn't use any baffling in the studio so there's a little bit of bleed over on each track. We recorded it straight to tape so, you know, it's got that sound. We kind of went for it a lot more in a per take sense, just trying to capture more energy and focus more on the take as a whole. We're really happy with how it turned out.
What's an album that you listen to over and over?
Paul Simon's Graceland because I have memories of it as a child, my parents listened to that album. I hate flying so whenever I fly or I'm in the airport I plug that in and put that on repeat, it's on my phone at all times. The album puts me back to that time and calms me down, one of those albums that gives you that feeling.
Is there a certain part of the country you enjoy touring in?
Show wise, the Southeast. Geography and terrain wise, the west. Although, we've had some great shows out west as well. Cities like Atlanta and Austin have always treated us well. Denver is great, it's one of my favorite cities in the country. It's a town that offers a lot. We eat, drink, smoke, whatever, it has all the finer things in life.
What do you guys have going on for the rest of 2016?
Photos by Grace Kelly for Bullet Music