Down North at Lounge South

The Seattle funk rockers prepare to release their first album

"We've been trying to release this album for the last two years," says Anthony Briscoe, singer for Seattle-based funk rock band Down North about their forthcoming debut album. "We've had a majority of the songs done, but I'm so picky. You can only release your first album once."

The album has no release date, but Briscoe believes that it will be available no later than the fall. The group recently launched a crowdfunding campaign through Indiegogo to handle publicity for the album, which will be self-released but distributed through Universal.

If you go

Who: Down North

When: 10 p.m. Friday, May 16

Where: Lounge South, 66 N. Pioneer St., Ashland

Cover: $5

Call: 541-499-9651

"It's not like it was before," Briscoe says. "Warner Bros. stuck with Prince for five albums before 'Purple Rain.' Now, when an album drops, it had better fill the whole room with funk."

The band — drummer Conrad Real, bassist Brandon Storms and guitarist Nick Quiller — recorded the tracks with producer Ken Scott, who was an engineer for The Beatles' "Hard Days Night" and "The White Album."

"That was life-changing right there," Briscoe says. "He just had loads of information."

Briscoe says that performance — which he describes as the point where skill and showmanship meet — also is very important to the band.

"I'm trying to bring it back to where every person in the band is a performer," Briscoe says, who cites James Brown, Michael Jackson and Prince as influences for showmanship.

Down North will perform at 10 p.m. Friday, May 16, at Lounge South, 66 N. Pioneer St., Ashland. They will be joined by Reno, Nev., funk rock band Jelly Bread. The cover charge is $5.

While the band started seven years ago, it has been in its current incarnation for the past three years.

"The band originally started as seven suburban white guys who wanted to play funky music," Briscoe says. "I joined after their original singer left. All the people who were hobbyists left the group piece by piece until it was just me and Brandon."

Briscoe and Storms fleshed out the line-up with Quiller and Real through Craigslist ads and suggestions from other musician friends. Briscoe says that both musicians blew him away with their auditions, and the group clicked immediately.

"I'm one of the luckiest people in the world to have found the band that I have," Briscoe says.

Briscoe says that the goal of the band is to have great musicians playing popular music.

"We want to be thinking about, not just what makes a pop song, but what makes it sonically interesting," Briscoe says. "Most musicians hear the term pop music and run away from it."

Briscoe follows the Kanye West mentality about pop music, in that he absolutely wants his music to be popular.

"We want to change the way that music sounds so that other people's children aren't making whack music," Briscoe says. "You've gotta think about the kids."


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