Toronto-based musicians God Made Me Funky hit up Calgary's downtown core for what is sure to be an epic performance and an opportunity for people to show off their dance moves.
GMMF is the leading name in the Nu-Funktonia Revolution, a self-announced state of loving life and having fun.
"[It's] all about the party and people having fun, with lots of people on stage, they're [the crowd] dancing, we're dancing, people are generally having a good time," explains drummer Alan Witz.
GMMF formed in 1996 and have become prominent in the Toronto music scene. The band won best R&B Band at the Toronto Independent Music Awards in 2005, were nominated for Favourite Urban Artist/Group/Duo of the Year at the Canadian Independent Music Awards in 2007 and for R&B Soul Recording of the Year at the 2008 Juno Awards.
"Basically we take the best elements of funk, and funk from the '70s was all about the party right, so it was R&B but it wasn't that sort of smooth neo-soul R&B, explains Witz on the definition behind Nu-Funktonia. It was all about a lot of people on stage, a lot of sounds and a party. We then brought it into the 21st century, so we have rappers, and the sound is less classic funk, it's kind of R&B/funk. I like to say that we are a funk band that plays with the attitude of a rock band."
GMMF attributes their unique sound to a diverse array of musical influences, including Stevie Wonder, James Brown, Marvin Gaye, Sly and the Family Stone, Michael Jackson, Jamiroquai, the Roots, Afrika Bambatta and D'Angelo. There are copious backgrounds alive in this fresh new gumbo of diverse genres.
"Quite a few of the guys in the band went to school for music, we've got some jazz backgrounds, and then there's guys like me who've got a bit more of a rock background and then of course there's a rapper, he's got more of a rapping/hip hop background, the stuff that he grew up on," says Witz.
Because the stew is so big, many of the artists end up not worrying about the labels that can strike bands.
"What makes Canada great is that we are not close minded like that," explains Witz. "We have people [with] all sorts of collaborations of musical genres who come together and create something new. No idea is off limits. What makes Nu-Funk new is that it's a combination of all these different things."
Canadian Idol winner Melissa O'Neil has recently joined the crew, complementing the band's funky sounds with her phenomenal vocals. Coming from the teen pop generated Canadian Idol, there is always fear of having to deal with a young diva. This, however, is not the case with O'Neil says Witz.
"She likes to have fun and she understands that it's about the show," he says. "She's completely stepped in without missing a beat as if she'd been there all along".
GMMF's new album, Welcome to Nu-Funktonia, features strong beats, retro raps, wamping bass lines, distorted guitars and powerful vocals, making the record a must buy for Nu-Funktonians across the globe.
"Some of the stuff on the new album is almost like electronica, some of the stuff is like pure old school house, and there is a track on there that basically sounds live," says Witz. "There should be no specific genres, everything comes together in a party, and that's what Nu-Funk is and that's what the new album is."
As far as the type of performance we can expect to get from GMMF on February 18 at Dickens Pub downtown "get ready to be sweaty" says Witz.
"It's about the energy and the party. I'd say everyone who comes out bring some comfortable shoes. You might even want to bring a towel and get ready to have a good time."