By Catherine Van Weele
On April 23, 2017, Novato High band Funkschway released their first EP called Battery. It consists of three groovy songs: “Battery,” “Air Conditioning,” and “Grateful Christina.” The EP is now available on major streaming sites including iTunes and Spotify.
Funkschway is made up of guitarist Eli Torgersen, drummer Cole Bailey, bass player Ben Comnick, pianist Ryan Kennedy, and vocalist Sara Lofrano.
Funkschway is a neo-soul, funk band that originated from the MSA rock band program. Funkschway gathers inspiration from hip-hop and old soul artists such as Stevie Wonder, Hiatus Kaiyote, and Erykah Badu. Their music is laid back and has plenty of jazz influence.
“We mesh classic music with our own modern twist,” Bailey describes.
Funkschway recorded Battery at a professional recording studio in San Anselmo called Allegiant Studios. They spent a few hours one day over Ski Week recording several songs they had already prepared. The songs are soft and relaxing yet also upbeat. The EP also got mastered, which unifies the album by balancing sonic elements and enhances the quality. The end result was a polished and professional sound.
Producer and sound technician David Simon-Baker provided Funkschway with some guidance as they recorded Battery.
“Everyone in the band is very talented,” Simon-Baker praises. “They seem to have good social maneuvering skills so I'm hoping that bodes for the band to spend some time maturing together and recording more in the future.”
The art for the album cover, an image of a goose, was created by Trent Helton, a sophomore in the MSA drawing and painting class.
“The music is hippity hoppin’ and quite funky to be honest,” Helton commented.
In order to perfect their music, the creative process for Funkschway can be lengthy. They build off of one individual's idea and write their own parts to fit into the song.
“It takes us a while. Some of the other bands have a song by the end of the period. But for us, it takes us three weeks to get a song performance ready and to write it,” Torgerson explained.
“We nurture it,” added Lofrano.
Funkschway has headlined at Hopmonk in Novato and opened for a local funk band, the Monophonics, at Sweetwater Music Hall in Mill Valley. They will also be playing at the Backyard Coffee Company in Redwood City tomorrow night and at the Fairfax Festival on June 10th.
Lofrano and Bailey will be graduating from Novato High this June but are going to remain local and continue playing in the band. While Funkschway is going to take a break over the summer, the band plans to reconvene in the fall. They hope to record a full-length album in the near future.