Lansing JazzFest Artist Feature: The Macpodz
The 18th annual Lansing JazzFest will be held in Old Town this weekend, August 3rd-4th.
A two-day free festival, JazzFest brings the best artists locally and nationally to Old Town, giving the community an opportunity to experience all types of jazz music.
Ready to burn the midnight oil in Old Town, Ann Arbor's The Macpodz will no doubt bring their original flavor to the evening of jazz music. Self-described as disco bebop, salsa rave, alien exhaust jazz, The Macpodz are looking to bring energy to the late set at Lansing JazzFest this Friday, 10:30PM-12:30AM.
The guitar-less five-piece band is comprised of trumpet, bass, percussion/flute, keys, and drums to create a groovy, swinging modern sound with nods to Frank Zappa and Miles Davis.
We spoke with Brennan Andes, founding member of The Macpodz on the bass and vox, about the band's unique blend of sound, how they got the ball rolling on a new funky movement in Ann Arbor, and what fans can expect from them at Lansing JazzFest.
STEFANIE POHL: When it comes to JazzFest, people might have idea of the type of jazz music they'll be listening to. What can the fans expect from a band as different at The Macpodz?
BRENNAN ANDES: It's a new twist on an old tradition kind of thing. We're all fans of jazz and I've listened to jazz my whole life. So for people who don't like jazz, we want them to like what's happening in front of them still. Make it so kids can dance, and then hardcore serious music fans can enjoy the musicianship and credibility [of what we do]. I know that jazz is a very serious art form, and it's not that we don't take is seriously, but in the last six years we've made our own go at it by playing that jazz/rock fusion.
SP: Who would you say have been influences on you personally as well as the band as a whole?
BA: For me personally, in regards to this band, I was always a fan of Jimi Hendrix and Miles Davis - kind of electric-sounding music. I've loved Miles Davis ever since I was a kid, and once I got into the 70s period of Miles I went 'wait, this is totally different from the stuff I'd ever heard before.' The band itself really likes Los Lobos - we've been listening to a lot of [them] lately. We have a very broad musical spectrum - we've got The Music Man on cassette tape, and we listen to these strange merry melodies of the 50s and 60s. Nick, our singer, really loves Jamiroquai.
SP: How did everyone in the band come together to form The Macpodz?
BA: I formed the band originally in 2003, under the name Duncan and the Macpodz, and Ross our trumpet player was the only original member of that group that still remains. We took a few years off to revamp the idea, go to college, figure ourselves out and whatnot. I met all of the musicians independently of each other. We've all met each other through musical experiences. I was asked to play a show at the Elk's Co-Op in Ann Arbor and I asked these core musicians to do it with me, and we played for four or five hours straight. We played until about five in the morning, and people were falling asleep on the couch. And we thought wow, we've really got something going here. We got a gig at the Blind Pig and from there we got a manager, and it started snowballing. At the time there wasn't a lot of funk music in Ann Arbor, so everyone was excited to hear a new sound that wasn't in the emo, hipster sound. Now there's a huge funk scene.
SP: Where did the name The Macpodz come from?
BA: Originally it was Duncan and The Macpodz. In another band, they always called me B-Mac as my nickname, so I always had that going on with my name. When I was at a party in Ann Arbor, I thought I wanted to form my own band. I've always been into killer whales, so I think that's where the pods came from. We have a killer whale theme going on with our band, if you look at our history of CDs and t-shirts - there's always killer whales in the art. Our first CD was a killer whale on the cover of a Wheaties box in the middle of the desert. So the guys got together and said they liked the name but we shouldn't call it Duncan and the Macpodz, we all want to have our equal share. So, being the selfless guy that I am, I said no problem guys. I love you guys. Let's do that.
The Macpodz will be appearing at Lansing JazzFest on the Jackson National Stage from 10:30PM-12:30AM in Old Town, Lansing.
Check out their playful video for "The Truth":