Swarthmore funk-pop combo Funk the Patriarchy brought its soulful, groovy style to Battle of the Bands last weekend. The eight member band is composed of Sam Wallach Hanson ’18 on tenor saxophone, Christine Emery ’16 on trumpet, Seth Stancroff ’19 on drums, James Wallace-Lee ’17 on keyboard, Andrew Gilchrist-Scott ’16 on bass, Asher Wolf ’18 on guitar, and John Lim ’16 and Kyle Leigh Carney ’16 on the vocals. The ensemble is noted for its focus on groove and cohesion.
“We formed officially last year, really just for a gig,” said Wallach Hanson.
The band, which grew out of a smaller jazz combo Wallach Hanson played in at the time, initially came together for a one-time show at Delta Upsilon. At the time, Funk the Patriarchy was known as “People’s Republic of Funk.” The band’s lineup had yet to reach its current incarnation, but the show was a resounding success, and they brought in Lim and Leigh Carney as vocalists.
“I think a lot of bands form just because it’s people who are friends with each other, but this one came more from musicians who knew each other as musicians,” said Wallach Hanson. He pointed out that some members were asked to join because of their standout performances in a cappella ensembles, while others were known through the school’s jazz band.
“It’s a pretty big group, but I think it’s good to have a group that size. You can make a big sound,” said Wallach Hanson.
As of now, Funk the Patriarchy is exclusively a cover band, but they focus on creating their own unique interpretations of songs rather than solely playing them like the originals.
“We’ll run through a song and see if we can get a good groove for it, because if you can make a groove for a song sound good, you can make the song sound good,” said Wallach Hanson.
According to Wallach Hanson, the band focuses mainly on finding songs with a good “groove” to them, regardless of genre or style.
“We play a lot of music, and I don’t think we’re super picky about the things that we play. Like, if we think it sounds pretty good, we’ll play that for a gig at some point,” said Wallach Hanson.
Funk the Patriarchy cite the Jackson 5 and Stevie Wonder as influences and will frequently play their tunes in concert. However, the band will also play interpretations of more modern artists, such as Beyoncé and Justin Bieber.
“We play a lot of Beyonce. I think she’s sort of the best example of a modern incarnation of this type of music,” said Wallach Hanson.
Funk the Patriarchy’s syncopated stylings are a stellar example of a fusion of a variety of musical styles. But at the end of the day, The group’s cohesiveness is its main asset.
“When you’re confident in the groove and confident in the music, it allows you to take this thing that you’re used to playing in sort of a similar way and embellish it and add more emotion to it,” said Wallach Hanson.