Music

Behind the Beat: Valley Quartet Funks It Up

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Thursday, June 09, 2011
Photo Courtesy of Who'da Funk It?
Who'da Funk It?

"At our first practice we got in a huge fight and decided it was a mistake to have even attempted to start a band," says Who'da Funk It? guitarist and singer Bess Hepner.

"Now here we are two years later, still somehow playing together. What I think is really unique about our band is we're all best friends. We spend all our time together, going to shows, jamming, sitting around."

Hepner met her future bandmates—keyboardist and singer Deja Carr, bassist and singer Nina Kent and drummer and singer Emma Sevene—at the Institute for the Musical Arts, an "all-women's rock and roll institute" and recording studio in Goshen.

"We were between the ages of 12 and 15 when we met," Hepner says. "After the camp we realized, 'Hey, we all live near each other, why not start a band?' So we did."

The group's high-energy brand of rock is admittedly difficult to categorize as it draws liberally on a number of disparate musical strains.

"It's always a challenge to define our sound," explains Carr. "We try to mix different genres as much as possible. Some people may hear funk or ska when we play, while others have told us we sound more jazzy and rock-y. The weirdest comment we've gotten on our sound was someone told us we sound like country klezmer."

Carr says the songwriting process is different for every song. Sometimes a member will come in to rehearsal with a riff or tune and the four will start jamming on it; other songs arrive more fully formed.

"Sometimes it takes us an hour to write a song. Sometimes it takes a month," adds Hepner.

The band spends a majority of its time listening to local music and attending area shows, so it's no surprise to hear the four reel off names like The Feel, Bella's Bartok, The Alchemystics and Rubblebucket as major influences.

Who'da Funk It? is currently recording an album, Man Up, at Amherst's Northfire Studios, with an eye toward a September release date. After taking time out to write new material, the quartet has five shows lined up for June, including its third appearance at Northampton's Iron Horse Music Hall on June 30.

For songs, shows and more information, visit www.facebook.com/whodafunkit.

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