Xpress is speaking with artists and performers in advance of the upcoming autumn LEAF festival, a weekend dedicated to art and music.
The Space Cowboys and Cosmic Girls, a local dance-funk-pop-fusion band, perform the music of the London-based acid jazz band, Jamoriquai. Keith Harry and Matt McCue spoke about their 10-piece lineup, which hopes to spark a dance frenzy from the crowd on Friday in Eden Hall, 5:30-6:45 p.m.
LEAF takes takes place Thursday, Oct. 20, through Sunday, Oct. 23. Tickets are available through Oct. 20, unless they sell out sooner.
Xpress: Have any members of the band grown up here? How has this environment been conducive to your creative/musical development?
Keith Harry and Matt McCue: We have all drifted in from all over the map. Western North Carolina is a magical place full of natural beauty and amazing people. How can you not be inspired? Music is a part of all of us in this band, and Asheville is a place that not only welcomes that spirit but nurtures and feeds it. The community of musicians and fans are so supportive of each other and really strive to make the music scene unique and vibrant.
What in particular is it about Jamiroquai that has held your attention?
When the video for “Virtual Insanity” first aired on MTV in the ’90s, nobody knew what had just hit them. All of a sudden there was this whole new thing: equal parts soul, funk, jazz and pop with an undeniable swagger and relentless groove. The material has always had a playfulness to it that won’t ever be out of style. When people find out that we play these tunes, they light right up. It’s like it brings back something that they forgot that they loved, like finding your favorite CD that you thought you had lost years ago. The music is accessible to anybody as long as you like to dance!
How does having a larger-sized band effect your stage presence and ability to tour?
It’s a blast to be onstage with such a big band (but really hard for us to all fit in one vehicle). It’s such a great feeling to look around the stage and see everyone moving, smiling and so into the whole happening. We all get along really well and enjoy playing with each other, so, in a way, its sort of effortless. We’re all up there having loads of fun and we think that’s what really helps to connect to the audience. Ten people giving a 1,000 percent, and that’s where the magic happens.
What kind of performance can we expect at this year’s LEAF festival?
We’re superexcited and ready to bring it! Expect wild costumes and a ton of dancing. This boogie’s gonna go ’til they pull the plug on us.