Artist of the Week: Funk/Soul Rockers and Microsoft Word Mortal Enemies Kuumba Freeque

Each Wednesday, Rocks Off arbitrarily appoints one lucky local performer or group "Artist of the Week," bestowing upon them all the fame and grandeur such a lofty title implies. Know a band or artist that isn't awful? Email their particulars to introducingliston@gmail.com.

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Hi there. Welcome back to the most popular Houston-based weekly artist showcase on the planet. We sure hope you're in the mood to funk yo' soul til it rocks, because this go-round we've got funk-soul-rockers Kuumba Freeque on deck.

Despite what Microsoft Word would have you think - it red-squiggles the crap out of their name - KF is legit. They're two parts Erykah Badu (from Mama's Gun, mostly, when she was just the right amount of aggressive), two parts Lenny Kravitz (minus all of the song stealing, of course) and one part Nikka Costa (why are her eyes always so dirty-looking? It's really off-putting).

We tagged the duo for an interview to talk about their less than uncommon band origination, album trilogy and the (awful) idea of people plucking out their eyebrows and then drawing them back on.

Rocks Off: Your band is said to have formed "under less than common circumstances." Can you please explain what that means? And be forewarned, if this story does not involve something really outrageous (like a drunken fistfight with Lisa Bonet) you'll be dangerously close to "We Play Coy to Seem Mysterious" status, and nobody should want to be classified there.

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Kuumba Freeque: Well, I don't know how uncommon the circumstances are except to say that we didn't really know each other. We had met once or twice before, but it basically boils down to him hearing my voice from across the room and then saying, "Hey, you wanna be in a rock band?"

And because I didn't really know him or believe him, I said, "Sure, why not." And there you have it. However, I will say that uncommonly most of our writing or composing sessions involve an argument of some kind. It's really how we come up with some of the hottest stuff that we do.

RO: Talk a bit about the album. Break it down for those haven't had a chance to catch bits of it on KPFT.

KF: The EP that we just released is two chapter of a story we are trying to tell. ::THE BYRTH:: is about the age of innocence. When you are young, nothing phases you, you don't know to be scared of certain things, and you don't know [the] nasty meanings that some words have. Life is what it is and that's all.

::THE KRUCIFIXION:: is about the middle part of your life that deals with being uncertain. It's when you realize that there are double meanings in life, but you are not quite sure how to handle them. You start to doubt things that you hadn't before and the world becomes this big question mark and you have to find yourself a place in it.

The third chapter, ::THE RESSUREKSHUN::, which encompasses both of the first chapters, will also include that last part of this story which is the knowledge of how the world works. It's when you have decided that yes, you have made mistakes, but you are aware of them, you know what the consequences are and you can deal with it. The time in your life when you still don't know everything but you are a little more knowledgeable.

RO: You guys seem like you were built to headline the International Festival. Is that on the horizon?

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KF: "Headline"? That word reminds me of Sister Act. [laughs] Lets see, what's on the horizon? Well, the full album is due in January so we will be touring and promoting that. And we hope to actually go overseas and be able to tour that not too much further down the road there.

RO: Was that last question ignorant? It really feels like it could've been.

KF: [silence]

RO: Ooh, this is surely relevant: Why do some women draw their eyebrows on? We saw an otherwise attractive woman at Kroger's this weekend and, it's like the way we see it, God gave you those. It's the same as if God gave you a car and you were like, "Eh, no thanks." And then you threw it away and tried to build your own car. We mean, there's no way you're ever going to be able to build a better car than God. The new car you built is all crooked and weird-looking. And it makes you look like you probably had a baby when you were 17.

KF: You know, I have often wondered why women - and for that matter, men - shave off and then draw on eyebrows. Seems like that is extra work when you already had some. But hey, everyone has their own idea of what beauty is. What is beautiful to you and what is beautiful to me could be two completely different things. But it's all beautiful, man. Gotta love to embrace our differences man.

Listen to Kuumba Freeque at www.myspace.com/kuumbafreeque on follow them on Twitter at @kummbafreeque.

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