The Rocks Off 100: Electric Attitude, Renegades of Funk
Who? Sitting at The Harp on Richmond with Jordan Bell, Kwesi Sackey and Blake Shepard, founding members of funk/soul group Electric Attitude, it's easy to understand why Electric is so eclectic. Of the three, Shepard is the more straightforward, serious one. Sackey, on the other hand, gives off a more personable, relaxed vibe, while Bell is all smiles. This difference in personalities translates to the band's music, which they say is a collaborative effort between all seven group members.
Photo courtesy of Electric Attitude
"When we write, we try to incorporate some of everyone," says Shepard.
Electric Attitude also incorporates various genres into the group's music, adding elements of jazz and disco to their funky sound.
In addition to Bell, Sackey and Shepard, Electric Attitude consists of Stephen Forse on trumpet, Matthew Hartnett on trombone, Michael Hatter on drums and James Murphy on saxophone and EWI (electronic wind instrument). The latter two have both been nominated for Houston Press Music Awards -- Hatter for Best Drummer in 2012; Murphy for Best Miscellaneous Instrument in 2011. The band is celebrating its third straight Best Soul/Funk/R&B HPMA nomination, and has won the category the past two years.
Home Base: Bell, Sackey and Shepard live in the Montrose area. Shepard grew up in the Heights, and Bell comes from the small town of Cleburne, south of Fort Worth. And Sackey has been lived all over, starting in D.C., where was he born, then Boston where he attended college, and more than a decade in Saudi Arabia. He moved to Houston in 2001. Forse, Hartnett and Murphy are all from Houston, while Hatter hails from Louisiana.
Why Do You Stay in Houston? "We've modeled our music after the vibe that we all get from the Houston environment," Blake said.
"The city is diverse; our band is diverse," he says.
"We identify with this city," adds Bell. "We sing a lot about going out into the night..."