Artist Interview: The Humidors

The HumidorsBay Area-based band The Humidors combine a dance floor-ready mix of hard-hitting funk, soul, vintage R&B, jazz, and more. This eight-piece group includes Justin Abee (percussion), Ben Corrie (keyboards/organ), Patrick Cress (Baritone Sax), Andre Cruz (lead vocals), Mike Mulqueen (guitar/vocals), Eric Podolsky (bass/vocals), and Adam Willis (drums).

The Festival commissioned The Humidors to create a new song to premiere at the Festival when they open the show for Booker T. Jones. Read on to learn more about this funky group’s influences and creative process, and don’t miss the premiere of their new song, “All Night”, at the concert on August 12 at Stern Grove Festival.

How would you describe your music?

The Humidors play dance music, first and foremost. We try to keep things interesting by throwing in some twists and turns, and strive for a poly-rhythmic approach where all eight members of the band are cogs that each play their part in the greater groove machine. We draw from the long tradition of Bay Area funk, driven by horns, percussion, and an infectious syncopation.

How does living in the Bay Area shape or affect your music?

It can be challenging for musicians performing original music to succeed in the Bay Area music scene, as there’s just so much to compete with. Certainly it’s an incredible place to live that attracts the best entertainment, and while it creates a competitive environment, it also sets an extremely high bar for us. For us to bring fans out on a Saturday night in San Francisco, they have to know that we’re gonna bring it. And if we can get people into it and get everyone going on the dance floor here, then it’s guaranteed that we can do it anywhere else.

What can people expect for your performance at Stern Grove Festival?

We usually play long sets, so this performance will be a distilled version of The Humidors, in a nutshell. Nothin’ but the hits! We’ll mostly be performing songs from our latest album, Movin’ The Needle, which we’re very proud of. We hope the Stern Grove crowd will be ready to party Sunday afternoon, as we plan to bring the funk

Tell us a bit about your creative process.

We’re inspired by the funk and R&B groups of the 1970’s, who played with an effortless swagger and grease that’s much harder to find these days.

Songwriting in The Humidors is a pretty collaborative process. Sometimes a member will bring an idea to the band and we’ll digest it and add new parts to it until it’s a song. Other times we’ll take a jam we’ve been messing around with and build upon that until it’s great. And rarely a member will present a fully composed piece to the group, and we’ll just play it that way and add our own swagger to it.

We’ve got lots of song fragments and ideas on the back burner that we haven’t developed yet cause they’re just not up to snuff yet to our ears. We’re all huge music fans, and if something we play or write doesn’t turn us on, we don’t expect it to turn the audience on either. Finding the time to put into a tune to craft it and make it great can be hard to find, and the process is often slower than we’d like, but it ensures that everything we play is funky enough for us.

This gig is a dream come true for us, and we can’t wait to see everyone in Stern Grove picnic mode surrounded by eucalyptus, getting down in the sun!