Like their title suggests, the sound of Queer as Funk is in the tradition of classic Motown, soul, and funk; a sound belted out by vocalists in sequined outfits and equally bright horn sections. Their material stems from artists both classic and contemporary, from Aretha Franklin and Otis Redding to Amy Winehouse and Cee Lo Green. So far, every gig hosted by the 10-piece band has sold out (organizers expect the Victoria show to be extremely well-attended), creating all the more anticipation when they arrive here this week to play their first show in our city on Sept. 6. The Martlet caught up with backup vocalist and founding member Jocelyn Macdougall for an email Q&A on the band and what they expect of the performance.
How long have you all been playing together as a band and what lead to its inception?
“A bunch of us were performing together in Vancouver’s first (and only) all-butch choir, Leadfoot, and we realized we wanted to take things further as we had a great group of instrumentalists and one killer vocalist. We all love the vibe of old school soul, funk, and R&B, so we started working on some covers and filled out the band. Queer As Funk officially began with eight members (trumpet, trombone, sax, drums, guitar, bass, keys and vocals) in early 2013, with our first gig at the Vancouver Dyke March that year. Since then, we’ve added two additional members (congas and back up vocals).”
When performing, is there a goal beyond just creating a soulful and robust vibe?
“The more we play our tunes, the deeper we fall in love with the amazing musicians, past and present, who have created this kick-ass music that makes you want to feel all the feelings, but most of all, just dance your face off. If we have any goal, it’s to share the pure joy that we all feel playing this great music together, with every single audience member who blesses us with their presence.”
It says in the band’s bio that you carry a repertoire of beloved funk, soul, and motown pieces both classic and contemporary. Are there aspirations to produce original material in the style?
“This is definitely something we’ve talked about, but we have such a vast selection of incredible tunes to choose from, and so many we still want to do. I think original material might be a ways down the road yet, but it will be coming.”
Should people come to the event with a dress code in mind?
“Dress to dance! We of course would never discourage anyone from showing us their dapper side. Vests and ties and dresses and heels are always encouraged. But the truth is you won’t be able to stop yourself from dancin’ the night away, so dress for that!”
Queer as Funk will be playing the James Bay Athletic Association Club House this Saturday, Sept. 6 with special guest DJ Slade. The event is in collaboration with Child Haven, a Canadian non-profit which assists children and women in developing countries.
Tickets are $20 in advance and $28 at door. Limited sliding scale admission is available (call Jenny at 250-721-1579 for details). The event is not wheelchair accessible.
Follow Queer as Funk on Twitter @Queer_As_Funk.