The New Funky
How an unknown Dutch band got to work with their heroes
Love the System just released their last single before dropping their debut album, and that’s all the reason we needed to check in with the band. We’re talking with Adam (producer & bass).
You guys were blasting onto the scene, and then two years ago, things went silent. What happened? Two things: We had some amazing good fortune playing on amazing stages all throughout the Netherlands, after we sold out Paradiso for our debut gig, but, to be honest, having an 11 piece band with no radio airplay can be tough. Very much so if you’re just starting out.
But we also had a bit of luck when I reached out to Cory Wong, from Vulpeck, and he liked our early material, and eventually played on a track called 'Nice Life' and that sort of gave us the drive and also priority that we had to to focus on writing and recording the best album we could possibly make. And after Cory, have the guts to ask other amazing musicians to join us in making that album. And put all our time and love in that.
And in the end it took, well, 2 years to make!
We just heard all the tracks on ‘Nice Life’, and got hit in the face with some of the happiest and quirkiest funk we’ve heard the past 20 years. What should we call your style and what should we compare it to? I think Tom and I both really wanted to make a funk album that never just… ‘grooves’ but we wanted something where the music and the lyrics are always interesting. Every bar of music must mean something. Must grab you! Make you smile, or flip out because musically something awesome is happening! I hope we achieved that… I don’t think you can compare it, but it has bits of Funkadelic, Prince, Kid Creole, Earth Wind & Fire, Rick James, late 70’s hip hop, early New Wave Disco I guess, combined with a punk DIY attitude... I think it’s pretty unique…
Even more impressive were the featurings on there. Could you name some?
Kid Creole, someone we, to be honest, based a lot of our initial look and feel from: to have him feature and co write a track with us was beyond cool!
On the same track we got Mark Lettieri to play some baritone guitar; pretty amazing.
I am hip hop head as well, and to have Grand Puba, one of the smoothest flows in rap, from legendary Brand Nubian's crew, doing an old school party verse over a track I made? That kind of stuff makes me so proud and happy.
We’ve also got an old friend of mine Benjamin Herman, to do a solo and that guy is just the best.
We also have some not well known but equally amazing people on there like Jake Sherman, who was in Bilals’ band and recently jammed quite a bit with Jacob Collier. And another old band mate of mine moved to America 10 years back to become Lady Gaga’s DJ as well as record and write for Bootsy Collins, so he’s on there as well.
St. Paul Peterson, who I’ve known for a while, and has been my absolute bass hero for yonks, also helped out and lifted the track to where it had to be; he’s played with Prince and was in the Family and comes from an amazing family of musicians. Just the highest level of musicianship and a true gentleman!
Everyone really was just so… nice! Exceptionally nice!
How did you guys convinced them to play on your record? No offense, but no one outside of the Netherlands ever heard of Love the System.
No offence taken! No one inside of the Netherlands has really heard about us either. Ha!
I think it’s got to do with perseverance, luck, and having a good tune that connects and people want to be a part of. And they seemed very much to enjoy the humor and musicianship as well.
In the end; funk is it’s own reward!
Can you tell us a little bit about working with these people?
I loved working with Benjamin: came in on his bike. His dad and my mother went to the same synagogue in London 60 years ago.. and he just played like 8 solo’s, all about 4 minutes long.. and I think I chose take 6... but he was like: yeah! Let’s do another one I love this track! haha! He’s just the best!
Cory was also amazing, he gave us quite some extra parts that I didn't ask for but ended up using here and there. And he even invited me to jam with him when he played in Bird, Rotterdam last year, with his band. He let me do a 10 minute keys solo and I just had so much fun! Then it hit me I was playing for mainly conservatory students, which should have made me nervous as hell, as I actually don’t have a clue what I’m doing…. but they all came by after the gig to tell me they loved my playing so I couldn't be happier for someone like Cory to let me share that stage? Mind Blowing, when I think back! Hope to do it again though!! Soon! Cory?
Who recorded the album?
I recorded the album practically all alone in my studio Split Second Sound, in Amsterdam. We had some mixing help from the great Joost de Glopper on 'Nice Life'. He also did our 2018 EP. Other than that.. just me. I played most of the instruments, arranged the horns, and just, layer by layer with Tom the songs grew and grew. Tom really pulls the best out of me when it comes to making it exiting and different than any other record, funk or not, than I can think of…
Mixing it was quite a task, with some songs having over 200 tracks, but I’m really happy with how it turned out. Really proud of what we achieved… even if it took 2 years!
What are your plans for 2021?
Go on a holiday. Ring a rang a dong for a holiday!!! Please. A Holiday.
'Bottom' is Love the System's last single before releasing their debut album 'Nice Life'.