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King Sunshine Returns


King Sunshine

Sunday, Aug 21

Forget about the lone electronic musician with nothing more than a laptop and some fancy software, or the dueling synthesizer acts, King Sunshine is the real deal, spurting out electro-disco grooves as a full nine-piece band. Those soulful diva vamps actually emerge from the throat of a real life diva, singer Miss Maya, and those funky, deep bass lines come from the fingers of live bassist Marc Shapiro. Formed in Toronto in 1998, the band was originally conceived as a five piece but quickly went all out, morphing into the nine-piece disco outfit it is today. This is music created for the dance floor, be it the grassy ground of festivals around the world, the glossy wood of a hot nightclub, or the cement floor of underground warehouses like Buffalo’s now defunct Plant, which the band rocked to the ground in the early 2000s. “DJ culture and the dance floor has always been an influence over the band’s sound and musical direction,” said bassist and band leader Marc Shapiro. The Canadian band’s music is just as flexible as any DJ, bouncing from straight brassy disco on tracks like “Unity” and “At the Party” from their 2006 album Second Movement to deep bossa-house on “Sounds of June” off of their 2003 self-titled album, and repetitive techno on their Theo Parrish collaborations; “Mess I Made” and “Ascension.” King Sunshine will perform at Nietzsche’s this Sunday (Aug 21) with support from post-rockers Lazlo Hollyfeld, who make their return after a brief hiatus.

Interview with bassist Marc Shapiro of King Sunshine

Artvoice: How does DJ culture influence your sound?

Marc Shapiro: We were born out of a desire to bring quality dance floor music to the stage and to our musical development, plus we were in the clubs dancing and had a huge connection to club culture. Once the dance floor bites your ass and the synergy of an incredible party wraps itself into your bloodline it just seemed like the right thing to do. Playing live dance floor music just feels great.

AV: Can you tell me about some of your prior appearances in Buffalo? You guys have played here a couple of times in front of some great crowds from clubs to warehouses. How is the energy/scene differ from club to warehouse?

MS: Playing in Buffalo has always been a favorite stop for us—we were fortunate in the early days to team up with great promoters who were doing really cool things—we were completely taken by the events, the crowds and the environments of these parties. An early party was at this place called the Plant—it was off the hook. These parties have always had an insane amount of energy—doing parties with MNM has been nothing short of amazing as well—these guys have always put together top notch events and have given King Sunshine the opportunity to play in great venues with hot crowds. It seems to me that Buffalo knows how to come together in the name of having a good time.

AV: You have some tracks on your website with Theo Parrish. Are they remixes or collaborations? How did those come about?

MS: We have worked with Theo for years and have a high respect for him personally and as an artist. We have worked with him a number of times in Toronto bringing him down from Detroit to perform at our parties and through that relationship we had the opportunity to do some recordings with him. He released a few tracks we did together under “The Rotating Assembly”— pretty underground stuff. That was a real experience.

AV: With lots of disco/house/electronic acts coming out as solo performers or duos, how does having nine people on stage compare?

MS: Working with nine muscians can be quite exhilarating, it has massive high points as well as it’s challenges. When things are cookin it’s an unreal experience. To get down with that many musicians who are also friends and to connect on our music and the dancefloor is incomparable—not better nor worse it’s just hard to compare. It takes a lot of work to keep nine rollin, but we have always managed! It might sound cliché but you gotta love doing it.

AV: Where does King Sunshine go from here?

MS: New York City on Saturday night Buffalo Sunday, then Back to Toronto. We will be getting in the studio early fall to work on a new release.

—cory perla