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Three questions with keyboardist Will Rast

Antibalas keyboardist Will Rast

What creative things do you have going on right now?

The Funk Ark: My Washington, DC based band, The Funk Ark has just released a new album on Ropeadope records, entitled “Man Is A Monster,” (listen below) that we recorded in Richmond, VA in the spring. I think that it is the closest that we’ve come as a band to finding our own identity. The record features some of the best playing we’ve done, a

s well as some really fine guest appearances by drummer, John Speice (Grupo Fantasma, Brownout) and saxophonist Michael Kammers (MKGO, Man Man) and it was mixed beautifully by JD Foster, who’s collaborations with the likes of T-Bone Burnett, Calexico and Alejandro Escovedo I am a big fan of.

Over the last year, I’ve worked with Fred Cash of The Impressions and his management on several occasions. In November, I’ll be sitting in with The Impressions on a few dates. Recently, I’ve had a few opportunities to work with long-time Antibalas guitarist, Luke O’Malley, such as recording with EDM artist, GRiZ and backing hip hop star/culinary guru, Action Bronson. Can’t say enough good things about Luke. It’s always fun to work with him. New music for piano and group: I’m in the midst of getting a set of tunes together to perform on acoustic piano, something that I haven’t done in a while and I’m very excited about getting back to the instrument of my roots.

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2) What was your favorite Antibalas show/moment of the past few months?
My favorite Antibalas show in the last couple of months would have to be our set in tribute to John Lurie at Le Poisson Rouge in New York City last month. It was a magical experience getting the opportunity to play Lurie’s music and to interpret it with an Antibalas flavor. To have so many luminaries of the New York music scene present, including Lurie himself, was a real blast as well. At one point, out of the corner of my eye, I saw Billy Martin and his son listening intently from the side of the stage (probably checking out Miles.) A real trip.
3) What do you most worry about and what are you doing about it?
I worry that money is ruining music. The place of music in society is indelibly linked to something that is far more pure than a financial commodity. Music is connected to community. Listening to a lot of the popular music of today reminds me of the experience of going to Sea World or a petting zoo. You’re not actually experiencing those animals. You’re not actually experiencing music. You are being fed an experience that is designed to part you from your money. You’re listening to a commercial for anti-intellectual paradigms, designed to sell clothes, soda and cars. If you want to interact with an orca, get in the damn water! Unfortunately, most people aren’t interested enough to put forth the effort to find music in its natural habitat; the communities that nurture their artists and lift up their efforts. To participate in the effort to help local music and venues thrive, my band in DC partners frequently with groups like Listen Local and DC Funk Parade to promote local talent on the DC scene and create a community of music lovers and musicians that can support itself and showcase other independent acts that come through town.

LISTEN TO THE NEW ALBUM “Man is a Monster” by the Funk Ark

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