Go funk yourself! 

Krunk Town Boogie blends DIY flavor and funk at Oregon Express

Krunk Town Boogie blends DIY flavor and funk at Oregon Express Photo: By Scott Malan

By Scott Malan

Dayton, Ohio has bred some of the most valuable funk acts in the genre’s history. Groups like Ohio Players, Zapp (and its offspring, Zapp Band or Zapp & Roger), and Slave paved the way for slap bass and wah-wah guitar pedal aficionados all over the country. The legacy continues today, from contemporary electronic music to mainstream rock. One such band making waves in the Dayton music scene is up-and-comer Krunk Town Boogie, whose eclectic rock, jam, reggae, and blues influences retain those funky fresh vibes that make Dayton a staple in the genre.

Formed out of the ashes of Scott Lee and the Whiskey River Boys, KTB comprises five stunning musicians who hail from different cities in the greater Dayton area. Four members of that outfit decided it was time to embrace a new sound, rather than the folk and country music that was indicative of their former band.

“I would say the whole project was formed based off of the fact that everyone was doing … strictly folk music for so long,” says drummer Mat Morick. “…We felt like we could do a lot more, so it was kind of like an explosion of ideas after we got out of the Whiskey River Boys because there was room to do what we wanted.”

Morick holds the group together with his precise drumming. Always in the pocket while pulling off astounding fills, he can consistently perform under any circumstance.

Bronson Coates fronts the group, playing rhythm guitar and lending his soulful voice to vocal duties.

Ethan Miller is possibly one of the greatest lead guitar players in the Dayton area. It’s a large claim to make, but he can tackle any style or genre while making it seem effortless. His blues-tinged solos easily bring to mind the likes of Jimmy Page or Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Taylor Long fleshes out the melodies with his amazing, free-flowing keyboard progressions and backing vocals (sometimes taking over the spotlight with lead parts, like on “Live Together as One”).

“Taylor’s pretty much good at anything he touches,” says Morick. “He writes a lot of the songs, so if I’m being 100 percent honest that has a lot to do with our songwriting.”

Michael Mitchell, the bass player (and the only member of the band who didn’t play with Scott Lee and the Whiskey River Boys), provides the crucial funk-rock rhythm constructing the backbone of the band.

“As far as I’m concerned, I’m still getting my feet wet, but as a bass guitarist I try to come up with the most abstract, or funky, bass riffs as I can,” says Mitchell.

While each member has their particular role, it’s important to note that most of the players can easily switch between instruments on the fly.

“Bronson’s a really good drummer too,” says Morick. “I can play guitar, and Ethan can play anything with strings on it… Taylor can really pick up any instrument he wants to.” Their multi-talented abilities allow them to improvise on stage, if given the chance.

Part of what makes KTB so interesting is their production process. They use an in-house studio by the name of Conestoga Studios.

Since its formation, Conestoga has served as a practice spot for many artists. It also provides an affordable, beginning option for musicians looking to record, mix, and master their work. KTB uses the studio every week to practice, write, record, and brainstorm ideas for concerts and music videos.

Morick says having Conestoga as a home base to write and record their first full-length record made the process “way easier.”

“You don’t really have anybody telling you what to do, and you’re not paying hourly for studio time, so it’s been nice to just sit back and take our time and make a quality product, rather than try to bust something out ’cause we were spending, like, a hundred dollars or more per hour in [other] studios.”

Their first LP (the self-titled Krunk Town Boogie) is a testament to KTB’s hard work, eclectic state of mind, and unwavering drive to deliver amazing live performances. The album is a swaggering, multi-faceted, infectious series of tracks that are guaranteed to keep you on your boogie, even at its most somber moments. Morick feels positive about the feedback the album has received.

“I’d say we’ve gotten a lot of love for it, for sure. Especially since we did it ourselves.”

Mitchell concurs. “I think that’s probably the biggest thing that we’re proud of is that we represent ourselves, not the fact that we’re representations of someone else’s, you know, influence or portrayal of us.”

Many people ask about the band name, and few are given a straightforward answer as to how it was created. It doesn’t really matter; it’s a definitive description of what Dayton does best: making people shake their “groove thang.”

Krunk Town Boogie plays at The Oregon Express, 336 E. Fifth St. in Dayton on Friday, Oct. 27 at 10 p.m. The Vibe and Luv Locz are also performing. A $5 cover charge will be given at the door. For more information, please visit OregonExpressDayton.com.

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