Ms. Mojo rising

MojoFlo heats up Peach’s

by Matt Clevenger

Photo: MojoFlo’s Amber Knicole swings into Peach’s with her ‘good-time funk’ sound Oct. 14; photo: Alan Nimblette, Heartbreak Photography

It’s good to be MojoFlo right now. Named “Best Local Band” by both Columbus Monthly and (614) Columbus in 2016, the seven-member, Columbus-based neo-funk group also has regular gigs at Mardi Gras and as the house band for a popular live comedy show, Not So Late Show with Johnny DiLoretto. The band is currently planning a special show this December at Newport Music Hall and preparing to record their first full-length album.

Featuring George Barrie on guitar and vocals, Walter Kolhouss on saxophone, Adam Bidwell on trumpet, bassist Will Strickler, drummer Nate Parker, and Robert Mason on keys, MojoFlo is fronted by the one-and-only Amber Knicole, a captivating, high-energy performer well-known for both jazzy, soul-inspired vocals and gravity-defying choreography.

The band is scheduled to take a break from recording this weekend, for an appearance at Peach’s in Yellow Springs Friday, Oct. 14. Knicole spoke to the Dayton City Paper recently, offering a glimpse of what it’s like to be in one of Columbus’s best local bands.

MojoFlo was recently named Best Local Band by both Columbus Monthly and (614) Columbus magazine. What has that been like for the group?

AK: It’s been awesome. We’ve been around here in Columbus since 2008, and we’ve been playing a lot. We just got voted for this time—it was really cool. We’ve made it onto the countdown a few times, and we were named best local band by “Columbus Underground” in 2012 and 2014. We just kept on playing and kept on working, and we got recognized.

You’re also the house band for a live comedy show. How has that
been going?

AK: We’re not broadcast yet: that’s the next step. It’s the Not So Late Show with Johnny DiLoretto. That takes place the last Thursday of every month here in Columbus; it’s at the Shadowbox, which is also called the Shadowbox Backstage Bistro. We’ve got comedy, and we’re the house band. Every month we have different guests from Columbus that are notable or just really interesting people. I’ve learned a lot, just being there, and it’s been really fun. We’ve had about six shows so far; we’re going to continue working on that and you will be seeing more of it. It’s been so much fun.

How did MojoFlo first get together?

AK: MojoFlo got together back in late 2007 or early 2008. Our guitar player and our saxophone player had been jamming together, and the band that formed got a gig. They decided they needed a singer, so I was recruited very early on and my first gig with MojoFlo was in April of 2008. We released some songs very soon after that, and we’ve just been going ever since. Pretty organic beginnings, really, and it just caught me by complete surprise, so it was really beautiful.

Had you performed with bands before that?

AK: I’d never been in a band. I actually come from an extensive choral and musical theatre background, so that was what I was used to, and that was my world. I did a lot of choir singing throughout my life; that’s actually where I started singing was in church through choir. I’ve been singing in choir since I was four, and I’ve been doing musical theatre since I was a freshman in high school. Those were really my two musical focuses, and a band wasn’t really on my radar until MojoFlo. It’s awesome–I’ve been hooked since the beginning, and here I am, eight years later.

How would you describe MojoFlo’s sound?

AK: We call it neo-funk, and that’s because it’s got the familiarity of funk, but there’s also some soul, there’s a little rock and roll in it. There’s a little classic funk, with new funk. We have a lot of different backgrounds, and we all come from different places musically.

It’s really just feel-good funk music. It’s dance music; after leaving one of our shows, you’re going to feel better than when you came in. You’re going to leave better than you were. It’s definitely good-time funk music.

How many albums has MojoFlo released so far? 

AK: We have three EPs out. We’re working on our first full-length album, and that will be out in October 2017. We don’t have a title yet. We’re trying to come up with a name, but we have a concept so we’re very excited to be working on that. We don’t have a working title, but actually you caught me on a day we’re going to be doing some writing on that. So, maybe we’ll come up with a name for it today, I’m not sure. But we do have a working concept.

Have you ever played in Yellow Springs before?

AK: We have not. This will be our first time at Peach’s, so we’re very excited. We’ve played at the Trolley Stop a few times. We’re excited to be playing Peach’s, and we really can’t wait to be in Yellow Springs. I used to live in Dayton for a few years, so I’ve been to Yellow Springs a few times.

What are MojoFlo’s plans for the fall and winter?

AK: For fall, we’re bedding down a little bit because we’re writing, and winter will be a little more of the same. We’ll do some traveling south for the winter. Every year, we’re at Mardi Gras, so we’ll make a trip to New Orleans for that in February. We’ll be around; we have a very big show coming up in December… where we will be debuting some new MojoFlo music and a new MojoFlo show completely. It will be on Dec. 2 at the Newport Music Hall. So, that’s what we’re doing this fall and winter, and then next summer, we’ll be hitting full-swing on touring in support of the full-length album.

MojoFlo performs Friday, Oct. 14 at Peach’s, 104 Xenia Ave. in Yellow Springs. There is no cover charge. For more information, please visit MojoFloMusic.com or Facebook.com/MojoFloMusic.

 

Reach DCP freelance writer Matt Clevenger at MattClevenger@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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Reach DCP freelance writer Matt Clevenger at MattClevenger@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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