Definitely not their first rodeo when it comes to Mardi Gras, Galactic is breaking new ground as they tour and promote their latest studio album, Carnival Electricos, their first exclusively themed Mardi-Gras album after almost twenty years in the Big Easy. You have to wonder how they resisted so long. To get a low-down on what this storied group of funkmasters are up to, Where Y'at caught up with drummer and Metaire native, Stanton Moore.
WYAT: After 18 years on the scene with a consistent line up, how do you guys keep things fresh and new?
Stanton Moore: Well, for one thing, we have a lot of special guests who come in. Right now we have Maggie Koerner singing with us, and we've had others in the past such as Corey Glover, Cyril Neville, and The House Man. Having our own studio to experiment in and that rotating cast of characters tends to keep it fresh.
WYAT: So what would you say is the most important lesson you've learned over the years about being in a band?
Moore: I've learned to fall in love with the process of making music and learning new things. If you fall in love with playing big venues and selling lots of tickets you could burn out pretty quickly. But if you fall in love with the music the passion never dies.
WYAT: Over the years you guys have grown to become one of the more quintessential sounds of New Orleans. Is that intentional or do you guys take a more outward approach to your music?
Moore: I think that when we first started we were heavily influenced by bands that came out of The Meters generation, Dr. John and of course Professor Longhair. But eventually we grew into our own and brought what we learned into the new. That happened by connecting with different people who helped formed our, "sonic palate" within the New Orleans realm. We try to keep it New Orleans, but not as traditional and not as afraid to let it grow. So it's exciting our music is becoming recognized as New Orleans' own.
WYAT: As mainly a Funk Band, how do you guys cultivate these different musical relationships with such diverse artists?
Moore: It's a lot of us approaching people that we want to work with and asking them to contribute to what we bring them. A lot of it comes from Jam sessions and matching our sounds with particular artists we think would be a great fit. So it less about, "Hey we want to work with you", and more about, "Hey we want to work with you on this particular song." Having something already there really streamlines the process and allows artists from different genres to connect to what we're thinking.
WYAT: Was it very intentional to use up and coming artists or was it something that happened organically?
Moore: It's intentional but it's also pragmatic. We're always looking for a fresh outlook and it's easier to get an up and coming artist to come in and contribute sometimes. So it usually works out that we're just able to get them in more. But it's also really fun creatively.
WYAT: Do you have any favorite Jazz Fest memories?
Moore: Oh man, all of them! Its pretty fun for us being able to play for thousands upon thousands of people and it's even cooler that it's always happening right down the street from my house.
WYAT: Is your set list mostly from your new release or will some old favorites be thrown in?
Moore: There's a little of both. Maggie's learning a lot of the old material so it'll be a fun mix. A lot of fans come out and want to hear particular songs so we try to keep them happy.
WYAT: Tell people about your new album and what inspired it.
Moore: Well, being from New Orleans we figured it was time to address the Mardi Gras theme at some point so we combined it with Brazilian Carnival and got this great mix. It's definitely a Galactic sound just with a decidedly carnival twist.
WYAT: After eighteen years with a pretty consistent line-up you have any advice to up and coming New Orleans bands about longevity?
Moore: Yeah, we just followed some advice given to us by Joe Cabral from The Iguanas. It's pretty simple, he said, "Guys, just be a band. Find some guys you really like to play with and each time you go to a town and make it the same band." When fans come back each time and they see a new guy it's not the same experience. You need to develop a relationship between your band and the audience. It becomes almost like a family.
Galactic plays Sunday, April 27 at 3:30 pm on the Samsung Galaxy Stage.