KP and the Boom Boom: Spreading world beats, love and neo-soul through Austin
Two months ago I made my first trip to the Continental Club for my first ever CD release party, which I'm sure is a sin given I've lived in Austin for nearly 10 years. The release party was for KP and the Boom Boom. I'm not a music expert, but I do know that night KP and the Boom Boom's mix of funky beats and soul had a packed crowd on its feet — dancing and feeling good.
It turns out KP and the Boom Boom have a feel-good story to go along with their funky beats and soul. Bands are a dime a dozen in the Live Music Capital and many don't realize much success right away. But this six-piece ensemble seems to have found the right mix of talent and personality, and it all happened with serendipity.
Kate Priestley, "KP," came to Austin in 2010 from Yorkshire, England. Originally her plan was to visit a few friends, vacation for a couple of months and then head home. As fate would have it, during her visit Priestley (a talented vocalist and songwriter) was introduced to several musicians who share her passion. Over the course of two months KP and the Boom Boom was born and Priestley's plans were diverted.
Since then, Priestley along with drummer Anthony Ortega, bassist Nick Wong, percussionist Carolyn Trowbridge and guitarists Justin Sabetti and Bryan Sunderman have worked to create KP and the Boom Boom's identity. It's been a challenge given their variety of interests and musical tastes.
"There's no right answer, but recently someone looked up the definition of neo-soul and it seemed right on," Sabetti said. The band uses an eclectic mix of instruments like the steel pan, vibraphone and just about anything else they can get their hands on to add funky world beats to the soul and R&B vibe. "I think we are starting to create our own genre that people are really starting to recognize," Priestley said.
In less than two years the band has opened up for musicians like Mayer Hawthorne and T-Bird and the Breaks. They also recently released their first EP self titled KP and the Boom Boom. "It takes a lot of hard work and patience and sometimes you have to be willing to sacrifice your ideas," Ortega said. "We have a blast ever time we practice. It is really fun."
Priestly said the EP is only the beginning of their goal to create a sound that touches people at a universal level. While proud of their work, everyone in the band agrees the EP does not do them enough justice. "Seeing one of our live shows will definitely help you to understand our vision. You can't help but feel uplifted from our energy."
"We are really lucky to have the band we have," Priestley said. "It has not worked out for a lot of our friends and we are always told that we have something pretty special." Part of what keeps them together is their positive attitude on and off the stage.
"There is so much crazy stuff going on in the world right now so we want to give something good back," Priestley said. "We just want to spread the love and give a positive message to people. That's definitely what our music is all about."
You can get a feel for KP and the Boom Boom below. They were recently showcased on Balcony TV.
KP and the Boom Boom's next performance will be at the Continental Club on August 24 with Soul Track Mind. The band will open for Mayer Hawthorne at Beauty Ballroom on September 8.