New Orleans funk powerhouse Dumpstaphunk has released ‘Where Do We Go From Here,’ their first full-length in seven years, and undeniably the most powerful and politically pointed album of their career. To celebrate today’s release, the band is unveiling a music video for the album’s title track, which speaks to the overall themes of the project. “We’re all unsure sometimes about things around us and about our personal experience,” Ivan Neville told Gambit this week. “No matter who you are, no matter where you come from or what you believe in, we have some things in common and music is a common thread. Whether we’re feeling insecure or afraid of losing something or afraid of not getting what we want — let’s just look at it and do the next right thing and maybe things will turn out OK.”
‘Where Do We Go From Here’ is a sharply relevant statement, even more-so than the group anticipated during writing and recording sessions just prior to the unprecedented events of the last year. The band released the album’s title track “Where Do We Go From Here” in August 2020, to commemorate the 15th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, earning praise from the New York Times for its “slinky funk backbeat” and “gospel determination.” On the eve of the presidential election the band released the single “Justice 2020” (featuring Chali 2na and Trombone Shorty), which became an unofficial anthem of the social justice movement. In March the band released an urgent rendition of Buddy Miles’s 1973 acid-fueled blues anthem “United Nations Stomp," featuring special guest Marcus King, invoking the vintage spirit of Jimi Hendrix with a touch of urgent musical angst that could be easily playlist alongside modern contemporaries Rage Against The Machine.
The band’s arsenal of classic and modern influences can be heard throughout the new album, a distinctive mix of genuine New Orleans funk, old school R&B and guitar fueled modern rock; From the slap-bass rave “Make It After All” to the band’s contemporary renderings of NOLA R&B rarities (the 1975 Blackmail gem “Let’s Get At It”) and early Seventies classics (Sly and the Family Stone’s “In Time”). “We hope people can hear the new songs and are inclined to dance, and inspired to think at the same time,” says Ivan, speaking to the new album’s delicate balance between topic material and dance-floor rockers.
Over the past 17 years, Dumpstaphunk has earned its reputation as a highly respected next-generation New Orleans musical institution, the type of band whose live performances have attracted sit-ins from legends like Carlos Santana, Bob Weir, George Clinton and members of Phish. Alongside original core members Tony Hall and Nick Daniels, and the new additions of Alex Wasily, Ryan Nyther and drummer Devin Trusclair, Ivan and Ian Neville (the sons of Aaron Neville and Art “Poppa Funk” Neville respectively) have built upon their family’s iconic NOLA legacy as they’ve transformed Dumpstaphunk into the city’s pre-eminent 21st-century funk-fusion export, resulting in recent career highlights like their July 2019 opening gig for the Rolling Stones on their home turf at the New Orleans Mercedes Benz Superdome.
Modernizing and reinvigorating the Neville/Meters family groove has been one of the driving forces of Dumpstaphunk since the band spontaneously formed during New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in 2003. Where Do We Go From Here is perhaps the best evidence yet of Dumpstaphunk’s ability to strengthen and transform their singular Crescent City roots in combination with the deeper outside musical and philosophical influences on which the band is founded.
“Obviously, the New Orleans history is just embedded in us, but we manage to incorporate all the other stuff we’ve listened to over the years,” says Ivan. “We’re representing a legacy, but we’re reimagining a lot of it, too.”
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