This Friday night, the intimate venue Divan Orange has best be prepared to fill its four walls filled with a whole lotta’ soul. You couldn’t expect anything less from a band named The Soul Motivators, a well-known deep funk/soul band based out of Toronto. The evening will also include ever-changing jazz-hip hop band fronted by The Franco Proietti Morphtet and founder of DiscoBreak, one of Montreal’s “best-kept secrets” DJ Brad Slyde. All of these artists are dedicated to funk, soul and getting you out on the dance floor.
I spoke to two members of Soul Motivators, bassist Marc Shapiro and James Robinson on keys. This isn’t their first time in Montreal, and they promised the city a great time. “Last year we had the pleasure of performing at Le Bleury. They mean proper dance floor business over there. Seb and Christel run it right.”
I asked who their role models were that helped them grown into the musicians they are today. “Funk is where it’s at for us — we are all heavily influenced groove players with a strong taste for underground funk and soul infused music. The JBs, Marva Whitney, The Budos Band, Fela, Jimmy Smith… There are too many to
The Soul Motivators has a “mere” 9 members, 3 of which are on horns. They’ve been able to toss in a trumpet, saxophone and a trombone. The members of the band are mostly veterans of Toronto’s underground funk scene. “A few of us came from a small rare groove band, others from jazz training, and a couple of us were part of the DJ scene. Marc, the bass player, came from a cool project – Aalive deep house band called King Sunshine, who made frequent trips to Montreal. But it was the shared love of deep funk that brought us all together!”
Toronto has given this vintage-funk band the love it deserves. “Toronto is thriving; we are very lucky to be part of such a progressive scene. Some cool boutique labels are releasing great material and there’s a loyal group of fans bringing ‘it’ to the party. We keep a a solid schedule in Toronto playing once every few months, looking forward to festival season once it decides to stop snowing.” The Soul Motivators have already performed for a handful of festivals including Toronto NuJazz Festival, NXNE, the TD Toronto Jazz Festival, and Toronto Beaches International Jazz Festival.
With the marriage of this many talents, they’ve been able to work as a team when it comes to the lyrics. “Writing comes together in many forms. We make sure to utilize our wide skills, both individual and collective. Lyrics get sourced through inspiring moments via Lydia Persaud (vocals), Nate Dell Vandenberg (Trombone), James Robinson (Keys), and Marc Shapiro (Bass) — but the talent is spread across the band and our hardworking unit shines on this album.”
Even with their recent self-titled EP release on February 23rd, the Soul Motivators are still hungry to give us more. “We’re excited about our newest recordings; some 7-inch and digital releases are in the very near future. We’ve collaborated with some great people on these tunes and this will set a high bar for a full-length at the end of the year.”
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The Soul Motivators, want to motivate you off your couch, bar stool, or possibly your snow bank and into Divan Orange this Friday evening. What is Marc Shiparo excited for? “The great line up – The Franco Proietti Morphtet starting things off with a blend of jazz and hip-hop, veteran DJ Brad Slyde warming up with an eclectic mix of grooves, then us! We’re looking forward to a full on funk infused evening — ready to Motivate Montreal to the dance floor!”
The Soul Motivators with the Franco Proietti Morphtet and DJ Brad Slyde are at Divan Orange (4234 St. Laurent) on March 14th. 9 pm. $10.