Capri : Boogie Man
Capri biography - interviews by Don Cartwright Originally inspired by funk/big band Soundtracks such as Bullitt, Dirty Harry, and composers such as Lalo Schifrin, Roy Budd and Quincy Jones, Capriâ€™s Dan Woodward wanted to hear â€œmore stuff like thatâ€. However when Dan went out to find the original soundtracks he found they were either deleted, never available to the public, poorly recorded or worst still re-recorded by inexperienced musicians. â€œWhen I did finally get my hands on the original material, I remember being slightly disappointed. Without the images to accompany the music it felt a little flat. Except for the occasional killer groove, I think it was a case of remembering it better than it wasâ€. It was then Dan had the idea of forming a band that could not only play the uncompromising style of 1970â€™s funk big band but could also reinvigorate the music solely for the purpose of personal listening and dancing. â€œIt was an unusual process. Me, Chris and Matthew had played together in Big bands when we were kids, so we had the founding experience we needed. Matthew and I also played in a lot of rock and soul bands so that was the other experience we needed. It was like putting the two things together. Playing in a big band requires a lot of discipline. You have to practice the parts, learn to read and make sure you donâ€™t mess up, otherwise you have 30 musicians giving you the evil eye! In a rock band it's different. It's obviously more relaxed. You turn up, play, get drunk and go home. I loved doing bothâ€. The bands signature funk sound didnâ€™t come easily admits Chris Donnelly. â€œIt involved a lot of rehearsing, demos and re-arranging to get the music to fit what it was we were trying to do. We would rehearse and rehearse until the grooves sounded rightâ€. â€œWe did the Cop Funk thing for a few yearsâ€ Dan explains â€œbut at that time Iâ€™d gone back to writing songs. â€-Boogie Manâ€™ was one of the new batch. It was very much a hybrid of the two things, big band meets soul band. It had soundtrack elements to it fused with James Brown street funk. Then came â€-Barbarellaâ€™ and then I knew we had to get a singerâ€. It wasnâ€™t the most likely place to meet a great soul singer but the Peel pub in Bradford was where Matthew Windler found himself stumbling into one Tuesday night and hearing the future of Capri. â€œI knew Dan was serious about getting a singer, but apart from a few feeble auditioners, we hadnâ€™t found anyone. Then, the next thing I know, Iâ€™m in the Peel seeing Ben sing for the first time. I just thought Get him! Heâ€™s the man!â€. Before long Ben was singing with the band in Leeds at the fondly remembered Underground club. The club had put on some great names in Funk such as Maceo Parker, Fred Wesley (both James Brown players), Pee Wee Ellis, Donald Byrd, Azymuth and Roy Ayers ( blacksploitation soundtrack composer ) to name a few. It was also a place were the many worlds of Funk met, such as the time when Roy Ayersâ€™ rhythm section heard â€-Car Chase on Phoenix Avenueâ€™ over the house P.A and demanded to know who had created such an outrageously funky piece of music. Very quickly the Underground became the capital funk/soul venue outside London. The next big club to follow was the Wardrobe which again promoted live original material. Capri were all too happy to join the roster, regularly playing there with their eleven piece band. It was around this time Capri started recording songs for their first E.P. Although the E.P. was well received by club DJs and funksters it didnâ€™t get much support on a wider scale. â€œThis isnâ€™t a particularly rhythmical nationâ€ admits Dan â€œall the highly rhythmical music in this country always remains underground, it's so frustratingâ€. Chris adds â€œI remember us playing at a ball in Cambridge and Iâ€™ve never seen so many confused faces in all my lifeâ€. Meanwhile, another Leeds Funk band the â€-New Mastersoundsâ€™ were starting to break through with their album â€œKeb Darge presents the New Mastersoundsâ€ and was making people take note of the growing Funk scene in Leeds, and Funk in general. It seemed like Capri had just finished recording their E.P. when they began work on their first album. Originally titled â€-Firebirdâ€™ their first album was going to be an eclectic mix of all the musical stages the band had gone through since their formation. â€œGetting hold of all the musicians we needed wasnâ€™t a problemâ€ reveals Chris. â€œThereâ€™s been a steady influx of Jazz and Soul musicians coming into Leeds since the 60â€™sâ€. Great players like Joel Purnell, Jim Corry, Dale Gibson, Omar Puente and Lara Rose had all come to Leeds via the music collegeâ€¦.. perfect timing for a 12 track funk opus. â€-Boogie Manâ€™ was released in 2004 and was an instant hit with critics and music aficionados. Air play has been building steadily since then, both on FM and digital radio. In May Capri joined the download revolution and are now available from all the major download sites worldwide. Capriâ€™s next projects include releasing Barbarella as a single and music video, a live DVD/audio CD and ultimately a second studio album. Thank you and good night. D.C.