ORLANDO – A lot of bands come together when a group of high school friends start jamming together, continue doing it in college, and then decide to launch a career in music full-time.
In a sign of how much the concept of the garage band has changed, J.C. Brooks and the Uptown Sound — which recently released their Bloodshot Records debut album, “Want More” – came together in a fairly unique way.
“It was through an ad on Craigs List,” Brooks said. One of the band members had placed the “Help Wanted” ad on the online marketplace site, noting that he wanted to assemble a band. Brooks himself was one of the ones who responded to the ad.
“He wanted people who wanted to make music that people could dance to,” he said, in an interview with Freeline Media. “I was one of the ones who answered it.”
Although none of the band members had ever performed together, they discovered an ability to blend their unique and very separate interests in music into a style that Uptown Sound could call its own.
“We all liked different stuff,” Brooks said. “That first time we talked, there was some musical overlap, but we were all coming from somewhat different places musically. But all of us wanted to make people dance.”
Brooks, who grew up in New Jersey, took an interest in music at an early age – thanks to the influence of his mom.
“My mom sang a lot,” he said. “There was always music around us, and my mom played a lot of music and sang around the house.”
The Chicago-based band, which has been described as a combination of post-punk and soul, has recently performed with Syl Johnson, Robert Plant, and Fitz and The Tantrums. The band also recently launched a new MP3 single and video for “Sister Ray Charles,” which can be downloaded by logging on to www.bloodshotrecords.com.
Brooks said their influences are pretty varied.
“Our influences range from soul to post-punk to funk to Jazz, raggae — all these things,” he said. “But two of our main influences are soul and post-punk – a lot of Talking Heads and the Clash and all of that.”
What links it all together with Uptown Sound, he added, is “It’s all very danceable music. Our original intention was we thought the combination of those two genres would be interesting and danceable, and people haven’t heard that combination before. Post-punk is slightly less aggressive. I think it’s less aggressive, it’s got more of a beat. I feel like it’s when punk is mixed in with a little bit of reggae and other genre music. It still has the punk step where it was do it yourself, but also more inclusive. I don’t want to say it was watered down, but it has its own thing.”
Uptown Sound will be testing the local waters soon, since the band will be performing at The Social in downtown Orlando on Friday, May 11 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $13-15, and the band will be performing there with The Bright Light Social Hour.
The Social is at 54 N. Orange Ave. and can be reached by calling 407-246-1419.
This is the first time that Uptown Sound has performed in Florida, he added.
“Here’s hoping that they like dance music,” he said.
Brooks thinks Orlando audiences will respond well to their sound. He noted that their first performance was at the legendary Subterreanean Chicago on Aug. 7, 2007 – and they’re still going strong today.
“It went great,” he said of that first show. “It was awesome. It was crazy.”
From there, the band toured Chicago, the Midwest, and then went national.
“I think that we just built up an audience because definitely we found something people wanted to dance to, but also it’s an interactive show, and that helps with people, too,” he said.