A&E » Arts

Flow Motion Web site



Who: Flow Motion

Where: Boot Pub

When: Monday, Jan. 14

They’re like a secret garden of sound, with everyone at the garden gate.

"We’ve been through the struggles as a band, and now we’re at that transitional point every musician reaches where they say ‘hey, this is what I’m supposed to be doing,’" says Josh Clauson, guitarist and lead vocalist with Seattle’s Flow Motion.

The band has been together for two years, playing nearly every gig they could find, but they hope to be concentrating on quality over quantity in the future.

"By the end of 2002, our goal is to be doing nothing but writing music," says Clauson. "The last album was made from live recordings, and we had to get something out fast, but now it seems more old news to us. We’re playing to larger audiences in less venues as opposed to smaller audiences spread over a number of places, and we can do so much more."

A donation of $2,500 by a silent investor has given band members the luxury of two weeks to simply write and record their next singles on San Juan Island. Audiences can expect "a selection of funk and African traditions," with guest vocals from a rapper and a beat mixer from Alaska.

The Flow Motion lineup includes Coulby Syles from Anacortes on vocals, percussion, and drums, and Jessie Kansanback from Arlington, Virginia on bass, vocals, and percussion. Dan Schmidt plays keyboards, while Beau Barrero is on both drums and vocals.

The beats come from timbales, similar sound-wise to snare drums, and djembes, which give off a deeper resonation.

The Flow Motion sound includes funk, reggae, and old-school jazz, with an array of drums to assist their tribal rhythms. For the latter, they look to musician Mamady Keita and other Brussels-based West African musicians with whom Barrero studied during a 10-week stint.

Flow Motion is the epitome of a modern band, not only in their worldly, eclectic musical influences but also in their use of the Internet to reach fans. Band Web master Preston Hall emphasizes their move away from radio to the ’net where "tapers" – Internet browsers who locate and distribute new music through online channels – reach audiences for Flow Motion’s sound.

And there is a loyal following for Flow Motion. The band headlined the Indian Summer Festival on San Juan Island, as well as the Seattle Hemp Fest at Myrtle Edwards Park. They also started their own festival on San Juan Island, the two-day Summer Meltdown.

Prior to their Whistler gig the band was in Alaska for shows at Humpy’s in Anchorage, and The Totem in Healy.

Civilized Animal and other originals are on the band’s set list, in addition to covers from old favourites Bob Marley, the Fab Four, and Fish.

And they revel in the ‘live’ of live performance. Last minute covers at previous shows included a version of Ben Harper’s Burn One Down, and the Talking Heads’ Burning Down the House.

"The next album will be more mainstream than our band has been, which emphasized a lot of improv and never featured the same song, done in the same way, at every performance," says Clauson.

Just look at their garden grow.