Long distance relationships are hard.
It's nice to be able to see someone when you want, to communicate face-to-face and do the things you love together.
But Pemberton musician Papa Josh and his band Klozd Sirkut, who are scattered down the American west coast, don't have that luxury. But they are still making it work. The funk-steeped electronic group, still new with only a few performances under their belt, will meet up for their Canadian debut June 15 at the Pemberton Distillery as part of the Pemberton Art Council's Mountains of Art exhibit running from 8 p.m. until 1 a.m.
"Last year we put together a couple of shows in Seattle and we had a nice, good crowd and a cozy atmosphere," says Josh Suhrheinrich (a.k.a. Papa Josh). "It kind of pushed us forward into having a few more successful shows there. We haven't played in Canada. This is the first time. We'll be back in July for the Believe Festival (in Whistler)."
The story of how the group — made up of trumpet player Chris "C.D." Littlefield, drummer Davee C. and keyboardist Joey Walbaum with Suhrheinrich on guitar, bass, vocals via his looping technique — came together is a little complicated.
Suhrheinrich and Littlefield played together for a time in a group called BluSirkut, but members of that band got too busy with other projects to keep up with consistent touring. While that project was winding down, Suhrheinrich was developing his looping skills with new music software called Ableton Live, which allowed him to record bass lines, guitar, drums and vocals and create a solo act.
Meanwhile, he caught a concert in Whistler featuring Davee C. and Littlefield in a funk band called Marmalade. He was so bowled over by the show that he began to hatch an idea for a new act featuring the three musicians. "Between the three of us, we have three different electronic set ups being synched together as we continue to play live," he says. "We have some things that are pre-recorded or things we record in the moment that we play back. Along with that, (Littlefield) is a really great songwriter. He has a really great knack for really juicy melodies. Between his stuff and what I'm doing with my tunes then Davee C.'s feel, his groove, it's a pretty exciting combination."
Along the way, Walbaum joined on keys. The group has sent songs electronically back and forth to each other, but before each of their American shows they holed up for a few days to practice in a music school in Seattle where Littlefield teaches. Given their electronic set up, the rehearsal is especially important. "A lot of that is different laptops being synched together, getting everything up and making sure everything works," Suhrheinrich says. "I feel like if things go wrong in rehearsal, that's good. Now, you're ready for it. Now you know what to do. Whereas if it doesn't go wrong in rehearsal then you have your first trouble-shooting at the gig."
Next up: the band hopes to release a single before July's Believe Festival. Initially, they wanted to release an EP, but the distance has been a barrier to recording.
"(The single is) being mixed and mastered over the next couple of weeks," Suhrheinrich says. "That's going to propel us to get a handful more. It's definitely a process when we're not in the same place and everyone has different projects going on."
That's part of what makes their Pemberton show special. An ongoing art show will also provide a unique backdrop for the gig. The performance will feature video and projections while the group plays.
Suhrheinrich will open up with his solo act and lead into the group's show, he says. "I do things a bit differently on my own than when I'm with (the group)," he adds. "If it's just you, you can really flow with the music, but when you're with other people there are these things you just wouldn't come up with. It has to be someone who feeds you those things for it to happen."
Tickets for the concert and art show are $20, available at the Mt. Currie Coffee Company in Pemberton and at Evolution in Whistler.