099/365 » 311 - Band Profile

Esto es complemento a mi post en Campo Pagado. Disfruten el nuevo disco: Uplifter, que sale a la venta justamente ahora. El artículo que leen es mío, pero lo escribí hace más de un año, por lo que no menciona el nuevo disco. (:

When people ask me what style of music do 311 play, I tend to answer differently every single time. It’s not just about recognizing the influences, or noticing the puns and references; it’s about understanding and enjoying music as a whole, because that’s what music is all about. In their case, “the whole” seems to be something too complex for it to fit in a few words definition. That is the way artists feel about their creative effort, like a collage of ideas put together to create something new. The thing is, 311 has managed to make many people from our generation feel, as spectators, the same way a creative artist would, perceiving their music in such a different way every time we experience it.

They have been together playing for almost 20 years, taking ideas and experimenting from a wide variety of styles and bands, creating such a definite and recognizable sound. With influences that range from 80’s rock to very obscure Jamaican dancehall tunes, their path has been made by not being afraid of trying with new possibilities, and staying true to the way they define music as a true group of friends.

311 came to life on 1988 as all of the members grew up on Omaha, Nebraska, with a group consisting of Nick Hexum (singer) and Chad Sexton (drums) on a band called “Unity”. After failing on getting signed on Los Angeles, Chad came back to Omaha and started hanging out with P-Nut (bass) and Jim Watson (guitar). After few months, Hexum came back from LA, the time when 311 was born. Hexum decided to start a record company called What Have You Records, which would release three of their albums. However Watson left the band after Dammit! was released, so the spot was filled by Tim Mahoney, releasing Hydroponic and Unity. In that time, their friend SA Martinez had performed many times with the band, so he ended up being a full time member. This would be the lineup that would last for over 16 years. The band moved to LA and signed a contract. That was the start of their professional career, in which they would release ten studio albums and one live album.

The style adopted by the band can date back to many other bands that successfully managed to achieve a mix of rock and rap music, being Red Hot Chili Peppers (formed in 1983) one of the most important names. However, 311 achieved a way to set aside from the rest, by visualizing their music on a different concept: music as being fun to listen, and with a positive message. That concept has been a constant element in all of their albums. Their first two albums, Music (1993) and Grassroots (1994), explore the use of dancehall reggae and musical improvisations in their songs, as well as consistent rap verses. Their third album brought them into the fame: 311 (1995) is focused on a raw sound and catchy lyrics in their songs, which became instant hits in the United States. Two years later, Transistor (1997) was released. Not as mainstream and famous as their previous album, Transistor experiments on dub and experimental rock, and it’s considered by many to be their best album so far, despite their limited success. After a Live (1998) album, Soundsystem (1999) is a more radio-friendly album, merging the influences of Transistor and driving them into a more melodic ground. The tendency was followed by From Chaos (2001), by creating reggae-oriented tunes. Their follow-up, Evolver (2003) is an album that takes elements from all albums into a very varied result. Finally, Don’t Tread on Me (2005) is their latest album, leaving most of the rap signing aside, and showing more melodic tunes.

Due to their work on tours and their huge creative effort on making albums consistently, they have earned a very solid fan base that supports them. Also, their live shows are very well known not only for the energy and musicianship of the band, but for their extended setlists. 311 day, for example, is a special day for the band and fans. Every two years, on March 11 (last one on 3-11-08), the band performs a special show for the fans, playing sometimes around 75 songs during more than 4 or 5 hours.

As in many things in life, musical styles and tastes change over time. However, the commitment to stay true to one’s beliefs and to the fans might be a good reason why 311 always have the motivation to create a yet new and exciting experience. The blend of sour and acid rap with a sweet and mellow tune is what makes 311 the band that it is today: forever young, fun and creative.

Note: "Sweet and sour like a tangerine" is part of a Beastie Boys' song: 3 MC's and One DJ.

1 comentario :

Unknown dijo...

I just watched this awesome interview of 311 on Billboard.com talking about their new album! I am so glad they are back I love their music. http://www.billboard.com/#/eatures/video-q-a-311-cranks-the-uplifter-1003998306.story.