That Hoosier sound. No matter what form it takes, it has become a staple in the music world.
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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – It’s a fusion of classic genres that have come together to create unique sounds. Indiana-based bands like Forgotten Tribe and Huckleberry Funk are using those sounds to blaze their own trails on the music scene. “We’re more counter-culture to help inspire people to think outside of that box,” said Harrison, Forgotten Tribe bassist Khaleel’s “General Spazz.”
“[We are] going from ‘Forgotten Tribe’ to everyone who feels like they’re forgotten in the world,” said Forgotten Tribe lead singer Khiry “Managan” Hollowell.
Both groups use their different cultural and musical backgrounds to create their art and aim to share it with others. “We’re able to bring people with different styles of music together in one place and magic can happen there,” said Forgotten Tribe guitarist Angel “Ocho” Ochoa.
Brothers Khaleel and Khiry founded the band, but it wasn’t until the pandemic hit that they were joined by guitarist Angel Omar Aguilera and drummer Ray Sarmiento. Both groups decided they were stronger together.
“It shocked me because it was so good,” Ray laughed. “We always enjoy each other’s company and each other’s atmosphere.”
Omari is the most versatile of the group, playing more than five instruments, including conga drums, accordion and melodica.
He believes his role in the band is to help “hold everyone together” and with his gentle demeanor and talent, it’s not hard to see how he makes their dynamic flow on and off stage.
The group chose the historic Melody Inn as the venue and venue for their story. Khiry talks about the reason. “When others may not look your way, now because we’re starting, Melody Inn gave us an opportunity,” he said.
Forgotten Tribe hopes to continue building their Afro-American and Latin fusion sound and become popular enough to “have a life making music.”
During their Huckleberry Funk interview, another group of five came up in conversation. A group they draw inspiration from, they refer to as their “big brothers” in music.
“I wouldn’t call us a pioneer because the talent has been here,” said lead singer, Dexter Clardy. “I feel like we’re in that new phase of predecessors that are helping to push the sound of Indy.” Their band refers to their style as funky soul and gritty R&B. “We all like to describe funk as more of an attitude than a genre,” added Clardy. “We’re all very different individuals, but we make sense on stage and we want people in the audience to come and feel that way, like they come as you are.”
When asked where they wanted to meet, without hesitation they chose the Hi-Fi Annex, a popular live music venue in Indianapolis.
“This is the place [where] it was very clear. [We] we actually did our video release here and performed one of our most popular songs up to this point here for the first time. The scene itself is evolving because people are realizing how much talent exists here. We’re just proud to be a part of that.”
They also commented on what they feel is a growing music community in Indiana, along with a new sense of competition to stay at the top of the list when people want to be entertained by a live band. “The more bands that are doing this and fighting for a spot, a night, it makes everyone better,” said saxophonist, producer and keyboardist Alex Dura.
“A lot more artists are starting to rely on each other and that one friend ‘I do something completely different than you, but I support what you do,'” Clardy said.
Although the members of Huckleberry Funk have their sights set on performing at New York’s Madison Square Garden one day, both groups harbor dreams of touring and playing their music all over the world.