Though they just brought their unique brand of afrobeat/funk/jazz music out of the basement and onto the stage in 2015, 7-piece band Ernie Johnson From Detroit – featuring members Collin Thompson, Brendan Blumer, Drew Loftspring, Eric Osmanoglu, Wayne Kilgard, Nathan Lewis and Dusty Bryant – has quickly become a crowd favorite in and around Cincinnati, and it’s not hard to see why.
You can see for yourself below in an exclusive performance of “Muthafuckin’ Beans,” then read on for a Q&A with the band to learn more!
Video shot by Alex Thocker and Kristoph Klein and produced by Alex Thocker.
Q&A with Ernie Johnson From Detroit
First things first, our favorite color is Magenta.
Who is Ernie Johnson?
None of your damn business, next question. Just kidding, come to a show and find out for yourself.
How long have you all known each other? How did you meet?
The short version is that we all met playing music. Some of the guys have know each other for most of their lives, but as a group we’ve been acquainted anywhere from 3-5 years now.
When did you form the band? What inspired you to make music together?
We started this project in a basement about a year ago, but we’ve only been playing out for a few months. We were in a bar in Harlem and we heard “Strokin” by Clarence Carter and the rest is history.
What genre of music do you consider your work to be? Who are your major influences?
It’s a mix of afrobeat, funk, and jazz. With 7 members of EJ, our influences are vast. Anything that makes the booty shake.
How would describe your sound?
It’s like having a funky case of the meat sweats while sitting in a hot tub, next question.
Could you briefly describe your music making process?
Half a teacup of bass, about a pound of fatback drums, about 4 tablespoons of boiling Detroit guitars, that tastes alright. A little pinch of organ, a half a pint of horns, place on the burner and bring to a boil. That’s it right there. Now beat well.
How has your music evolved since you first began playing music together?
I think the first batch of songs we wrote have all gotten tighter, but what has evolved the most is how we communicate with each other in the creating process and that’s reflected in our new music. It gets tighter by the day.
What has been the biggest challenge as a band?
Our biggest challenge is fitting everyone on stage. That and the collapse of the auto industry.
Best compliment you’ve ever received as a band?
A lot of people seemed to really enjoy our late night Paradise set and have gone out of their way to let us know. Also, “You guys look like Slipknot.” – David Sweitzer.
What do you guys do in your spare time?
We try and check out as much local music as possible and support our friends who are in bands around town.
What’s the most bizarre thing to happen while you were on stage?
Not so much bizarre, but at one show, there was a guy in a unicorn costume dancing to a song that we play by Dizzy Gillespie called “Unicorn.”
When can fans expect your EP to be released?
It will be available on our bandcamp page as well as our website in July.
What do you have planned for the summer?
We will be playing a few festivals (East Price Hill Jazz Festival, Paradise on the Point, Hookahville, Stanley’s Summer Festival, and Resonance just to name a few). We will also be working on a lot of new music.
What are your goals for the future?
Putting out this new EP. Working on new music. Expanding our live show by playing other cities. Book as many festivals for next summer as possible and doing more interviews.
Where can fans listen to your music?
Now for some fun stuff…
Which cartoon character do you resemble?
Mush Mouth from Fat Albert
Worst haircut you’ve ever had?
Got burned by a perm.
All questions answered by Ernie Johnson From Detroit.