Galactic: Every Corner Has a Story (Relix Revisited)
The band holed up in a studio in Pennsylvania, in the Poconos, and wrote instrumental pieces based around Moore’s recorded drum passages. After a month of this they’d come up with enough material to send to the MCs and ask them to add their verses.
“They gave me a concept,” says Lyrics Born. “They said ‘We want you to write a song about what happens on a corner. This is your corner.’ Basically I drew from my experiences growing up in the flea-market scene out here. I grew up in Berkeley, California. Anybody from Berkeley knows in those days everybody tried to sell you something, or sell you on something. So it was a really easy song to write, and a lot of fun because I had a lot of personal experiences to write from. I don’t get asked to do this kind of stuff that often.”
Coordinating the performances of the MCs was a painstaking process that required organization, trust, a lot of patience and some luck to pull off. “We kept asking ourselves ‘Is this a good idea?’” says Vogel. “We know how hard it is just for the five of us to get something accomplished. So to have this collective project with so many different artists who all have careers, they’re working on their own shit and that’s obviously their prime concern. There was a point where we said ‘Oh man, what were we thinking?’ But once you get one or two on board you start to relax a little bit. There was a snowball effect.”
Once the record was completed the group had to figure out how to play it live. They jumped in deep water by making Bonnaroo the debut showcase, but the gamble paid off. “The toughest track to figure out how to do live was ‘Second and Dryades’ with Monk Boudreaux,” says Moore. “We would meet for two hours every day before the rehearsals. We had about four eight-hour rehearsals for Bonnaroo, then a fifth one with the MCs.
“On the Monk thing Ben and I had to figure out who was gonna play which part, which loops would go through whom. We actually sampled some of the effected drums and put them into different samplers, Ben has one and I’ve got this Roland SDBS, which I hit with sticks, so I’m playing a combination of things. We actually vary it live, but we’ve gotten it to the point where it can sound exactly like the record if we want it to. We wanted to add a little live element to it. On some of the other tunes, I have two bass drums up there anyway so I can switch back and forth from a smaller bass drum to a bigger bass drum and I’m also switching between different snare drums for different tracks.
“Bonnaroo was fun. It was kind of a lot for us to bite off musically because we had to learn three or four songs for each MC we played with but during rehearsals we figured out a way to do it.”
Galactic now stands at a crossroads that could create a whole new audience for its music.
“We’re hopeful it’s going to bring some people in who’ve never been to a Galactic show,” says Vogel. “We’re hoping to bring these two audiences together who may seem to be disparate but actually have a lot in common. There’s definitely an overlap between alternative-rock kids and hip-hop hipsters. We’ve already seen a little bit of it in our club set at South by Southwest and on a larger scale at Bonnaroo, where it felt like we had the best of both worlds going on. It had the intensity of a Galactic show with some great MCs who are dynamic performers. I don’t know how many people were in that tent but it looked crowded to me and people were jumping up and down the whole time.”
Lyrics Born wouldn’t guarantee that the hip-hop community would embrace From the Corner… with the same enthusiasm as Galactic fans, but he knows he was part of something historic. “I don’t know if that was their goal or not,” he says. “It’s hard to predict or control how other people are going to perceive you. But I think the most important thing is that they made the record that they were shooting for—and more.”
“That show to me was a testing crowd and we did view it as a watershed because the next question is how is this gonna fly live?,” says Vogel. “If Bonnaroo is any indication it looks like it might fly very well.”
The Howlin’ Brothers take to the Relix rooftop and share a song they wrote with Warren Haynes.
Beth Hart shares the opening track from her latest album, Bang Bang Boom Boom, live at Relix.
Jamie Lidell sets up in the Relix boiler room and delivers a tune from his 2005 album Multiply
Duane Trucks is happy to announce his new project, King Lincoln. Watch them perform “Coffee” live and acoustic at Relix’s Online-Video Coordinator’s loft in Williamsburg.
Here’s another song from Crystal Bowersox’s new record All That For This, live at Relix.
WYATT share a song in the famed Relix boiler room.
Goodnight, Texas share a song from their latest studio album, A Long Life of Living, live at Relix.
Warren Haynes performs a solo, acoustic version of “Railroad Boy” and explains how he adapted the traditional Celtic song for Gov’t Mule, backstage at the Hangout Music Festival.
Australia’s Alpine recently made their NYC debut at the Relix office with this song from their new album A is for Alpine.
In honor of Umphrey’s McGee’s return to Summer Camp this weekend, we present the group’s Brendan Bayliss and Jake Cinninger performing this version of “The Pequod” from UM’s Anchor Drops.
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