Cleveland to Athens, The Hip-Hop group Uptowne Buddha is making a ruckus with their first official tour. The band is from Cleveland, and the other day, I had the opportunity to sit down with Uptowne Buddha, and ask some questions before their show at The Grog Shop.
How/when did you get started?
· It started off as a guitar/vocal duo for a high school production. Since then it’s grown at a steady pace. We’ve just been playing for enjoyment and realized we had potential as a band. We’ve grown a lot and we’re still evolving.
You just had your First tour, how did it go?
The traveling was smooth. It was our first tour so it was definitely a learning experience. It was great though; we made some fans in different cities and played with a great band Sassafraz.
Can you describe you Sound/Music?
· Our sound is hard to define. We’re a hip/hop group that places value on our live shows. It’s a large group and we’re all coming from different backgrounds. When we compose we stay open-minded and let all of these influences blend. We’ve got some neo-soul, jazz, rock, funk and pop but we just call it that sweet Buddha music.
What is/are some of your bands’ goals?
· We just want people to dance. In rehearsals we are all locked in mentally, expressing things musically as a shared experience. At a show we want to broaden that experience. We want the audience to feel what we’re feeling and we want to feel what the audience is feeling.
Who/how many members does Uptowne Buddha consist of?
· It’s always changing. We’re usually somewhere between 6 to 9 members. On this past tour we had:
Vance Coles – Vocals
Sam Terkel – Guitar
Brian Plautz – Alto Saxophone/Flute
Jevaughn Bogard – Tenor Saxophone
Frank Walton- Trumpet
Jake Goldberg – Bass
Derrick “CooleyHigh” Cooley – Drums
Greg Robinson – Percussion
Do any members have side/solo projects we should pay attention to?
Saxophonist, Brian Plautz
has been really busy this summer. “I’ve been pretty busy lately. I spent the summer in New York City working at the Blue Note Jazz Club. In New York I played a lot with two great singer/songwriters Evan Nachimson
and Jordan Casty
· Rapper Vance Coles also has a side project, titled “Goin’ Up In Smoke”. This mixtape is a collaboration with Lil Marv, a fellow Cleveland rapper. Vance says this mixtape is “Something to smoke to”. So grab all your “utensils” and fog up the room because the mixtape is available for download at DatPiff.com and Livemixtapes.com.
What more can we expect from Uptowne Buddha?
· We’re going into the studio later this week to record our first album. We’ll be recording some of our classic songs, including our first song (Written in the Stars). There will also be some new tracks to be looking forward to.