Artist of the day: Samurai Shotgun
Samurai Shotgun blends hip-hop, rock, metal, ska and other styles in ways not readily comparable to anything else. Influences include The Roots, Mars Volta and Rage Against the Machine — but the guys don’t really sound like any of those groups individually.
“Our love of music goes everywhere,” said turntablist/keyboardist Marquis "DJ Qeys" Blocker.
Formed in Tampa just a little less than a year ago, members include Blocker, Matt “Prince Golden” Henley, lead vocals; Dana Harmon, guitar; and the band’s newest Samurai, Soulean Harris, on bass — who’s playing his first show with the band this weekend.
That show would be Rootstock, the annual hip-hop and reggaefest at New World Brewery. The show is at 9 p.m.; tickets are $8. Also on the bill: Dynasty and DJ Sandman, the Rukus, Breakdown and Ranmecca, D’Visitors, Baddaskat, and Jinx and DJ Fader.
After the jump, check out Julie Garisto's full profile of Samurai Shotgun ...
Noble warriors: Samurai Shotgun blends hip-hop, rock, metal, ska and other styles in ways not readily comparable to anything else. Formed in Tampa just a little less than a year ago, members include Matt “Prince Golden” Henley, lead vocals; Dana Harmon, guitar; Marquis “DJ Qeys” Blocker, turntables and keyboards, and the band’s newest Samurai, Soulean, on bass — who’s playing his first show with the band this weekend.
Influences: The Roots, Mars Volta, Rage Against the Machine — but the guys don’t really sound like any of those groups individually. “Our love of music goes everywhere,” Blocker said.
Comical interests and goals: Henley, who writes the songs, doesn’t get too deep or political with his topics, which include anime, martial arts and other elements of pop culture. He said the band hopes to score gigs with big national comic conventions coming to Tampa and Orlando this year because their material fits in thematically with the offerings at those events.
New CD: They’re just about finished recording their first self-titled, self-produced EP and have songs mastered for a full-length to be released later this year.
How they got together: Henley and Harmon have been friends for the past 20 years. Before moving to Tampa, they were roommates in Columbus, Ohio, sharing an apartment and collaborating musically. Henley, who always worked as a solo MC, decided to form a band after moving to Tampa to attend the International Academy of Design and Technology. Harmon had provided beats for Henley and learned to play guitar a few years ago. The two, eager to form a band, met in Tampa their likeminded cohorts. Reese worked at Guitar Center and had played drums for jam and metal bands, and said he was ready for something new. Blocker, a DJ for hire and producer, wanted to try some mixes for a live band, Roots-style.
Note of prestige: Reese was recently accepted into the prestigious Berklee College of Music but isn’t sure if he’ll go because things are going so well with the band.
Different strokes: “People see the turntables and they don’t know what to expect,” Blocker said. “We’ve been told that live we’re something different.”
Henley, an African American with Cuban and Spanish ancestry, says people don’t know what to make of the culturally diverse band. They get comments from people all ages. “Middle-aged people have approached us after shows and said we have a fresh sound.” he said. “We go from loud to mellow.”
Spending time together: The guys have a tight friendship outside the band. “We’re always at Brandon’s,” Henley said of Reese. “We watch TV and cook together. (Reese) is an amazing chef. We do barbecues at his house, play video games — Resident Evil, Sonic the Hedgehog.”
Blocker: “We have a good brotherly bond.”
Henley: “When we come together, it’s like Voltron.”
Hear them: 9 p.m. Friday at the Rootstock festival at New World Brewery, Ybor City. Also playing: Dynasty and DJ Sandman, the Rukus, Breakdown and Ranmecca, D’Visitors, Baddaskat, and Jinx and DJ Fader. $8. (813) 248-4969.
-- Julie Garisto, tbt*