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The Scarlet & Black

Limelight: T.G.I.F

Jasper Cole-Kink ’19, Silas Hammel ’19, Ian Donaldson ‘20, Jamal Preston ’19, Lauren MacKenzie ’19 and J’Remi Barnes ’19 comprise T.G.I.F. They will perform their blend of R&B and pop on April 22 and April 28.

T.G.I.F is a student band making a name for itself in the Grinnell student music scene. Jasper Cole-Kink ’19 on drums, Silas Hammel ’19 on bass, Ian Donaldson ‘20 on piano and Jamal Preston ’19, Lauren MacKenzie ’19 and J’Remi Barnes  ’19 on vocals draw from a wide variety of musical backgrounds and blend into a funky R&B group. This week, The S&B’s Philip Kiely sat down with the band to find out what makes the metronome tick.

The S&B: How did you get T.G.I.F started?

Jamal Preston: J’Remi and Silas shot the idea around of starting a band, but we never actually did it. We were all shooting around the idea and then one day we decided to actually do it.

Lauren MacKenzie: J’Remi knew that I was musically interested since last year, when we met. We had hung out a couple times and done music stuff in Bucksbaum, and then one day he just comes up to me at work in Dhall and says ‘Lauren, are you free at 8 tonight, come to ‘Free Sound.’ I walked into joining a band, I didn’t know that it was happening until I was halfway through meeting everyone.

Silas Hammel: I would add that we brought Ian [Donaldson] in because he was in the Latin American ensemble playing with me, so that’s how we pulled him in.

Jasper Cole-Kink ’19, Silas Hammel ’19, Ian Donaldson ‘20, Jamal Preston ’19, Lauren MacKenzie ’19 and J’Remi Barnes ’19 comprise T.G.I.F. They will perform their blend of R&B and pop on April 22 and April 28.

The S&B: How did you settle on a name?

SH: Our name has kind of gone here and there. First it was ‘Funk Trump,’ reflecting our political convictions, then it became ‘TGI Funky,’ like ‘Thank God it’s Funky,’ now just for consistency, we want to get it out there that our name is T.G.I.F. or, individually, we are ‘The Funkies.’

The S&B: What is your group’s style?

SH: We draw from a huge range of musical influences, we come from different backgrounds in that respect. Our repertoire seems to have been pop, a lot of R&B, some rock, and we’re starting to develop our own style as we write original songs. Our last set was entirely original arrangements. Others were written, arranged, etc. by us. So, we’re starting to create our own style, which I would describe as ‘Pop R&B.’

Jasper Cole-Kink: In terms of drumming I take a lot of influence from 70s R&B stuff but also modern U.K. club music and electronic, just in terms of weird rhythms and stuff.

J’Remi Barnes: I’m fairly new to writing, I don’t think I have an individual style. You just write what you feel. The songs that I’ve been working on recently, it’s been very sappy love songs. For the band style … we draw from a wide range of musical backgrounds.

The S&B: What sort of shows do you play?

SH: We do seek to have a lot of energy at our shows, this is a live show band, in a sense a party band. We’re trying to produce a very specific emotional response, we want people to let loose and enjoy themselves … we want people to be moving, standing, singing, dancing, it’s a participatory style of music.

JB: We played at prairie before … it was a very serious concert. That wasn’t our best concert, in my opinion. Not saying that we weren’t on our A-game, but the environment did not match what we wanted to do.

JCK: I just want to bring the funk and make sure that people have a good time.

The S&B: What do you see in the future of the band?

SH: We are looking for exposure. We’re trying to build a set list of things we can do. We want people to know who we are, to recognize our songs.

JP: We’re hoping to build on [the Free Sound Community] as well, sort of cultivating that community. Once The Wellness is out the door, someone has to cultivate the community.

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