Interview with Tony Gallicchio

by Melissa L Walker

Soul.  Everybody’s got one rattling around in there, and lately, there’s been a surge in the old soul and funk sound creeping into independent music and crossing over out of lounges and into festivals and bars.  In the Western, NY region, groups like Filthy Funk, AudioInflux, and FunkNut are driving a wave of music that reaches far back into our psyches and massages the cerebrum.  But it’s fresh to death, grooves for days, and sets the crowds to smiling.  I caught FunkNut for the first time last summer and Tony Gallicchio and the boys’ spin on this genre is incredibly catchy and solid.  In the midst of recording a new disc to drop on the fans, I had a chance to catch up with Tony and talk a little bit about the journey of the funk.

MLW: What led you toward music as a form of expression, and when did you first realize you could sing like that?! Do you have some favorite influences you’d like to share?

TG: You can connect with so many people through music and sound, its just an amazing feeling. Music hits you like nothing else. You have me blushing, I’m still trying to get used to the singing thing. Everyday I learn more about it. My main influences are people like Stevie Wonder, Prince, The Beatles and all that Motown stuff. That’s where it’s at.

MLW: How long has Funknut been playing and how did the group take shape?

TG: It’s been a little over four years. I was playing in a group Rebel Jelly which had members
Kurt Johnson and Justin Rister now in the Moho Collective, G Scott Corey and myself. That ended and I had some songs and wanted to keep playing. I wanted to get a little funkier. Initially FunkNut started as a duo, just keys and drums with Tristan Greene. We have since expanded over the years.

MLW: How would you describe the music of FunkNut to someone who had never heard it before?

TG: Funknut has that old school soul sound with a twist of that new funk. It will make you wanna sing, dance and get down.

MLW: There is a new album in the works. How is that going? Do you have a favorite track?

TG: Yes! We are working on a follow up to our last album HIT IT! Its going great. Recording is a long process but its my favorite part of the music world. I have 2 new favorites Honey and Don’t Go Away. I can’t wait for you to hear them.

(rest assured that MLW also cannot wait for me to hear them.  Oh, you either, of course.)

MLW: The Rochester scene seems pretty rich right now and gaining momentum. Any comments to make about being a part of that? To expand, who are some of your favorite artists locally to catch or share a bill with?

TG: The Rochester scene is CRAZY right now!! The music going on in Upstate NY is unbelievable. It seems to be getting better and better. There are a lot of talented people in this area. My favorites groups to see are Filthy Funk, Moho Collective, Subsoil, Mosaic Foundation, Manhattan Project, Rootscollider and Sophistafunk. There are just so many great original acts writing great music.

MLW: What is one (or two!) of your most memorable moments from performing?

TG:  1. Doing the WXXI Onstage TV series was such a great experience. Having a room full of people singing the songs that you wrote is one of the coolest things. 2. Diving back from playing a great festival in New Hampshire. We had such a blast there and then we got stuck in traffic for 2 hours in Saratoga because there was a Journey and Heart concert going on that day. We couldn’t get out of Saratoga and every car was blaring Journey as loud as they could! Every turn we took we were met with people blasting Don’t Stop Believin. It was hilarious. Make sure those guys aren’t playing somewhere you are driving through.

MLW: Are you ready for festival season? Any big things coming up this summer for you and the band?

TG: We only have a few festival dates this year. It sounds funny but we’re gearing up for the fall. We will have the new album come out around that time and even possibly a DVD. So we are kind of getting ready for September.

MLW:  As an independent artist, how do you feel the Facebook sphere has changed promotion and how does it actually relate to drawing fans? Do you feel it’s a useful tool that’s helped you guys grow your base?

TG:  Facebook is a very helpful tool for artists. It’s a great way to spread the word about upcoming shows and everything you have going on. If you see that a close friend likes a band you haven’t heard or posts videos, you are inclined to check it out. That’s where you might discover new music and that’s where its great.

MLW:  In addition to Funknut, I hear some buzz about your sitting in with AudioInflux lately! What’s the scoop on that?

TG:  Yeah, its been a blast. Those guys are fantastic musicians and really good song writers. Chris English asked me to fill in on the keys and I have been playing with them ever since. We’ve played some really great shows so far.

MLW:  Where can fans nab great Funknut merch to rock around in?

TG:  You can check out our website for all the merch or come to one of our shows and grab it there.

You can find FunkNut on the web at http://www.tinyace.com/live/ for the band website and https://www.facebook.com/Funknut to find them on Facebook.  Please enjoy the soulful sounds and support the locals around you who create stuff!

~MLW

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