“It’s a huge endeavor. The Funky Uncle Lounge will be the first time a live music club will be rolling as a Mardi Gras float [Saturday, February 10 in the Krewe of Tucks parade]. We [Soul Project] got hired a few years ago to play a party for the Krewe of Fat Bankers. They’re good people. Total partiers. They’re the last float in Tucks, wearing all the afros and day-glo, blaring on 30 speakers funk music: James Brown, the Meters, Parliament Funkadelic.
We’re extremely grateful for this opportunity and all the exposure. It’s embarrassing but they made beads with a picture of me—and it’s not a very flattering picture—that says, ‘Soul Project Live at the Funky Uncle Lounge.’ They’re throwing 30,000 of these things out there!
Besides Grace at the Greenlight, the homeless charity that they support, that is the mission of the Fat Bankers—to spread the funk. Riding with them the last few years, I’ve watched the people as we’re rolling by, playing James Brown, and it doesn’t matter who they are or how they’re dressed—they’re dancing. People need more funk in their lives even if they don’t know it yet.
I was born in Chile and moved with my parents to New Jersey when I was three. Growing up in the north, this kind of music was never on my radar. I got to New Orleans in 2000 and started working at Tipitina’s, which exposed me to the music and the scene. Hearing George Porter changed my life and showed me the way.
I started Soul Project in 2001. About seven years ago the core group came together and we released our first album [Music for Movers and Shakers, 2013, Frenchmen Street Records]. We didn’t know what we were doing. For our new album [The Long Hustle, Soul Universal Productions, set for release February 25th], we decided to do it ourselves, at our own studio. We had to teach ourselves how to do it, but we got a really good handle on it; we messed around until we got it right. We had a real good team in the studio. We had braniacs, we had music snobs, and we had me, just trying to make it all feel good.”