The Sting

Vulfpeck: The underdogs that are reviving soul

James Quiroz, Staff Writer

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Vulfpeck, a classic soul and RnB band from Ann Arbor, has released 2 leading singles and has caught the attention of millions, creating a rebirth for their “dated” genre. Founded in 2011, Vulfpeck has been at the forefront of modern jazzfunk, soul and RnB for the past few years. Their manager/producer, Jack Stratton, orchestrates their unorthodox and comedic antics which propels them ahead of any other modern RnB band. A lot of the band’s popularity stemmed from their 2014 spotify album sleepify. The idea of the album was simple: have fans play the album on repeat while they sleep to maximize profits for the album, then all the profits made would be used in a totally free tour in the cities that raised the most money. The band has been notorious for being staunchly against the disgraceful amount of profit artists make by posting on platforms such as spotify. The whole sleepify album was a bit controversial because many individuals felt the idea was cheating the system and abusing the ability of spotify by making money without producing any actual music, but, as Jack Stratton stated, “… let’s focus on the fundamentals: bounce pass, jump shot, pick n’ roll and that kinda stuff, y’know”.

Vulfpeck Mit Peck album cover

Vulfpeck has a very loyal fanbase and every concert during the sleepify tour filled maximum capacity for their venues.

Each musician is also highly revered for their talents and the nostalgia they bring to the music industry. All the band members play very specific and specialized instruments pertaining to their genre, which helps them attain such a unique sound. Woody Goss is their main keyboardist. He mains in Rhodes pianos and clavinets, two instruments which were imperative to 70s funk and jazz. Joe Dart is their bassist and is considered one of the best RnB jazz bassists of the 21st century. His specific playing style creates a very unique sound, which almost sounds like a muffled thumb pluck. He has designed many signature series basses and amplifiers with many companies, which is rare for a young artist in an uncommon genre. Jack Stratton is their manager/producer, who writes a lot of their music and usually plays piano and drums with the band. He is the inventor of the vulf compressor which is a sort of reverb the band uses on all of their music, which helps distinguish their sound. Vulf compressors can be purchased on logic pro X and is a very classic sounding filter, which sounds like a cross between a fuzz filter and a studio compressor. Theo Katzman (drums and guitar), Joey Dosik (trombone and guitar), Antwaun Stanley (vocals) and Cory Wong (rhythm and lead guitar) are all technically part of the band, but all have their own bands which they float in between. The beauty of Vulfpeck is that they feature many talented artists and put them in an environment where they play Vulfpeck’s unique style of music.

In a way, Vulfpeck has created their own unique genre which can be attributed to their specialized members. The combination of bass, clav, wurlitzer and minimalist drums allows for a funky and jazzy sound which doesn’t seem to reflect any past time period of music. Certain musicians use vintage instruments and create a classic sound that can be categorized into a classic genre; not Vulfpeck. Since 2011, Vulfpeck has been creating new age music with vintage instruments and it clearly works well for them.  With millions of fans, Vulfpeck’s new album Hill Climber will surely be another feather in their hat. Their two teaser Ep’s are on apple music now and both sound amazing. If Hill Climber does as well as their last three albums, there will surely be more to come of this funky band.


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Vulfpeck: The underdogs that are reviving soul