The six members that comprise Flow Tribe are card-carrying musical ambassadors for New Orleans. Raised in the town that eats, sleeps and breathes music, the sextet still calls the city home. Stylistically, Flow Tribe keeps one foot in the traditional jazz and R&B sounds of the Crescent City while adding in rock and funk layers. On Tuesday, Oct. 27, the band will perform at WorkPlay in a double-bill show with The New Mastersounds. Flow Tribe’s K.C. O’Rorke (vocals, trumpet) recently spoke about the band’s new album and New Orleans influence during a tour break.
Weld: You guys are touring in support of last year’s release, Alligator White. What was your goal for this album?
K.C. O’Rorke: Whenever we go into the studio, we’re trying to capture where we are as a band at that moment. Some of the songs we’d played live and some are things that we had kicking around. It’s a snapshot or a historical record of where we are.
Weld: As a New Orleans native, the musical education you received as a child must have been quite an experience.
KCO: It was great because you grow up with traditional New Orleans R&B, jazz and funk and you are also exposed to what everyone else is exposed to. When we were growing up, Sublime and Red Hot Chili Peppers were big influences for us. So, we got the best of both worlds. Music is such a big part of the culture down here and we naturally gravitate to those sounds.
Weld: After Katrina decimated the city in 2005, your band became even more inspired to be a mouthpiece for New Orleans.
KCO: Our families were all affected by Katrina – everyone was affected on some level. At that time, we were a young band starting out and it really galvanized us to think, “Things aren’t permanent so if we’re going to do this, we need to do it now.” It gave us a sense of purpose. It was like, “Maybe New Orleans isn’t going to be around forever and maybe it’s our responsibility to take what we love about it, put our own stamp on it and get it out there to people.” It was definitely a catalyst for us to take the music more seriously and make a go of it.
Weld: How do you reconcile the impact of technology in music? There’s a lot of accessibility but also a lot of challenges in being heard among the crowd.
KCO: I think that’s always been a struggle. Today, there are more avenues but how do you attract those people to the music? It’s definitely a double-edge sword. It has put power into the band’s hands if you can use it correctly. You really have to be smart and know where to allocate your resources and your time. We’re building a studio right now in New Orleans and it’s going to be a hub of creativity for artists. I think that’s going to set us apart and allow us to put out more music and more videos in a setting that’s comfortable and our own.
Flow Tribe perform at WorkPlay on Tuesday, Oct. 27 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20. For more information, visit workplay.com.