ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: THE WHITE BLINDS
THIRD GREY: First things first: who makes up The White Blinds and what are each of your roles?
THE WHITE BLINDS (Michael Duffy): Currently the band is made up of Carey Frank on Organ and Foot Bass pedals, Matt Hornbeck on Guitar and myself (Michael Duffy) on Drums.
What's the best description of your sound that someone else has come up with?
It's classic Soul Jazz, with a hint of James Brown and A Tribe Called Quest
How did The White Blinds Form?
At the end of 2015, I formed the band with Carey and guitarist Patrick Bailey, who I played with in my other band Jungle Fire. I scoured my record collection along with Patrick's knowledge of the 60's Soul Jazz sound, to compile a list of cover tunes to play and draw inspiration from.
Your live performances are quite captivating- your technical abilities are apparent but you’re also able to make a connection with the crowd very easily. Is this something that you’ve worked hard to achieve or has it come about easily via the way the band works together?
Yes and No. I would say the talent on stage has a good pedigree, all of us went to good music university and learned all the skills necessary to play our instruments well. But to get out there and preform instrumental music for an audience who may know the style of music we play or folks that don't, that has been just let's see if this works, and remembering the good things. Look, I feel you have to put thought into your delivery of the songs and also your banter with audiences, So at times, I feel it comes easy to us, but there are times we have to take a step back and work for it.
How do you divide the workload between group members (ie. answering emails, social media, bookings)?
Mostly I handle the day to day business, but everybody chips in when needed.
Is there something that you strive to achieve during a live performance?
Flow, like a great DJ set, again we are an instrumental band and keeping it moving, keeps the crowds engaged, so that is the thing that drive us.
Do you find yourself improvising during a live set or do you stick to the set list that you’ve created?
It's a 70/30 mix, we play the melodies of our song pretty consistent, but when any of us are in a solo mode, wheels off and let it fly, because we trust each other to keep it flowing and not go off the range to much.
What are some of your favorite spots in LA to put on a show or see other acts perform?
Well we've pretty much posted up and this cozy Cuban restaurant in Burbank, called Mambo's Cafe. It's where we started playing, so there is comfort for us and the family who runs it, has become our biggest supporter, beyond that, I would say The Echo, The Satellite and The Blue Whale.
When it comes to seeing other live performances, is there something that you pay attention to from a musician’s point of view?
I don't get too wrapped up in those things, if it moves me, I'm sold and I enjoy the ride.
What’s an album that you’ll always enjoy listening to in its entirety?
I have two, sorry: The City Champs-Safe Cracker and Grant Green-Live at the Lighthouse.
Was there ever a defining moment that set you on the path to becoming a musician?
The day I realized I could do it, if I didn't get wrapped up in other people ideas of what I should be doing, and just follow my path.
Do you have any creative outlets aside from music?
Cooking, building things and my dog Luna
What the best advice you’ve ever been given (musical or nonmusical)?
Two, from my father: Learn the power of No, and It's the Indian not the arrow.
Where can people find your music?