Elektric Voodoo is a “World Beat Rock & Roll” band from southern California that blends classic afrobeat, latin, rock & roll, psych, jazz, blues and many other influences into it’s own unique genre that tastefully straddles the line between modern and vintage.
The band started when Scott Tournet (founding member of Grace Potter & The Nocturnals) started writing new material after leaving the Nocturnals. “Musically I wanted to try something a little different than what I’d done before. I wanted to make music with an undeniable rhythmic pulse but I really didn’t want to make computer driven dance music as these past few years that seems to be much of what I hear.” To accomplish that, Tournet tapped into the rhythms of west Africa, Latin, and World music for inspiration. What came out the other side though was not just a world music project.
Tournet’s old band, The Nocturnals, had a quite a successful career which saw them write, record, and perform with The Allman Brothers, Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top), Taj Mahal, Dan Auerbach (The Black Keys), Robert Plant, Mavis Staples, Bob Weir, and many more. Through these experiences Tournet became schooled in song craft, soul, pop, blues, and classic rock & roll. So when he began writing songs to go on top of these powerful world rhythms the influences from his past shone through. What the listener is left with is a very unique sound that while immediately is very danceable, also offers innovation, song craft, and melody. Elektric Voodoo is a band that can excite and exhaust a Saturday night audience while also engaging and challenging more focused listeners.
Rounding out this powerful 7 piece ensemble with Tournet (vocals, guitar, harmonica) is Matt Bozzone (drums/percussion), Ty Kiernan (congas, timbales, percussion), Travis Klien (tenor sax, keyboards, percussion), Brad Nash (baritone sax, percussion) Willie Fleming (trombone, vocals, percussion), and Luke Henning (bass).
Elektric Voodoo’s first self-titled came out in late fall of 2016 and has received incredibly positive critical reactions:
Glide Magazine “tastes of The Flaming Lips, Santana, Fela Kuti, Tame Impala and The Arcade Fire break through atop this soulful collection of songs that are birthed with unlimited potential.”
Grateful Web– “They have, crafted a cohesive album that blurs the lines between genres and eludes classification, resulting in a sound and experience that appeals to a wide variety of audiences.”
Blurt Magazine– A perfect 5 stars!!!
Elektric Voodoo originally started out as a way for me to have a musical outlet after I left Grace Potter & The Nocturnals. After 13 years, touring and playing with a band were all I had come to know and after leaving I was left with a void. I started focusing on recording and engineering instead of going into a traditional recording studio to learn something new and also, honestly, because I couldn’t afford to. There was a steep learning curve and many a day was lost arguing with a computer screen. After some time though, I began to find my footing and a couple song ideas started to emerge.
Musically I wanted to try something a little different than what I’d done before. I wanted to make music with an undeniable rhythmic pulse but I really didn’t want to make computer driven dance music as these past few years that seems to be much of what I hear. I started by making imperfect loops of old wooden percussion that I found at yard sales around town. Maracas, tambourines, shekere, congas, etc. I’d find a rhythm that intrigued me and then I’d play guitar or bass over it until I found something that felt right. Next, I would record it on my phone and sing along to it nonsensically while driving (and roll up the window while stopped at red lights). Soon, I would come up with a melody and lyrics and then I would record it. I loved the process but it definitely took a lot of time.
After listening back to the recordings I decided that much of my drumming and percussion could be better. I reached out to John Staten (Karl Denson, Pimps of Joytime) who lives in San Diego and he came in and blew me away. The songs leaped out of the speakers after he added his gift to the music. Soon after I met Ty Kiernan who has been playing percussion regionally in San Diego for years and is a true student of his craft. Ty came in and schooled me on the art of percussion. He added Timbales, congas, bongos, shekere, etc and in the process exposed me to a whole world of rhythms that I didn’t know about. Together these guys pushed the rhythm of the record into a whole new stratosphere. I’m so grateful for their contributions.
With many new songs recorded I started getting the itch to play live again. It had been over a year since I had been on stage which was the longest amount of time since I started playing. I invited my friend Evan Lucas to play bass as we had been jamming together informally and had a very natural chemistry. John Staten was out on tour so Ty reached out to drummer Matt Bozzone (Todo Mundo) who came in and impressed with his skill and passion to continually learn and push himself. Finally, Mark Boyce (Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, G-Love) rounded out the group on keys. I had crossed paths with Mark on the road but we’d never met. As a musician, he is truly a force to be reckoned with.