Gravity A Closes Wednesday at the Square
June 12,2014
-Laura Cayotte

YLC’s Wednesday at the Square concert series came to a close with the eclectic sounds of Gravity A. I first heard Gravity A play in 2010. They were just finding their (bare) footing with a regular gig at Mid-City’s Banks Street Bar and a set at Bayou Boogaloo and I interviewed them for the Nola Defender. They were the first band I met here, the first band I ever interviewed, and some of the first people I got to know here through my cousin’s-stepson’s-best friend’s-exwife, the only person I knew in New Orleans when I moved here in 2009. But, she left the city and I haven’t heard Gravity A since.

2 of the 4 players are new to me, Devin “Deving Devine” Kerrigan on bass and Danny “The Most” Abel on guitar. It was great to see the familiar faces of Michael “Fou” Fouquier on drums and Andrew “Drew Meez on da Keys” Meehan on keyboards. The band continues to cover the occasional Paul Simon or Talking Heads song with their “New Orleans Funktronica” flavor but their originals have really taken shape and their funk, electronica, rock, indi, experimental voice is stronger than ever.

It was a different kind of sound for the concert series, more youthful and alternative, but the crowd took to it right away. The band was nominated for Best Funk Album of the 2012 Best of the Beat Awards and the Best Electronica Act at the 2010 Big Easy Awards. One of the defining characteristics of New Orleans and jazz music in my estimation is the ability to evolve as new cultures are introduced. Since the pre-Civil War drum circles in Congo Square, our music has been like good gumbo where each ingredient keeps its flavor even as is becomes part of the mix. Gravity A has illustrated better than any other band that there is room to add the flavor of electronica to our New Orleans gumbo.

Check out their album, New Beginnings, one of Offbeat Magazine’s Top 50 Louisiana Music Albums of 2013. I missed way too many Wednesdays this year but I continue to be grateful to the Young Leadership Council (YLC) and their many generous sponsors who bring us this fabulous free series every spring. Though their was plenty of yummy food available, I only had eyes for a nectar sno-ball from Plum Street ($3). As always, it feels good knowing all the money serves to help the YLC civics organization continue their mission of making New Orleans a better place.

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

My Spilt Milk
December 20, 2013
-Alex Rawls

Gravity A has spent the last few years finding itself and its audience. Drummer Michael Fouquier and keyboard player Drew Meehan knew they wanted to play live electronica when they started playing together in 2006, but the lineups affected how fully they achieved the goal. In 2008, they cut their debut album, Naissance, when at the time sounded like a prog rock jam band just starting to find its way. With the new New Beginnings, Gravity A’s much closer to realizing their vision, and they’ll play the Maple Leaf Bar Saturday night, then with The New Mastersounds New Year’s Eve at the Joy Theater.

They had a concept when they recorded Naissance, Fouquier says, but “we didn’t know what we were doing in the studio. We had written songs, then we had some songs that were way out of place in the middle of everything.” They cut it in a weekend and now feel like much of it was forced as they had to nail down sections in the studio that had always been improvised live, but “I can still listen to the record and enjoy it,” Fouquier says.

That incarnation was more jazzy than intended, but Gravity A started to change when one guitarist left to pursue yoga, and they split with a bass player over the band’s direction. Danny Abel joined and solidified the guitar chair, but they continued to go through bass players including an extended stretch with Bru Bruser from Gov’t Majik, but his preference for funk and Afrobeat led the band in a more conventionally funky direction. Khris Royal has played sax with them and even did a short stint as a bass player as well.

“He’s gone on tour with us and he’s helped develop the songs – How about this chord instead of that chord? – stuff like that,” Meehan says. “He knows the ins and outs of the music.”

Finally, they connected with Devin Kerrigan, a UNO music student on sax who started off on piano. He picked up the bass, joined the band, and things moved closer to the music Fouquier and Meehan envisioned. Gravity A had cut some tracks for New Beginnings before Kerrigan joined, and they had him recut the bass parts. “He was the right fit,” Meehan says.

The album is less out there than the combination might sound. It’s easy to imagine the title track and a few other pieces as straight funk tunes in the Umphrey’s McGee mode, and only “Developing Civilization” flirts with the freaky side of synthetic textures. In those cases, the electronica elements add something, whether it’s a mood or swell. The most complete integration of Gravity A’s components comes in “Some1 Like You,” where the Kerrigan’s bass percolates as if the the groove will go on forever on a passage that gives way Cristin Bradford, who sings the title phrase and imposes a soul jazz vibe on the song. Like much DJ-oriented music, the sections feel collaged together more than one organically growing out of the other.

Fouquier became interested in electronic dance music when he started going to the State Palace raves in 2002 toward the end of their run. As a drummer, he connected to drum & bass, then when he and friends jumped a fence, snuck into the High Sierra Festival in northern California, he saw Sound Tribe Sector Nine and knew what he wanted to do. “ That’s the first time I saw any band play drums & bass and trance music with live drums, and it clicked that that was possible,” he says.

Sound Tribe Sector Nine and The Disco Biscuits have pioneered an electronica band circuit, and there are places in the country where it is big. Unfortunately, New Orleans hasn’t proved to be one of them. The jam/funk audiences have been slow to embrace the idea of loops and sequenced parts folded into the music, and electronic dance music audiences don’t think about bands. “The only live music they go see involves one person and a laptop,” Fouquier says. “It’s hard to get them to accept that it’s happening with live instruments.”

There are loops in 40 to 50 percent of their songs, but those elements are just one part of their identity. “We always knew we wanted to be a band that was playing electronica music with elements of funk and New Orleans sounds,” Fouquier says. Playing with loops took some getting used to, and they learned when they played the Banks Street Bar regularly how to get in sync with loops. “If you lose it, you really lose it and that’s a train wreck,” he says. “That doesn’t happen anymore.”

Drummers who play with electronic elements often perform with a click track in their monitors to help keep them in time with those parts. Fouquier prefers to have the loops in his monitor instead. “It would take away the musicality and inspiration if I was hearing in my ear deet deet deet,” he says.

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Offbeat Magazine
November 01, 2013
-Frank Etheridge

Drawn to a unique melding of funky backbeats, arena-rock riffs and the pleasing aesthetics of the Apple-lit jam generation, fans (via a Kickstarter campaign) financed New Beginnings, the first LP from space-rockers Gravity A since adding guitarist Danny Abel and bassist Devin Kerrigan. This investment pays immediate dividends when, three minutes into the opening title track, the raw power and pure intention this promising young band possesses at its peak moments come alive in the stellar synth work of Andrew Meehan, tenacious drumming of Michael Fouquier and blistering saxophone of Khris Royal, who, though not officially a Gravity A member, is a live-set staple and contributes to four tracks on the album. “Funny Face” ushers in an ass-shakin’ dance party, complete with enchanting disco-diva vocals courtesy Mykia Jovan. Abel flexes solid Southern-rock muscle with bluesy guitar leads on “Simple Man,” a seemingly absurd Lynyrd Skynyrd cover that actually works, with Dumstaphunk’s Nick Daniels III’s rich, deep vocals an unexpected treat. Kerrigan’s thump dominates the intro to “2-4-2’sdays”—an extended jam with like-minded musicians in Royal, Derrick Freeman, Tim Green, M@ Peoples and Christin Bradford, whose vocals on “Some1 like You” lend a chilling beauty to the cohesive, yet sonically complex, groove of Gravity A, local funkonauts likely soon destined for orbits far beyond just our own.

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Where Yat Magazine
April 01, 2013
-B. M. Wilson

Self-described New Orleans funktronica band Gravity A seems transported out of some entity’s syncopated dream. There is so much raw energy and dynamic movement in their music that at times, it feels almost chaotic. Chaos never sounded so good. Gravity A’s musical talents are obvious to anyone who has ever had the pleasure of having their ears blessed by one of their brilliant and stylish auricular fusions. The ferocious complexity and dizzying pace of some of their hypersonic assaults is perfectly balanced by the inebriating depth and beautiful accessibility of their slower compositions. The band members—Andrew “Drew Meez on da Keys” Meehan on keys, organ, and synths; Michael “Fou” Fouquier on drums; Devin “Deving Devine” Kerrigan on bass; and Danny “The Most” Abel on guitar—are all NOLA natives. The band formed in New Orleans in 2004, and it is very clear that the musical heritage of this great city runs deep within them. All that ability, energy, skill, and focus is poured into Gravity A’s live shows in a way that’s bound to ensure anyone a great concert experience. When Gravity A jams out, they really jam out! Some of their shows have been known to keep on rocking until the cock crows. Their raw skill and insane facemelting improvisations are as good, if not better, than any that you’ve ever seen. Gravity A keeps the beat grooving to get your body and your feet moving. When it comes to live shows, it doesn’t get much better than this.

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

The Advocate
May 03, 2013
-Shruit Chowdhary

Gravity A, a New Orleans funk band, has garnered quite a following in the Big Easy over the last few years. However, the meaning of the band’s name still remains a mystery to some of its most loyal followers.

“It’s a science fiction idea that if you move gravity from A to B, the particles of matter would follow,” Michael Fouquier, the band’s drummer, explained. “Kind of like music bringing people together. People have been coming to see us for the last eight years. It’s evolved into a family.”

The original members of Gravity A all grew up in the heart of funk central, New Orleans. Fouquier (drums) and Andrew Meehan (keyboard) grew up in the same neighborhood and even went to the same primary school. But their musical orbits didn’t overlap until 2004, when the band was created.

Gravity A’s only full-length album, “Naissance,” was released in 2007. It showcases three years’ worth of experimenting with funk and electronica concentrated into nine tracks, mastered by John Fischbach.

“The bass player liked to write pretty dark stuff, minor keys, as far as the mood goes,” Fouquier said. “The guitarist was brilliant, heavily jazz-influenced. It’s a great album, start to finish. We still play some songs from ‘Naissance,’ like ‘Watching Myself Walk’ and ‘Annie,’ but we play it differently than how we originally performed it.”

The original guitarist and bass player eventually left the band. They were replaced by Danny Abel (guitar) and Devin Kerrigan (bass), who helped morph the sound of Gravity A into something quite unique.

“The new bass player and guitarist have a different approach to music. We call it ‘NOLA funktronic,’” Fouquier said. “I like a lot of electronica. Within the last year, Danny has been writing some heavily electronica-influenced music.”

Gravity A’s new line-up released an EP last year called “Renegade Masters.” The intro of the title track resembles the backtrack on Tinie Tempah’s “Wonderman,” followed by a guitar riff that leads into a Bomfunk MC-style vocal loop. All three tracks of the EP are tastefully synthesized, overlaying real instruments on top to give it a fresh NOLA funktronic twist.

Along with their slightly different sound, the band is taking a more focused approach to their live performance.

“Now, we dig in, we rock out a lot harder than we used to,” Fouquier said. “Our shows are more energetic and intense, like Andrew will be playing three different keyboards in the same section of a song. It’s pretty impressive.”

Gravity A is also gearing up to launch a 30-day Kickstarter campaign to fund the completion of their second full-length album.

“We’re shooting for the summer. We’ve got a little more studio time, but the bulk of the work is post production, mixing and mastering. We do all of it ourselves,” Fouquier said.

Until then, check out “Naissance” and download the “Renegade Masters” EP for free on their website, GravityA.com

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Offbeat Magazine
March 01, 2012
-Brian Boyles

On this three-track EP, Gravity A generates an impressive selection of sounds, amalgamated within the tricky livetronica genre. Against the yardstick of an electronica DJ, many bands would come off as simplistic, lacking resources when compared to the infinite choices of the digital world. Gravity A is certainly not one of them.

I dug the space synths of the first track, and the programmed beats will feel familiar to anyone who danced or played videogames last century. If you dug U.N.K.L.E or the Jungle Brothers, or even the Mahivishnu Orchestra, and would like to hear them stacked and played at substantial speed, check it out.

On “Goofy Song,” the band begins with a thoughtful lounge mood, progresses into a powerful groove, then suddenly pivots into an unrelated bridge. From there, we’re off to the Meters and the break beats and Phishy-jams that followed in their wake. While the change of gears is severe, this is an EP and the guitar work from Danny Abel is sophisticated, if a bit over-noodled.

The vocal sample on the last track focuses a cinematic collage, seemingly culled from a dream about an autobahn that encircles the French Quarter. As with the entire EP, we cover a lot of ground, with flashes of the past and future rushing by crystal clear windows. Gravity A makes dramatic music, with an interesting vocabulary. While this risks the establishment of an identity, they offer more twists, notes, and suggestions in three songs than many bands do in three albums.

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Where Yat? Magazine
September 30, 2011
-Greg Roques

Renegade Masters Review

Gravity A’s Renegade Masters is the kind of album that keeps you guessing. Each of its mostly instrumental tracks progressively solidifies its sound from a selection of improvisational stylings—electronica, jazz and funk —stacking on new layers when you least expect it.

Renegade Masters breaks out with the title track, wasting no time prodding the party to life with a funky house beat that progressively streams into a tsnuami of break-beat drumming and wailing jazz guitars. “Goofy Song” begins with a sedate-synth rhythm, smoothly easing into a soothing, down-tempo lounge groove. The album closer, “Some1 Like U,” is a steadily-paced trance-y track that can both hype up a crowd, or play as a cool psychedelic vibe to chill out to—the EP’s stand out song.

Gravity A’s sound reminds me of a less calculated, more organic early Fatboy Slim.

As playfully unpredictable as this sampler is, it is an incomplete taste of the high-energy thrill of their live performance.

And the price is right—download Renegade Masters on the house at www.GravityA.com. —Greg Roques

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

JuJu Association
October 17, 2011
Eric Ward

Gravity A, the New Orleans based electronica/funk/hip-hop outfit, produce tremendous energy, at times restrained, often completely wild; on tracks like “Renegade Master”, “Watching Myself Walk”, or “Some1 Like U” (for example), they offer a dense, billowing, genre-warping brand of aural sensation that – if the recordings are any indication – must be a hell of a thing to witness live. An orgiastic cornucopia of colliding sounds and moods, this is stuff to ignite your nerves, to get your mind and body off and spinning, till you wear down the soles of your shoes and/or sparks fly up from your heels.
Gravity A are:
Mike Fou – Drums and cymbals
Drew Meez – Keys and Synth
Bru Bruser – Bass
Danny Abel – Guitar
Don’t miss your chance to see them up-close: they play every Wednesday night at Blue Nile. Check out the following tracks, available online: “Renegade Master”, “Goofy Song”, “Some1 Like U”, “Watching Myself Walk”, and “Gooballs”. Discs also available: 2007’s “Naissance” LP, and this year’s “Renegade Masters” EP.

Also, don’t miss Gravity A off-shoot P.Y.M.P, a “hip-hop/funk/electronica/rage” duo who promise an incendiary evening’s worth of “Big Time Gamblin’ Hustlin’, Ragetastic Adventures, Full On Double Rainbows, Steaks Straight up”…and while you’re at it, check out their track “Undaground Kings”, available to stream online. P.Y.M.P consists of “Drew Meez on the keys” (as well as “historic vocals”) and Mike Fou on drums, loops, and “crunchy vocals”).

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

“Gravity A distinguishes itself with an appealingly spacious sound that is often lush and mellow.” -Alex Rawls

Offbeat Magazine; December 2007

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Nominated Best Electronica/ DJ Act 2010

Gambit Best of the Big Easy Music Awards

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

“Gravity A is another band to watch. With Bru Bruser of Gov’t Magick on bass and Tim Green on sax, they just tore up the stage. This is a band that can play to a big room.” -Jay Mazza

The Viynl District, April 2011

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Feeling the Pull

The Defender Talks With Gravity A

by Laura Cayouette

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Where Y’at magazine CD Review of “Naissance” 

The highly anticipated premiere of local funktronica virtuosos Gravity A resonates with an exceptional artistry that is nothing short of their illustrious live shows. Their instrumental mastery manifests the complexity and uniqueness of their overall sound, while their youth renders their fresh and supple take on impressive genre fusions often only attempted via advanced computer music technology. The vitality these local 20-somethings have to offer to the ever-expanding NOLA music community is both uncanny and intriguing, exemplified clearly by this album. The title track, passionate and gentle, demonstrates the group’s ability to capture raw emotion in a slow and soulful ballad, and is then followed by the inescapably dance-provoking “Watching Myself Walk,” with bouncy syncopation and funk appeal to boot. These two tracks, especially when heard in succession, mark the unsuppressed and voluminous talents of this impressive quartet. Also certainly notable, “Requiem” features a guest saxophonist whose velvety melody compliments the group’s soft, but poignant tone on the track. Boasting a musical repertoire this intoxicating, Gravity A’s unbeatably energetic sound will make you think twice about just where that warm buzz is coming from. -Carolyn Heneghan