Music fans of the world, unite! A new musical force is on the scene titled Samurai Shotgun, and they are out to convert every audience into hordes of loyal fans. This five-piece band boasts a roster that is as culturally diverse as the music they create. While in college nearly 10 years ago, the band was the brainchild of Mateo “Prince Golden” Henley, and fellow Recording Arts classmate, Marquis “DJ Qeys” Blocker. They reformed the group in 2011 with its current lineup, adding Bryant Harp on bass, Tyler Mulder on guitar and Jovan Lecaro on drums. Like the great warrior spirit they pay homage to, Samurai Shotgun is set to take on the musical world. Although they are loosely categorized as “progressive/alternative hip-hop” on indie sites such as Reverb Nation, this doesn’t come close to describing the unique sounds they produce. Blending and layering hip-hop rhythms, lyrical old school rap, and cutting and scratching with Latin that’s been infused with punk-influenced drumming, they top it off with slap and pop, funky bass and a heavy intricate bluesy guitar. Samurai Shotgun is the ultimate crossover band. Founding member DJ Qeys sums it up this way, “We all have totally different backgrounds and different ways of life, but on that stage when we come together as one, it’s perfect. A great mix of all these different influences, different genres, and the way we blend them together is what allows us to make our mark.”
The effectiveness of this blending was definitely apparent during their recent set on Sunday, May 26, at Ybor City’s Crowbar. From the first strains of “One Mind, One Heart, One Soul”, the band soon had the attention of the entire audience, from patron to employee. All eyes were on the performers, and for the next thirty minutes they proceeded to entertain, move, shake, mesmerize, scratch and pound away at their craft. Vocalist Prince Golden never stopped moving, jumping from stage to PA, to floor and back. Lecaro was a blur on the drums, Harp and Mulder were both in their own musical world while still fully in tune with their band mates. DJ Qeys and his tables acted as one entity, with each intricately layered element of the group working in perfect harmony. Pouring everything they have into each live show is the motto for this motley bunch and the experience they offer while on stage is not to be missed. “We want to deliver something fun, energetic, and exciting, something that will bring joy to people’s ears,” says bassist Harp when describing their approach to music and performing. Within that thirty minute set list, the genres crossed from funk, hip-hop, R&B, Latin, rap, rock, and metal to name a few. Other beauties that night included, “Ecuadorian Stand Off”, “Downtown Funky Pants”, the soulful “Escape Above”, and “Heavy Arms.” They finished the night with the heavy hitting “Force Of The Shotgun” in which Lecaro’s drumming could be felt in everyone’s chest as it reverberated out of the PA with ground-shaking results.
The band is quick to acknowledge that their diversity is key to their unique approach to songwriting and performing. “We all have open minds about our performance and we continue to learn from each other about music, which is what makes us so much more complex,” explains Lecaro. His statement is further strengthened by guitarist Mulder’s description of their show, “You really don’t know what you’re in for when you come to see Samurai Shotgun, it is truly a cornucopia of sound.” Sticking with the premise of something for everyone, this band is ready to make their way to the next step.
As lead singer and founder Prince Golden quickly pointed out, “Not only will everyone find something they like within Samurai Shotgun, when people attend our show, the one thing they can expect is something they’ve never seen before.” “Force Of The Shotgun” is the first single from their self-titled full-length album currently scheduled for a late summer release. The band has plans for hitting the road in support of their first album as the year progresses. Until the release, the official video is available on YouTube. Their next show is scheduled at Crowbar for June 4, which will be a great opportunity for their fans to catch this band phenomenon that calls Tampa Bay home before they strike out for the big time.
One Mind, One Heart, One Soul
Ecuadorian Stand Off
Downtown Funky Pants
Force Of The Shotgun