Footwerk debuts new album, performs at JamBrew Festival.
A 2012 Craigslist ad brought Footwerk together when hip-hop lyricist Kyle Higginbotham was in search of a band and discovered, with the help of five other DMV musicians, a sound somewhere between the go-go melodies of Andre 3000 and soulful passion of Mary J. Blige.
“It was natural,” according to Higginbotham, who knew from the artists’ first jam session that what they had was a group determined to stretch their musical boundaries. They did just that with their June 2015 release, “Casual Encounters,” an album meant to resonate with its listener just as the songs themselves connect with the musicians who wrote them. “It’s life, whatever is going on,” Higginbotham says in response to what inspires his writing. “And the concept behind [the album] is this idea of social media consuming us, to where it’s rare to have real encounters with people anymore.”
Through their live shows, dubbed “no strings attached” performances, Footwerk has always maintained a sense of connection, of “real encounters” with their fan base as Higginbotham states. “We allow the mood of the venue to determine where the show heads. … We toured with [D.C.-area band] SOJA for a time, and the audience loved our intimate, interactive style.”
What you see is what you get with Footwerk, whose latest album is set to a lively instrumental backdrop and maintains a tone of powerful emotion. Songs such as “Eva,” written by the mononymous bass player Fern about his daughter, provide the album honesty while the R&B-infused “Clean my Soul” is designed to “snap you back to a place in time,” according to Higginbotham, where hardship and heartache was the reality. “I find [when struggling to find inspiration] that is life’s way of telling you to live a little more,” he says. Every live show is a chance to express a feeling near and dear to the heart, where the “emotions can’t help but come through on stage.”
Don’t believe the hype? See for yourself Sept. 18 when Footwerk performs at Herndon’s free to the public JamBrew Concert Series.