People have a hard time pronouncing the name of Miami sextet Ketchy Shuby correctly. But after hearing these guys jam, South Florida fans have gotten used to saying the name: Keh-chee Shoo-bee. The moniker comes from a song by roots-reggae legend Peter Tosh. Back in 2008, there was a lot more reggae in their '60s-throwback rock 'n' soul sound, but nowadays, the troupe emphasizes the soul, having added a little funk and a splash of Afrobeat. The band has a name for this recipe of grooves: "downtown soul."
Having played almost every venue in Miami and even taken the stage at Little Havana's cubanisimo block party Calle Ocho, Ketchy Shuby is dominating the 305 sound. A hard-working bunch, the band members are starting to receive national attention, attributable to their dedication and relentless touring. At record-industry shebang South by Southwest, the band played six shows in four days. At Spin's showcase, frontman Jason Joshua Hernandez-Rodriguez engaged the crowd with his manic energy, frantic yelps, and even crazier hairstyle. Looking like he just stuck his finger in an electrical socket, Hernandez-Rodriguez's coif is voluminous and dynamic, much like the man himself.
New Times caught up with the eccentric, engaging Ketchy Shuby singer minutes before he took the stage at historic Miami haunt Tobacco Road.
Ketchy Shuby: Opening for the Mike Dillon Band. 9 p.m. Friday, May 10, at the Funky Biscuit, 303 SE Mizner Blvd., Boca Raton; 561-395-2929, funkybiscuit.com. Tickets cost $10 in advance, $15 at the door.
New Times: I was lucky enough to check you guys out in Austin at SXSW, at your gig at Spin House. How did it go out there — did you land any contacts or make any new fans?
Hernandez-Rodriguez: It was a true blessing and a dream of mine personally to perform at SXSW, especially at the Spin showcase. We had already booked a tour through Texas, and then were offered the Spin slot, so we were all amazed.
Did you make any industry connections? I always wonder how much SXSW really benefits a band.
We got to expose our music to a broader audience, and we were happy with that, and we met a lot of people.
But the right kind of people?
We definitely made connections and met some people. People who buy our music are the right people. We didn't go to SXSW to scope out record executives. We are pretty content just playing music.
Do you think Ketchy Shuby could work in any other city besides Miami?
I think our sound would work anywhere. It's soul music! It's harmonious. It's all about love. Good music is good music, and people everywhere and anywhere can enjoy that.
You've played such disparate festivals like Calle Ocho and the jam-band, patchouli-loving Aura Music Festival; explain which one was weirder for you guys to perform at.
Festivals are fun, man; all of our festival experiences have been a blast. Music is universal and brings these people to these places, you know? I would love to do more festivals in the future, no matter what kind. Calle Ocho was weird, though; our stage collapsed when we were playing.
What the heck? How did that happen at Calle Ocho, and were you able to finish the gig?
[laughs] Yeah, we did! It was the back piece of the stage. The winds blew that piece and crumbled the top of the stage into shit. It was scary but yet very funny!
So I hear you guys have plans to record a full-length.
Our new album is going to be a concept record and a time lapse. Think Os Mutantes, Beach Boys, late '60s.
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I think your hair is kind of a trademark of the band; would you ever cut it?
[laughs] I have noticed. I think it's funny, but I just trimmed my hair, actually, and was thinking of cutting it, but I like the length. It's pretty metal!
What else do you guys have planned for the future?
Just putting out the best music we possibly can! Setting Miami on fire and mostly touring, especially in California, with Europe and Tokyo in our sights.