The Miami-based improvisational jazz and rock band Electric Kif in many ways reflects South Florida’s diversity. Band members are from across the globe except for Miami native Armando Lopez on drums. Guitarist Eric Escanes is from France, keyboardist Jason Matthews is from Philadelphia and bassist Rodrigo Zambrano is from Mexico City.
Because of the band’s diverse upbringings, they come to the music with a wide variety of influences including funk, jazz, electronica, rock and more. They will be playing the Moksha Art Collective in Wynwood next Saturday as part of the Art Basel performances. The band spoke with Sundial’s Luis Hernandez about Miami’s music scene, the need for more music venues and why they describe their sound as “post-nuclear.”
WLRN: So (Jason) what were your influences? What was a lot of the music you were listening to growing up as a kid?
Matthews: Yeah I grew up on jazz pretty much in high school. But before that I was obsessed with progressive rock. Me and my brother were obsessed with this band called Yes which you probably know for sure. Pink Floyd, Yes and ELP ... I was really into that. And then I started going into the jazz clubs in Philadelphia like there's this place called Time and Chris' Jazz Cafe. And we would go and do the jam sessions every Tuesday and that's how I got into jazz, which led me to the University of Miami.
How old were you when you were going into those clubs?
Matthews: 15, 16. They had like a late night Tuesday jam. The guy was cool with us, he knew we were young kids just trying to jam so and no one was there. Late night it was just us pretty much watching like the older dudes. And you had to go and buy a drink so we could we would just buy Coke or whatever.
Compared to like other cities Seattle or L.A. or Chicago, where does Miami sit (in terms of its music scene)?
Zambrano: Low, low. I just think that like a lot of people in Miami don't want to pay to see live music. Well, like you said, mid-sized venues it's hard to get people to pay for tickets to see live music you know compared to other cities that we've played at all on the northeast. People always think it's included with the experience in a place that you go.
Who's going to describe to me what is post nuclear?
Lopez: We were watching a Jim Carrey standup on Saturday Night Live. He does a post nuclear Elvis where he's actually doing a Saturday Night Live audition. He's dancing like Elvis without arms. And we found it hilarious and we're like our music is like post nuclear. We write a lot of dark stuff. So it kind of fit in there.
Watch Electric Kif's in-studio performance.
December 8 - Moksha Arts Collective, 2545 N. Miami Ave., Wynwood
December 31 - Hometeam New Years Rally in Lakeland, FL
January 11 & 12 with Isaac Teel (of Tauk) at Voltaire/West Palm and Guanabanas/Jupiter
January 14 - Jam Cruise Kick Off Event with Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe at Blackbird Ordinary, Miami, FL