“Soul Punk” — It’s like the Red Hot Chili Peppers are covering Michael Jackson with an early James Brown as the frontman.
“We’re not even really a soul band, because we don’t have horns. You know when you see soul singers, and they’re, like, cool and smooth? Yeah, that’s not us. We’re like that old stuff that you see on YouTube, the wild, crazy performances where the dude is sweating within the first song. Yeah, that’s how we are.” – Down North lead singer/dancer, Anthony Briscoe
Hailing from Seattle, Down North consists of lead singer/dancer Anthony “Renagade” Briscoe, guitarist Nick Quiller, drummer Conrad Real, and bassist Brandon Storms.
Raised on Michael Jackson, Sam Cooke and James Brown, Anthony Briscoe combines a style and emotional impact reminiscent of Prince in his vocal expressions and proudly steals the spotlight with his ballet-trained dancing while psychedelic-jazz guitarist Nick Quiller dominates the fretboard with a limitless imagination that explores the soundscape from high to low. Bassist Brandon Storms blends slap/pop bass lines with deep synth, and pitch bent solos that parallel guitar leads and Drummer Conrad Real glues together a foundation through impeccable groove and powerful chops, his finesse, intensity, and strength are evocative of Chris Coleman and John Blackwell.
As three of the four members are African-American, Briscoe says people try to typecast them as, “You know, black rock. But when you think about it, rock is kind of like Michael Jackson. It was black first.” Seattle Weekly gets to the core of what you can expect from their shows by saying, “It doesn’t matter how ‘cool’ you are; when Down North starts playing, you’re shaking your tail feathers on the dance floor with everyone else.”
“We really work on showmanship, so from the beginning to the end, we’re bringing a certain amount of energy to the plate.” Briscoe continues to say, “Back home they do this thing called the Seattle freeze, where they listen to the music and just stand there. I’m always like ‘come to party or go home!’”
Their unabating work ethic that gets their ‘Seattle freeze’ fans up and raving also continues into their writing and production. “We’re perfectionists, and we have visions in our heads,” says Briscoe. Portland Mercury News describes the song, “Heart Breaker,” as a, “Machine-gun funk guitar riff, marauding organ, and a jazzy electric piano break… The twin pillars of the band seem to be frontman/dancer Anthony “Renagade” Briscoe, whose talents—judging by the music video—need no further marketing, and drummer Conrad Real, who won Guitar Center’s “Drum Off” regional competition. Soul and funk are hard genres to pull off with any sort of authenticity in the year 2014, but Down North seem to have it… down.”
Recently, Down North co-headlined at Joshua Tree Festival this past May and headlined the Elkfest in Spokane, Washington in 2016 which was well received by the Seattle Weekly, The Spokesman, and Portland Mercury. This past November Down North signed to TKO Artist Booking and played Daryl Hall and John Oates’ Hoagie Nation Festival in Philadelphia as well as The Riverbend Festival in Tennessee and MusicFest in Pennsylvania. See here for their full tour dates.
“Soul Punk” – It’s inspired by everything from Motown, funk, and new jack swing to hard rock and pop.