How did you come up with the name Outta Nowhere?
We wanted something unique but familiar when we were looking for a band name. We didn't want it to be just a name; we were looking for something like a phrase. Something most of us use in everyday life. We had a list of names to choose from and everyone liked Outta Nowhere. As we started kicking it around, it just seem to fit what we do and how people see and hear us. At show MCs would stay things like Outta Nowhere is out of sight or Outta Nowhere is going somewhere. It works well for us and our music. And hopefully people will remember the band named Outta Nowhere when they use that expression in everyday life.
You're based out of the San Francisco Bay Area which is a hot bed for great jazz, blues and funk. How do you feel that the region has influenced your sound?
We were all raised in San Francisco except Mike who is from St. Louis but we won't hold that against him. Steve, Mel, and Aaron were all listening to local R&B and Funk bands at an early age. We use to go to church every Friday night at Sacred Heart On the corner of Fillmore and Fell in the city. They had dances with live bands in the basement. Everyone would come out and have a good time. And this was for young kids, still in junior high. (I'm showing my age. I guess they call it middle school now). So naturally we picked up a lot of our flavor from that environment. Also there was a Radio Station that really got us interested in Contemporary Jazz. That station was KRE AM and 102.9 KRE FM. That station played a lot of fusion and contemporary music that just got you pumped and ready to play. They introduce us to artist like Stanley Clarke, Bob James, Grover Washington Jr., Billy Cobham, George Duke and so many other great musicians. Although we played in R&B Funk bands, we always knew that one day we would play this kind of music, music that we love and is part of our soul.
Each member of Outta Nowhere is a world-class musician. Can you drop a few names for us? Who have you guys played with?
We have played with a lot of great musicians. Not too many famous ones though. Individually some of us have worked with some pretty famous musicians in the past like Narada Michael Walden, Robert Winters, The Weather Girls, and Felton Pilot from Con Funk Shun. We've also performed on the same stage with Tower of Power, Rodger and Zap, Con Funk Shun, and Anita Baker.
How do you write music together?
When we write together usually someone will have a rift, or a chord progression, or a bass line, or even just a nice beat that feels good. Then we just build around it. There are times when one of us will come in with a song that is laid out structurally and has a good melody. Then everyone else will add their personal flavor to it until we find something we like. Or we will be warming up for practice and just jamming a groove and will think that was cool and we record it. Then listen back to it and think hey, there's a song in there somewhere. We will all take it home play with some melodies add some sprinkles. Then bring it back to the band and BOOM! New song.
What's the band's favorite gig to play?
I think we explode when we are at outdoor Festivals. When the weather is nice and there are other acts that we can enjoy listening to and then going out and just BAMM! Outta Nowhere!! But we also like the small intimate venue when the fans are close to the stage and the sound is warm and cozy. And you can see the smiles on faces as the rock their heads to the groove.
You have a critically acclaimed debut jazz album and significant radio play in the U.S. and abroad... What's the plan from here?
Really?? To keep it moving. Get out on the road so our fans get an opportunity to see us live. And increase our fan base. Give them something that they don't get with an every day smooth jazz artist. We want to put on shows that make you want to come see Outta Nowhere every time we come to town. Do some of the big Jazz Festivals around the country and then around world.