Fabulous Red Diesel: We got together through Earth Spirit, a tiny festival in Sussex. It was total heaven in the woods. We used to go there in the 90s and played on Bohemia Muse, a brilliant woodland stage built around an oak and yew tree that had grown together. At the time we were all in other bands, but over the years we all came together in a magnetic sort of fusion to create this one sound. The Fabulous Red Diesel got together in 2005, Kat (vocals keys and flute) and Wil (drums) had moved down from London and wanted to start a funk band after the breakup of their previous band, Naked Angel. Chris ‘Count Bouncy’ Piper was on bass and ‘Crazylegs’ Max on Guitar. Si ‘Rabbi Jaffa Delicious’ joined 2 years later on guitar and trumpet. Max left the band and moved to London. Bea arrived next on Trumpet and finally Voodoo in 2012 on the trombone and percussion.
AG: How would you describe your music?
FRD: That’s tricky, we are the only ‘Festy-Funk’ sextet that we know of, but it’s more than that. Its communication, on a very physical level, both between the 6 of us, and then between us and the audience. We make sounds, the audience respond by moving, smiling, nodding, and when the evening progresses to that point, dancing. We create a bubble, a land we call ‘Groovyville’, and when we begin to play it appears. You enter through a portal which opens as you start to relax and listen and you step inside it for the evening. I regularly see grown adults transformed into 13 year olds, back at the school disco, losing the years like in Cocoon, dropping all the worries and cares they came in with. They smile and laugh and are totally amazed that they have no idea what sort of music they are listening to, but it creeps in and unlocks parts of themselves they had forgotten about. And when the evening is over, the portal gently closes and we all go home. But you don’t forget the feeling, you take a little piece of ‘Groovyville’ home with you, and you can replay it at your leisure, until the next time we all meet up of course and then it starts all over again.
AG: Who writes your songs?
FRD: The music is written by Kat, the lyrics, chords and initial arrangement. Kat then plays it to the band, as a piano and voice acoustic song. Then if the band like it, they start joining in, everyone adding their own parts however they see fit. The band tweak and mould the song into The Fabulous Red Diesel sound, and there you have it.
AG: How many albums have you released now?
FRD: ‘Freaks is Comin‘ in 2008. ‘We know it’s 43‘ in 2011 and ‘You’re Luvly You Are’ (recorded live at Hastings Beach Concert in 2013) in 2014 - digital only at the moment, with a physical release coming very shortly.
AG: You’re known to be a great live band. What are the best gigs you’ve played so far?
FRD: Hippodrome Casino last Christmas, Rye international Jazz Festival, The Lamb in Lewes on the bonfire society’s last night, Fat Tuesday and opening Jack in the Green on bank holiday Monday. It’s so hard to say, we always have amazing gigs at the Jenny Lind and Pissaros. The best gig we didn’t play, would be Bestival this year - we were already booked to play a 40th birthday in Tunbridge Wells and couldn’t let the birthday boy down, so we had to say no. Hopefully we’ll be on for next year.
AG: What’s next for The Fabulous Red Diesel?
FRD: We’ve just been taken on by an agent, MotherJazz, which is great. We’ve also got a new album out in the autumn called ‘Fur Coat, No Underwear’. A promotional video, made by local film maker Keith Rodway at Fat Tuesday 2014, is nearly complete. Hopefully we’ll be doing a festival in Paris in late September, and have plans for a few small festivals in Holland and Germany in 2015. We plan to continue to do what we have been doing so far. We would love to do Fat Tuesday again and also find a good record label/promoter to help us shift some copies of the new album to a more international market.
AG: How would you describe the music scene in Hastings?
FRD: It’s Bohemian, diverse, rich, very talented, with a brilliant mix of styles. You can always find something you like and always someone to discover. I like the way established international artists like Liane Carroll play in their local wine bar regularly and then the next week she will be at some amazing awards night! We love Fat Tuesday, it’s totally awesome, the organisation, and the way the town turns out, fully masked up and really up for it. I also love Jack in The Green, and the way they totally make use of all the local talent. The pubs are fantastic, the Jenny Lind and Pissarro’s are full of the best audiences! Hastings people are so up for a party.
We certainly agree with that and can’t think of a better band to get that party started than The Fabulous Red Diesel.