We spoke with Jacksonville-based funk-rock collective Anton Laplume Band which is comprised of Anton Laplume on guitar/vocals, Aaron Plotz on drums, along with the recent additions of Billy Begley on keys and Sean Thomas on bass/vocals. Since restructuring the dynamic group, The Anton Laplume Band has made leaps in its overall sound and we’re anticipating the release of some new tunes soon. You may recognize Billy Begley from Lucky Costello and Sean Thomas from Herd of Watts – if so you most likely have a mental audible picture of what’s to come.
The guys are opening for Perpetual Groove at 1904 Music Hall in Jacksonville this week. Tickets can be purchased HERE. Read the interview below:
How did the Anton Laplume Band come together?
Anton: I came up to Jacksonville two years ago from South Florida. I started putting the band together and over the two years it’s been different incarnations of the band. People have been coming and going and we’ve been switching it out.
Our bass player left and Sean happened to be available so we picked him up. Our last keyboard player before Billy had to go out of town for a while so Billy has been filling in on some of these gigs. Aaron has been with me since I moved up here.
[To Billy] How many bands are you in? When did you start working with Anton?
Billy: Five. Now that Lucky Costello has ended I’m in four. I started playing with this band back in May or June. I’m really good friends with the last keyboardist. He showed me all the songs and I was digging all his music and I wanted to be part of it.
Sean, what made you want to join the band?
Sean: I was playing with Herd of Watts and we weren’t playing much this year so I was open. I was looking for something to fill the gap. I hated not playing every weekend. Anton’s old bass player was looking for someone to fill in for a couple of shows so I filled in. He stopped playing with them and Anton offered me a lot of work playing with cover band – Side Hustle is another band we do. I did that a few times a week and then started learning the original music back in February or March. I enjoy playing with the guys. I enjoy the music too.
What’s your history with this band, Aaron?
Aaron: Anton had the project going for a while in south Florida. I’ve been part of the group since he moved to Jacksonville. Him and the other bass player had been playing for a while so I was sort of a newcomer. It was fun. It was challenging music which was right up my alley. It was interesting learning a new style.
Since we’ve added the new members, I think this lineup is really strong. Like Sean said, it’s a good group of guys. They’re fun to hang out with. We enjoy playing together and just chilling. It’s a good dynamic.
[To Anton] How would you describe the style you put together? Is it the vision you pictured from the beginning?
Anton: It started where I was playing a lot of acoustic guitar and writing songs by myself. I started meeting a lot of players in different genres of music. It influenced me as a player. From where I started with a singer-songwriter kind of thing, it morphed into a funk/rock/jam/jazz concoction. Even now with this new lineup the music is going in a different direction than I originally intended – all for the better I think. The overall vision is touring, playing festivals and getting out there and being a household name in that industry.
Billy, how does the sound of this group compare to some of your other projects such as Lucky Costello?
Billy: It’s more concise and structured. The other bands I’ve been in have been more improvisation 90% of the time. I like the structure. It sounds more mature. The other bands I’m in now are mostly covers and side projects, but this one is more original music. It’s much tighter.
Sean, would you agree with that as far as in comparison to Herd of Watts?
Sean: I’d agree with Billy. The songs are more coherent. It’s definitely a little less of the improve jamming that I’m used to. The songs lend themselves to improv jamming, but I think it takes a lot of time and chemistry to figure out how everyone fits together within a creative space. We’re getting to a point where we’re figuring out each other’s tendencies more. It’s similar to what I’ve played before, but it’s definitely got some different characteristics. The songs are more rock and funk based, compared to when I was mostly doing funk, jam and improvisational music.
[to Aaron] Is this the same style you’re used to? You mentioned earlier having to learn a new style.
Aaron: Most of the music I played was very structured and written out. This music has definitely structure and guidelines; it’s a language. But for me, there’s more improvisation. It’s been a really fun and challenging experience.
[To Anton] Do you do all of the composing and arrangement yourself? Or how do the songs come together creatively?
Anton: Up to this point, I’ve brought a skeleton to the band and we start arranging ideas and changing things around. Usually I have the lyrics, progression and a basic arrangement then we bring it to the band. From there they add their input to it. The idea is to eventually make it more of a collaborative writing process.
Tell us about the last EP you released. When was that released?
Anton: It’s called So It Begins. You can find it on Spotify, iTunes, Amazon. It came out about almost two years ago. We did a release show for it at the beach. I got it done right before I moved to Jacksonville. I brought the songs to the table but a lot of the arrangements were done by our old bass player, Shawn Saul. He helped shaped those songs into what you’re hearing now. I would say now we’re going in a different direction from what that EP is portraying.
Has the present band lineup completed any new songs together yet?
Anton: Yes, the band has completed some new material with the present line up. I would say the style musically is definitely rock influenced but with a funky groove. It’s highly arranged but with improv sections. I’d equate it to a a simplified Umphrey’s tune. The lyrics are self reflective and come from a singer/songwriter approach of writing. The song is called “Promise Land” and we’re all really excited about the way it’s coming along.
What are the plans for releasing a full-length project?
Anton: We have plans to get back into the studio at the end of March and work on the next EP. I think we’re all in agreement on holding off on a full-length album until it makes a bit more sense. Right now we’re just focusing on putting out content and getting the name out there.
What other plans do you have for the upcoming year?
Anton: We have a lot of traveling planned – a few runs up to the Carolinas, Florida runs, and we have a festival locked in as well. Not sure I can say which one just yet until they release the lineup but we’re stoked about it. We also are in the midst of a full on re-branding campaign with new merch, new music, new logo, and tossing around the idea of a new name for the band as well. Got a lot of great things in the works and we’re all really excited about the direction we’re heading.
The Anton Laplume Band – Fly Back Home (Live at Chromatic Studios)