Miami-based producers Travis Acker and Trace Barfield, collectively known as Bedside, have added an element of seductive instrumentation to the Florida dance music scene over the last few years. After the premiere of a new song and mix this month, we wanted to find out more about what they’ve been creating since the 2016 EP, “One Night with You.” Bedside will be celebrating NYE in Jacksonville, FL at 1904 Music Hall with The Nth Power and members of Snarky Puppy. If this interview is any indication of what to expect on the dancefloor, it will be a groovin’ good time. Read our Q&A and listen to the new sounds below:
We had a new song come out recently with the release of “Get Off.” It’s almost impossible not to get stuck on this one. Tell us about the making of this song and collaboration process with Mike Mineo.
We started talking with Mike Mineo about a collaboration at the last Aura Music Festival in 2016. He played us a few tracks he was working on and we found one called “Pain” we fell in love with and created a remix. The remix came out so well we decided to work together on an original collaboration. Mineo lives in Nashville so we had to take advantage of his visits to South Florida but much of the music was hashed out in our home studios. We would produce instrumental beds for him to write lyrics to, and he would send the audio files back for us to clean up and blend into the tracks.
This remote collaboration was new to us and we learned a lot throughout the process about patience, timing and perseverance. “Get Off” captures our love for future funk and dance music while still keeping a traditional song structure and thoughtful verses. Mineo’s voice is truly one of a kind and we fell so blessed to have the opportunity to work with him. He is a great lyricist who takes pride in his messages and delivery. This single really has it all.
Have you been working with anyone else? What is the plan for releasing more recordings?
We have a few other songs with Mineo we are currently holding up our sleeves which we plan on releasing in 2018. We also have a nice catalog of instrumental tracks we have been sitting on. We have also been preparing to bring the live band back together. Late night sessions with sax player Rob Smiley of Fusik and The Beholders have been essential for tightening up the horn lines on our new set of live material we will be unveiling at 1904 Music Hall this New Year’s Eve. We have also been working Ron Eisner of the Resolvers to incorporate live guitar into the set.
Explain the progression of your sound over the years. How did your style sound in the beginning and how has it changed over the years? What led to the changes?
When we started Bedside we were coming from the live music world, so over the last four years we have learned a lot about all shades of dance music. Focusing on those elements we believe to be our favorite we have created a library of sounds, arrangements, songs and concepts that continue to drive the Bedside sound. Bedside is all about the funk with groovin’ bass lines, layered horns all driven by lots of four on the floor kicks and smooth building beats. As the project has progressed so has the quality of the sound design, our understanding of song structures, and our dance music sensibility.
At first we created the One Night With You EP to showcase our friends. After that we dove into creating an exciting hybrid DJ/live set for up to a nine piece band. In 2017 we set out to create a single we were proud to put our name on which led to the creation of “Get Off” and the collaboration with Mineo. We also only performed DJ and live duo gigs which pushed us to pinpoint what really works on the dance floor and what essential instrumentation made the live show fun and feel live. The latest from Bedside is funkier than ever really heightening the disco boogie influences. Bedside next year is the product of this past year in the studio developing new sounds and exploring different genres, then turning back into the original concept of dance beat driven funk into deep and dark blow downs then up into horn driven disco boogie jams. The changes have come through experimentation, circumstance and personal growth.
One of the shows I remember you playing was Fractal Beach two years ago. There were several live instrumentalists. We also remember Aura Music Fest, where you had multiple other artists joined you. You mentioned bringing the live band back together. Tell us more about those plans.
Live instrumentation has always been a part of the plan from the beginning, and in 2016 we focused a lot on the live band. We had a nine-piece band at Aura Music Festival, five-piece band at Fractal Beach, seven-piece band at Purple Hatters Ball and four-piece band at III Points. This was the first year we really shifted the focus to our live duo and DJ sets. We use keyboards, drums pads and controllers along with the trumpet and bass guitar to feature different live instruments throughout our set when we perform as a duo. It was important for us to spend time developing a tight duo set and we learned a lot about how we want to design the sets for the live band going forward. This NYE at 1904 Music Hall in Jacksonville we will be debuting much of our new live material as a live duo but in early 2018 we are preparing to bring the band back together for a run of live shows.
The NYE show is in our home base city, Jacksonville. Everyone is looking forward to this one as it is an all-around solid lineup.
We are so excited to be playing 1904 Music Hall on New Year’s Eve! To share the bill with the Nth Power and the rest of the amazing lineup is by far the best way to bring in 2018. We have been in the lab fine tuning some of the original tracks we played at III Points and the latest development for the full band set. NYE we will be adding live instruments and maximizing the energy by DJing our favorite tracks, playing live trumpet, slapping the bass, grooving out live digital percussion, ripping keys solos and bringing the nonstop jams to keep you dancing from 12:30 – 2:30AM.
Give us the recap on III Points this year. That was a big show for Bedside.
This III Points was amazing. Being our third year playing the festival, this year was different because we focused our energy on shaping an amazing all original DJ set instead of a live band performance. Using stem tracks we had full control of each layer of the song with the ability pull the drums of a track to create a break or switch out basslines to live remix our own material. This takes DJing to a new level of control where we can rearrange, remix and mashup audio in an improvisational manner. It was an honor being on the same line up as the most exciting artists on tour today including Bonobo, The xx, Rufus du Sol, BadBadNotGood and Kaytranada.
Reflecting back on 2017, what were some other accomplishments you achieved?
This was a year of growth both in our lives and musically. We made a conscious effort to pivot from the live performances to explore producing songs and revamping our sound. We learned that we are in it for the long haul testing our relationships with each other and those we work with. This year we found perspective and a new strength for 2018.
The Nth Power‘s NYE Love Train will feature Natalie Cressman of Trey Anastasio Band, and Chris Bullock & Justin Stanton of Snarky Puppy. The event will also host performances by Parker Urban Band & Friends, RECESS, Bedside, Vlad the Inhaler, BIG BUCKS CREW & Booty Boo. Purchase tickets on 1904 Music Hall’s website.
Interview by Charlie Hustle & Jen McKinnon