Interview by Scott Preston
Laura Reed & Deep Pocket fill the stage with captivating, soul shaking, conscious music. The crowd is emerged with lyrics of truth and a voice of intensity backed by bass, organ, and drums, horns, and harmonies reminiscent of the past days of motown and funk.
The roots of their sound and message stem from Laura’s diverse experience of growing up in South Africa and the American South. Formed in the summer of 2006, the band switches up the music between funk, progressive R&B, and pure SOUL behind Laura Reed’s captivating stage presence.
Throughout their career Laura Reed & Deep Pocket have shared the stage with/recorded with: The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, George Clinton, Peter Rowan, Belita Woods (PFUNK), Gary “Star Child” Shider (PFUNK), Rob Mercurio (Galactic), Larry Jackson (Earth Wind and Fire), Ike Stubblefield (The Funk Bros), Kendra Foster (PFUNK), Sam Bush, The Blue Rags, The Overtakers, Natti Love Joys, The Lee Boys, Dan Adams (Chaka Khan), Blueground Undergrass, DC (Dr. Dre/Erykah Badu), and Pato Banton.
This music is visionary in it’s strive to spread a message of empathy and love for humanity in the unconditional form of music and the raw reflection of the human condition. Laura states music as the most honest and pure expression in her life, a language that allows her to release “what I could never even admit to myself or say out lout, but can sing.” When she sings you can feel her soul coming through the speakers, whether it’s smooth R&B, funky reggae, or just down right SOUL MUSIC.
Cincy Groove: Did your gig go well at Floydfest?
Laura Reed: In fact I think it might be in my personal top 5 favorite show we have ever done. There was a really good energy from the crowd. They came with a really nice vibe and we responded to that. It was really awesome.
Cincy Groove: Is there any live recordings of your shows?
Laura Reed: Yeah, there is a lot on archive.org and on our website. We are also releasing a live album in October. There’s quite a bit of live material out there. I’m not even sure how much, because there are always tapers at our shows.
Cincy Groove: Is the live recording your releasing in October one whole show or a combination of shows?
Laura Reed: It’s actually part of 2 shows. One was on New Years Eve at Tree Sound Studios in Atlanta, which is the studio we work from. The other show was a Pandora private party we did. Pandora footed the bill for hiring a professional film crew to come in and video record the show. The live album will come with a disc of live music from those 2 shows and a live dvd that is in high def.
Cincy Groove: How do you feel about the internet as it relates to the music industry?
Laura Reed: I think its great. It’s really leveled the playing field in a big way. As an independent artist we use the internet as a tool on a daily basis. You can release something without being on a record label and be able to support yourself as a musician. You can really promote yourself in a lot of different ways and connect to musical communities in different areas. We are always researching different bands we can collaborate with. The internet is a great way as well to educate yourself about the business and about music. It’s really great. I think its great when people share music. I don’t get upset at all when someone tells me that they burned my cd for a couple friends.
Cincy Groove: How long have you and your band been together? How did you all end up meeting?
Laura Reed: Almost 2 years. At the end of this summer it will be an official 2 years of the current lineup of Deep Pocket. Debrissa McKinney joined the band in December. She sings with me and plays saxophone as well. All of us were living in the same town. Ryan Burns, the keyboard player and myself had been playing music together around town. I had met Ben our bass player by chance. I had this what I thought was a solo acoustic show. I show up and so does another band. I asked them if they had a singer and they said not really. I said lets put the shows together and jam, I can freestyle and we can also play songs we both know. Ben was playing bass and I was really impressed with him as a person and as a musician. So I asked him to come practice sometime and join us. We started to solidify into a band.
Cincy Groove: Who would you consider some of the bands influences?
Laura Reed: Everyone in the band listens to a lot of different kinds of music. I listen to a lot of old school soul, Ray Charles, Otis Redding, The Dramatics. As well as some contemporary artists, Erykah Badu, Lauren Hill. We all listen to hip hop and world music. Bootsy Collins is one of our bass players biggest influences, he tries to do a lot of the same things that Bootsy does. Its really interesting when we get together because we are all so diverse in what we like to listen to.
Cincy Groove: How many shows do you play a year?
Laura Reed: Well we are still pretty young as a band. We started touring full time this past January. But as an example, in the last month we played 20 shows. So we are starting to tour pretty hard. Its starting to slow down a little because we are getting ready to work on our next album.
Cincy Groove: When do you start working on the new album?
Laura Reed: We actually go into the studio in about 2 weeks. This next album is definitely going to be more involved with members of the well known music community as well as underground artists. We are also working with some really great producers, namely James Chambers, whose has done work with The Nappy Roots, Anthony Hamilton. We are also going to have Ike Stubblefield from Detroit work with us, who has been a part of the Motown scene for a long time. I have also done some work with Parliament, so a few of them might make an appearance as well.
Laura Reed and Deep Pocket:
Laura Reed// vocals, rhythm guitar, harmonica, percussion
Ryan Burns// Keys, organ
Barrett Helms// Drums
Ben Didelot// Bass
Debrissa McKinney// vocals (sax)
Upcoming Laura Reed & Deep Pocket tour dates:
for complete show details visit
Aug 15, 2008 Gottrocks Greenville, NC
Aug 16, 2008 The Five Spot Atlanta, GA
Aug 27, 2008 The Pour House Charleston, SC
Aug 28, 2008 Proud Larry’s Oxford, MS
Aug 29, 2008 The Nick Birmingham, AL
Aug 30, 2008 Bourbon Street Bar Auburn, AL
Sept 3, 2008 Dave’s Dark Horse Tavern Starkville, MS
Sept 4, 2008 Mellow Mushroom Tuscaloosa, AL
Sept 5, 2008 Maxine’s Hot Springs, AR
Sept 6, 2008 Chelsea’s Corner Cafe Eureka Springs, AR
Sept 8, 2008 Exit/In Nashville, TN
Sept 13, 2008 Blues at the Crossroads Festival Terra Haute, IN
Sept 19, 2008 Downtown After Five Asheville, NC
Sept 26, 2008 Flat Rock Music Festival Flat Rock, NC