Interview by Scott Preston
Taking the artistic passion of eight individuals and making something that’s cohesive and without pretension can be a tall order. Mifuné knows this. The diversity of elements that make up this group is akin to spinning around and around in a record store stopping and pointing at random sections. The amalgamation of styles is nothing new in American music, and Mifuné hails from the true America, the gritty, post-industrial gem of a town, Cleveland, Ohio. This reality is fuel for the funky poly-rhythms, tight harmonies, soulful vocals and the blazing horns that create the irresistible pulse that marks the group’s compositions. Live, the group inspires an atmosphere as diverse as their components. Sure, the deep rooted grooves will make you dance, but it’s also all at once a joyful, thought-provoking, and passionate affair.
Cincy Groove: How did Mifuné get together?
Jacob Fader: The lead singer, my wife Christine, myself and Cutty the keyboard player, were all in different bands that were kind of dissolving at the same time. At first the intention was to make film music. Then we magically ended up back in the bars (laughing). Cutty started bringing around Afrobeat music from Nigeria. It really resonated with me because it was similar to some of the music I was already accustomed to. We picked up other people along the way, the bass player was somebody who I had played with in various bands.
Cincy Groove: Where did the band name Mifuné come from?
Jacob Fader: Mifuné is the last name of Toshirō Mifune who is a Japanese film actor. He is kind of like a Japanese DiNiro in a way. I guess I just wanted to pick a name that I was sure everyone would mispronounce (laughing). It was our intention to have that little accent over the e, to make it easier for people.
Cincy Groove: What can you tell me about your most recent record, Time is Watching Us?
Jacob Fader: It was released on November 28, 2008. It took about 8 months to put together and it was all done in the studio right below my feet here in my house in Cleveland. Beginning to end I was there for every note. It was even mixed here but we had it mastered in New York.
Cincy Groove: I understand you also do Intro to Afrobeat programs for children?
Jacob Fader: Yeah its a lot of fun, the kids really get into it. Sometimes there’s not much of a difference between a crowd of 5 year olds or a crowd of drunk people, they kind of act the same. The 5 year olds at the end of the day are much more charming. We all really enjoy it and get a lot of satisfaction from teaching the kids and passing along what we think is good music. We have been doing it for about 2 years. Sometimes we will supplement a tour by teaching somewhere in the morning and then go out and do our night gig.
Cincy Groove: What kind of music did you listen to growing up?
Jacob Fader: I listened to a lot of different stuff. The earliest music I can remember in my consciousness is reggae because my brother listened to it a lot. I grew up listening to hip hop also, as well as R & B which is what my dad listened to. Artists such as Teddy Pendergrass, Barry White.
Cincy Groove: Are there any big shows coming up?
Jacob Fader: I myself am going on a 5 week European tour with the Kokolo Afrobeat Orchestra. When I get back from that, we have some shows in April around Ohio, Pennsylvania and then its Spring Hookahville. We are also going to be playing at the 10,000 Lakes Festival.
Cincy Groove: Do you think Afro Beat music is becoming more popular?
Jacob Fader: Defintely. One thing we found playing the festival/jamband circuit is that Afro Beat isn’t something you used to see too much of. Its really interesting that Afrobeat is becoming more prominent now. When we started there were about 3 Afrobeat bands and now there are like 17 in the state. It used to be a pretty small scene but has grown.
Christine Fader-lead vocal, keys, flute, synth, percussion.
Jacob Fader-guitar, vocals, synth, programming.
Cutty-keys, vocals, synth, percussion.
Corbett Hein- bass, vocals, cello.
Jeremy Miller-drums, synth.
Brian Kleve- trumpet
How do we say Mifuné?
Upcoming Mifune tour dates:
for complete show details visit: http://www.mifunemusic.com
April 16, 2009 Founder’s Brewery Grand Rapids, MI
April 17, 2009 Bell’s Brewery Kalamazoo, MI
April 24, 2009 Shadow Lounge Pittsburgh, PA
May 02, 2009 Brother’s Lounge Lakewood, OH
May 08, 2009 Barking Spider Tavern University Circle, OH
May 22, 2009 spring hookahville at legend valley
May 23, 2009 spring hookahville at legend valley
July 18, 2009 Painesville Party in the Park