For drummer Sean O’Shea and his band Orgone–a nine-piece instrumental group specializing in the retro sounds of ’60s and ’70s funk and soul–2008 is the best year ever. Not only has Orgone recently released a critically acclaimed CD, The Killion Floor, the group has also been gigging steadily as the backing band for noteworthy funk acts like The Pharcyde, Breakestra, Connie Price & The Keystones, and Tone Loc. According to Sean, a groove-based player who specializes in applying vintage tones and feels to today’s revitalized funk scene, “We’ve played together for so long that we have a chemistry you can’t get from just hiring a group of individual players.”
In fact, Orgone’s work as both the studio and live band for producer Jack Splash’s award-winning side project, Plant Life, continues to open doors for the band. The drummer explains, “Jack has become an in-demand producer for artists such as John Legend, Alicia Keys, and Lauryn Hill. Originally he was programming and playing everything himself, but he decided he wanted to go in a different direction and use a live band.”
Based on his work with Orgone on various Plant Life albums, Splash chose the band to cut over a hundred instrumental tracks that he could then rework and bring to his upcoming projects. To facilitate getting his desired drum sounds, O’Shea uses all vintage gear: a ’60s Ludwig set live, a ’60s Rogers kit in the studio, and a set of ’70s Zildjian cymbals. His minimal setup includes only a kick, snare, hi-hat, and ride–and no toms.
When Splash signed on to produce songs for Alicia Keys’ As I Am, two of the tracks he’d recorded with Orgone became “Teenage Love Affair” and “Wreckless Love”–both of which have been singled out by critics as having a particularly warm, retro feel. “It’s a great break for us,” Sean enthuses. “Our tracks definitely don’t sound like a typical Alicia Keys production, because we’re not about the perfect pop sheen. It’s truly exciting for us to be a part of bringing organic, live, and imperfect music with an actual human feel back to pop music.”
For more info on Sean, visit his MySpace page at www.myspace.com/oshandy1.