NYC-based funk art collective Loud Apartment has released their new album, aptly titled ‘System Breakdown’, produced by Bill Laswell and created at Orange Music in West Orange, New Jersey. This is Loud Apartment’s second studio album and the first with the current lineup. Their unique NYC fusion of funk, soul and rock with Latin, reggae, dub and hip hop influences is inspired by growing up on the old upper west side.
The band debuted in 2012 with their ‘Get Up Get Down’ LP, which was mixed by Bill Laswell and featured Bernie Worrell (P-Funk/Talking Heads), who also appeared with them for live performances at Galapagos Art Space, Drom, and Public Assembly in NYC. Their sound embodies the intersection of culture that is New York City, loose enough to give room for improvisation and extended grooves.
Created by musician and technologist Nevaris A.C., the band’s current lineup includes legendary musician/producer Bill Laswell on bass, turntablist DJ Logic, multi-instrumentalist Peter Apfelbaum (flute/sax), guitarist Will Bernard, drummer Lockatron, and Nevaris (voice, percussion, keyboards).
In 2019, Nevaris approached Bill Laswell about working with him and drummer Lockatron on new material. From the first time playing together in the studio the new project took off.
“I’ve learned a ton from working with Bill. Not just about creating music but also about getting work done. Not getting stuck in the creative process. I’ve really enjoyed working with this particular group of musicians,” says Nevaris A.C.
“System Breakdown” refers to the collapse of the systems meant to protect citizens during a time like this. Access to healthcare. Access to a vital financial lifeline after the collapse of the live music industry during the pandemic. The album also takes aim at the incompetence and negligence of the current administration in the first two songs. Most of us in the band, as well as our circle of friends and fellow musicians, are hurting financially because of the pandemic. We wanted to address this in the music beyond ourselves personally, addressing the collapse of the existing system as a whole.”
The band began recording ‘System Breakdown’ in January 2020, before the Covid-19 pandemic. Once it hit New York City, recording was halted and Nevaris began writing new lyrics that reflected his anger at the current administration. The band returned to the studio in the summer of 2020 to finish the album, including the new material, giving the record a more political tone.
Formed in 2008 and influenced by P-Funk, Santanta, Willy Bobo, Los Lobos, Talking Heads, Ray Barretto and Jimmy Castor Bunch, the original lineup featured Nevaris on vocals and keyboards, Kenny Grohowsky on drums, Jim Robertson on bass, and Angel Rodriguezon percussion. They were the de facto house band for Nolej Studios in midtown Manhattan, and Uncomun events, held monthly at Galapagos Art Space in Brooklyn. Guitarist Matt Dickey joined the band in 2010.
Known for performing at unconventional (and often private) events, Loud Apartment frequently collaborate with artists from across mediums and genres, including vocalists (Garrison Hawk, Maya Azucena, Rustem Khojmemedov, Baba Israel, Imany Mladao, Eli Efi), deejays (DJ Logic, DJ Ambideckstricks, DJ Speedrail, DJ Black Panther), dancers (Rockafella, Kwikstep, Sita Frederick, Max Pollack, projectionists (VJ Full Stealth, Carlo De Jesus, Tiffany Kao), and visual artists such as Jose Ortiz.
‘System Breakdown’ is out now digitally across streaming platforms such as Spotify and digital stores like Apple Music. It can also be ordered directly from the band via Bandcamp. In November, the current lineup returns to the studio to continue recording material.
1. No Justification
2. Enough is Enough
3. Going Down
4. Hot Like the Sun
6. The Thrill is Good
7. Gimme Some Love
8. Dub Enough
Nevaris: voice, electric piano, hammond organ, congas, percussion
Bill Laswell: bass
DJ Logic: turntables
Peter Apfelbaum: tenor saxophone, flute
Will Bernard: guitar
Lockatron : drums
All songs written by Nevaris and Bill Laswell except ‘No Justification’ by Nevaris, Bill Laswell and Peter Apfelbaum.
Produced by Bill Laswell
Created at Orange Music, West Orange, NJ
Engineering: James Dellatacoma
Mastered by Michael Fossenkemper at TurtleTone Studio, NYC
Cover photo by Yoko Yamabe
Cover design by Realize
Live photos by Fadi Kheir. Solo photo by Sita Frederick