meta-scriptCoheed And Cambria's Claudio Sanchez On The Reaction To 'Vaxis: Act II — A Window of the Waking Mind' & The Future Of The Band |
Coheed and Cambria

Photo: Alexandra Gavillet


Coheed And Cambria's Claudio Sanchez On The Reaction To 'Vaxis: Act II — A Window of the Waking Mind' & The Future Of The Band

In this wide-ranging interview, Coheed And Cambria's Claudio Sanchez marvels at how his cult fanbase has received 'Vaxis: Act II' and illuminates the progressive rock band's path forward.

GRAMMYs/Jul 19, 2022 - 08:58 pm

In the fall of last year, Claudio Sanchez was on the verge of revealing something big to his expansive fanbase. His progressive rock band, Coheed and Cambria, was teasing the existence of their new album, Vaxis: Act II — A Window of the Waking Mind — and how it illuminated the then-shrouded character Vaxis.

"Vaxis, who, to them, seems to be in this catatonic state. But the reality is that he's quite the opposite," Sanchez told "They're unaware of who he really is, that he's present in everything. He can access wavelengths that they can't even comprehend."

Read More: Coheed And Cambria Teased A Key Character In Their Last Album, Vaxis: Act I. But Who Is Vaxis, Really?

Now, we're on the other side of the long build-up to — and release of — Vaxis: Act II, and Coheed is currently on the road promoting it. How does Sanchez feel about his cult fanbase's response — not only to the music, but some major reveals in the narrative?

"I don't think we could have asked for anything more 20 years into our career," Sanchez tells  over Zoom from his hotel room. "It's actually incredible how quickly this record has been… embraced by our audience."

Even better, he feels it marks a period of renewed energy around the veteran band — even as this segment of their ongoing Amory Wars narrative — told through books, graphic novels and albums — is drawing to something of a close.

"Twenty years ago, The Second Stage Turbine Blade was the second story in the Amory Wars — the Coheed and Cambria portion of it. And now, 20 years into our career, Vaxis II is the second part of the Vaxis arc," Sanchez remarks. "It's kind of funny when I think of it like that: Wow, this is ground zero again."

In this follow-up interview with, Sanchez marvels at the response to Vaxis II and lays breadcrumbs for what might happen down the road — all while wondering what his 16-year-old self would think of the intricate creative machine he's assembled.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

I'm sure you've done scores of interviews about Vaxis — Act II in all its musical and world-building dimensions. How has the reaction from your fanbase been thus far?

It's far beyond what we anticipated. A lot of the material and approach is very different. It's something we'd done in the past in terms of stretching our limitations, but not as much on a record. Before releasing it, I had said something to the fanbase that this might be the most divisive record, I guess, in terms of whether they'll receive it or not.

But it feels like the reception has been unanimously positive from my position — both from our audience and whatever media outlets have picked it up. I don't think we could have asked for anything more 20 years into our career. It's actually incredible how quickly this record has been received and embraced by our audience.

To you, is it the strongest Coheed and Cambria release to date?

I think it is! Even on the last one, The Unheavenly Creatures, we were so excited to fall into the production role of that record that everything we made for that record was part of the output.

And then, with this one — there was more material than what made it on the record. I wanted this experience to be digested in a way that our fans would want more — or it feels like a complete piece. I don't want to find myself fatigued by the music. I don't want to find myself 50 percent of the way through the record, wondering [mimes checking watch] "Oh, wow, I still have 50 percent more to go!"

I wanted it to feel complete, and it really does feel that way, to my surprise. For example, a song like "Love Murder One" — I'd been sitting on that song for a while. And in the scope of the record, I thought, "Is that the moment we sort of dip? How will our fans receive this song?"

I thought it would be the one that maybe people like the least, but it's actually become a favorite! How many people tell me they love "Love Murder One"? I don't know; I'm really jazzed about how the record was received.

The music aside, how do you feel about the response to this segment of the storyline — the audience getting to know the Vaxis character?

They seem to love the big reveals within the story. For those who have participated in the conceptual portion of it, there's a big reveal at the end that I'm seeing a lot of excitement for. I think overall, the whole package — the story, the music, even the relic that came with the deluxe vinyl — I feel like everybody is totally satisfied and excited.

And it makes the band excited! Again, we've been around for a while. And to have this feeling, this thing that's surrounding that record — you start to realize this hasn't been around every record we've released.

We inhabit a media landscape of endlessly expanding universes — Star Wars chief among them. To you, is the story of the Amory Wars finite, or could it conceivably continue in untold directions?

I think I could potentially keep this story going forever. But honestly, when I look at Vaxis and I see the end of this series, I kind of feel like this could complete it all. I think it would be perfect. If we were to choose to tell other stories, they would probably be parallel stories.

But as far as the arc — when I look at Year of the Black Rainbow to the Vaxis story, the complete Amory Wars — I feel like that is it. That is the saga, if you will.

Read More: Coheed And Cambria's Claudio Sanchez Talks Comics, Kurt Vonnegut & What's Next For The Amory Wars

Can you share any tidbits about where you might go next with the story?

Um… no! [Laughs] But I'm so excited, because the reveal at the end of Vaxis II wasn't the only one. There are a few others that come up. Vaxis II was full of reveals. One I can share is the character of Naianasha and who she really is in the greater scheme of it all. 

That was just to put runners on base — not to get all sports-corny! But the finale of Vaxis II is really the thing that drives in the runs. Man, I'm really driving that home — the sports thing! But as far as future stories, there isn't much I can tell at the moment because I'm afraid I'll spoil something.

You don't have to reveal anything. But are thoughts of your next artistic moves percolating while you're on tour at the moment? Is that conversation happening?

A little bit. My wife and I have been talking. This record has been done — recorded, mixed and mastered — for about a year. And a lot of what takes up the time between then and the release is the creation of the story, the illustrating of the story, the manufacturing of the relic — all those things take the most time.

So, we were just communicating this morning on the bus about finishing up the graphic novel we're working on — the 12-issue maxiseries for No World for Tomorrow, but also starting to get a handle on Vaxis III. The music kind of happens quickly in relation to the story, so we're trying to get ahead of it. We've been talking gently about it.

What are your favorite moments on Vaxis II?

I think my son singing on "The Embers of Fire" is definitely a big one, because we get to sing together on a song. I think that's beautiful, just because Vaxis is this omnipresent character that lives in all dimensions of reality, from young to old. There was a nice little connection there — father to son, and also just characters that they're supposed to embody.

But outside of that, I'd probably say "Window of the Waking Mind" is another one. Just because, for years, I've been sitting on this musical that I worked on in 2016. It was a musical rendition of The Picture of Dorian Gray, and the opening number was this 13-minute epic that basically tells the origin of where Dorian came from, his parents — things like that.

I wanted to do something with Vaxis — to try and tell his story, but not utilizing what I had already done. I wanted to try a new approach. This is a different story, so I didn't want to take from this other thing I had sitting on the shelf and change some words. 

I really wanted to test myself and see if I could do it again, because I'm very proud of this piece — "The Son of Love and Death, 1-7." It was the first time I had attempted anything like that. I wanted to see if I could do it again, and I feel like I did it with "Window of the Waking Mind." Like, this is something I feel I could do in the future.

I'm proud of the entire record, but [I love] that song in particular because it has the DNA of that other piece in the closet.

How's everything around your art and music and business? How's your family? How's life?

Everything's great! Yesterday was only the second day of the tour, and [my family] met up with me in Tampa. They're on the bus. They're in it for the long haul. My son loves tour life, so he and my wife will be out for hopefully the entire run.

My life's great. I'm very fortunate. I wish I could tell 16-year-old me that this is what it was all going to turn into, because I didn't have the confidence then that I might now because of the history of all that we've accomplished as a band. I feel great, and I'm so happy that I get to share that with my son and my wife.

Like I said, this morning, I woke up and my wife and I were talking about stories. We're working, but I'm also kind of lucky, because I feel like when they're with me, I'm home. I don't feel like I'm on tour. I'm really lucky in that respect.

What were you up to as a 16-year-old?

Probably the same thing, just in my parents' house. And they're telling me to stop because I'm screaming at the top of my lungs while they're trying to watch some sort of program upstairs after a hard day of work.

I used to share this area with my grandfather, who lived across the hall. I've been writing music since I was four years old, with cassette four-tracks — just trying to figure out how to do it, you know? I would sing, and my singing was a little less controlled than it is now, but it was in the same register — kind of high. My grandfather would say, "Is this kid going to do anything with this stuff?"

My mom always tells this story: a "Get a job!" sort of situation. And you get older, and you start to feel defeated, but persevere. We got picked up, and — I don't know! I wasn't doing much, but I was doing this.

Are there more mind-blowers on the horizon, narratively speaking? Even if this particular story is drawing to a close? It must feel like you're just getting started.

Yeah! You know, that's what's so crazy. It does. It feels like there's this renewed energy. It feels like starting again. 

When I think of 20 years ago, The Second Stage Turbine Blade was the second story in the Amory Wars — the Coheed and Cambria portion of it. And now, 20 years into our career, Vaxis II is the second part of the Vaxis arc. It's kind of funny when I think of it like that: Wow, this is ground zero again.

Before we jump off, what are you listening to lately?

At the moment, I'm not listening to a whole lot. I'm listening to Vaxis II! [Laughs.] 

I know it sounds nuts, but I am, because there's a lot of new material and new ways I sang the record that I never really approached live. So, I'm just trying to be mindful of that and listening to those approaches and figuring out how I can translate them live so I don't blow my voice and cancel shows.

It's funny: I think of who I was 20 years ago, and that was never a concern. It was just like: Go out there, reckless abandon, beat it up, and hope for the best. But now, there's so much behind the machine that care needs to be taken with these things. So, that's where I'm at — listening to that.

But the last record that I really got down with was that Phoebe Bridgers record. I don't remember the name of it, but there's a ghost drawn on it, in a field…

Stranger in the Alps.

Yes! Somebody hipped me to that, or had been speaking about it, pre-pandemic.

When the lockdown happened, we had just closed on a house in Brooklyn. And we moved in, and a couple of weeks later, everything went silent. That was the record I was listening to in the mornings while testing the coffee we ended up putting out. Just doing these profiles for that stuff.

It was just a record that resonated with me. It's one of those records that, when I hear it, is going to teleport me like a time machine — moving into that house and the feeling of the thing we all experienced. I love that about music — finding something that's always going to take you back somewhere.

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Kate Bush performing in 1985
Kate Bush performing in 1985

Photo: ZIK Images/United Archives via Getty Images


15 Reissues And Archival Releases For Your Holiday Shopping List

2023 was a banner year for reissues and boxed sets; everyone from the Beatles to Bob Dylan to the Rolling Stones got inspired expansions and repackagings. Here are 15 more to scoop up before 2023 gives way to 2024.

GRAMMYs/Nov 28, 2023 - 03:19 pm

Across 2023, we've been treated to a shower of fantastic reissues, remixes and/or expansions. From the Beatles' Red and Blue albums, to Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon, to the Who's Who's Next, the list is far too massive to fit into a single article.

And, happily, it's not over yet: from now until Christmas, there are plenty more reissues to savor — whether they be mere vinyl represses, or lavish plumbings of the source material replete with outtakes.

As you prepare your holiday shopping list, don't sleep on these 15 reissues for the fellow music fanatic in your life — or pick up a bundle for yourself!

X-Ray Spex - Conscious Consumer (Vinyl Reissue)

Whether you view them through the lens of Black woman power or simply their unforgettable, snarling anthems, English punks X-Ray Spex made an indelible mark with their debut 1978 album, Germfree Adolescents.

Seventeen years later, they made a less-discussed reunion album, 1995's Conscious Consumer — which has been unavailable over the next 27 years. After you (re)visit Germfree Adolescents, pick up this special vinyl reissue, remastered from the original tape.

That's out Dec. 15; pre-order it here.

Fall Out Boy - Take This to Your Grave (20th Anniversary Edition)

Released the year before their breakthrough 2005 album From Under the Cork Tree — the one with "Dance, Dance" and "Sugar, We're Goin Down" on it — Fall Out Boy's Take This to Your Grave remains notable and earwormy. The 2004 album aged rather well, and contains fan favorites like "Dead on Arrival."

Revisit the two-time GRAMMY nominees' Myspace-era gem with its 20th anniversary edition, which features a 36-page coffee table book and two unreleased demos: "Colorado Song" and "Jakus Song." It's available Dec. 15.

Coheed and Cambria - Live at the Starland Ballroom

Coheed and Cambria is more than a long-running rock band; they're a sci-fi multimedia universe, as well as a preternaturally tight live band.

Proof positive of the latter is Live at the Starland Ballroom, a document of a performance at the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, New Jersey, in 2004 — that hasn't been on vinyl until now. Grab it here; it dropped Nov. 24, for Record Store Day Black Friday.

Joni Mitchell - Court and Spark Demos

Post-aneurysm recovery, Joni Mitchell's on a well-deserved victory lap. But it's far more rewarding to analyze her as a musical genius than simply shower her with icon-status accolades.

Joni Mitchell Archives – Vol. 3: The Asylum Years (1972–1975), from last October, is a terrific way to do just that; its unvarnished alternate versions strip away the '70s gloss to spellbinding effect.

Which is no exception regarding the Court and Spark demos, which got a standalone release for RSD Black Friday.

P!NK - TRUSTFALL (Deluxe Edition)

The dependable Pink returned in 2023 with the well-regarded TRUSTFALL, and it's already getting an expanded presentation.

Its Deluxe Edition is filled with six previously unheard live recordings from her 2023 Summer Carnival Stadium Tour. Therein, you can find two new singles, including "Dreaming," a collaboration with Marshmello and Sting. Pre-order it today.

Snoop Dogg - Doggystyle (30th Anniversary Edition)

After his star-making turn on Dr. Dre's The Chronic, 16-time GRAMMY nominee Snoop Dogg stepped out with his revolutionary, Dre-assisted debut album, Doggystyle.

Permeated with hedonistic, debaucherous fun, the 1993 classic only furthered G-funk's momentum as a force within hip-hop.

Revisit — or discover — the album via this 30-year anniversary reissue, available now on streaming and vinyl.

As per the latter, the record is available special color variants, including a gold foil cover and clear/cloudy blue vinyl via Walmart, a clear and black smoke vinyl via Amazon and a green and black smoke vinyl via indie retailers.

Alicia Keys - The Diary of Alicia Keys 20

Alicia Keys has scored an incredible 15 GRAMMYs and 31 nominations — and if that run didn't exactly begin with 2003's The Diary of Alicia Keys, that album certainly cemented her royalty.

Her heralded second album, which features classics like "Karma," "If I Was Your Woman"/"Walk On By" and "Diary," is being reissued on Dec. 1 — expanded to 24 tracks, and featuring an unreleased song, "Golden Child."

The Sound of Music (Super Deluxe Edition Boxed Set)

Fifty-seven years has done nothing to dim the appeal of 1965's The Sound of Music — both the flick and its indelible soundtrack.

Re-immerse yourself in classics like "My Favorite Things" via The Sound of Music (Super Deluxe Edition Boxed Set), which arrives Dec. 1.

The box contains more than 40 previously unreleased tracks, collecting every musical element from the film for the first time, along with instrumentals for every song, demos and rare outtakes from the cast.

Furthermore, an audio Blu-ray features the full score in hi-res plus a new Dolby Atmos mix of the original soundtrack. And the whole shebang is housed in a 64-page hardbound book with liner notes from film preservationist Mike Matessino.

ABBA - The Visitors (Deluxe Edition)

With their eighth album, 1981's The Visitors, the Swedish masterminds — and five-time GRAMMY nominees — stepped away from lighter fare and examined themselves more deeply than ever.

The result was heralded as their most mature album to date — and has been repackaged before, with a Deluxe Edition in 2012.

This (quite belated) 40th anniversary edition continues its evolution in the marketplace. And better late than never: The Visitors was their final album until their 2021 farewell, Voyage, and on those terms alone, deserves reexamination.

Aretha Franklin - A Portrait of the Queen 1970-1974

Rolling Stone didn't recently declare Aretha Franklin the greatest singer of all time for no reason: in 2023, there's nary a pretender to the Queen of Soul's throne.

A Portrait of the Queen 1970-1974 compiles her first five albums of the 1970s: This Girl's In Love With You, Spirit in the Dark, Young Gifted and Black, Hey Now Hey (The Other Side of the Sky), and Let Me In Your Life.

Each has been remastered from the analog master tapes. The vinyl version has a bonus disc of session alternates, outtakes & demos. Both CD and vinyl versions are packaged with booklets featuring sleeve notes by Gail Mitchell and David Nathan. Grab it on Dec. 1.

Fela Kuti - Box Set #6

From the great beyond, Fela Kuti has done music journalists a solid in simply numbering his boxes. But this isn't just any Kuti box: it's curated by the one and only Idris Elba, who turned in a monumental performance as Stringer Bell on "The Wire."

The fifth go-round contains the Afrobeat giant's albums Open & Close, Music of Many Colors, Stalemate, I Go Shout Plenty!!!, Live In Amsterdam (2xLP), and Opposite People. It includes a 24 page booklet featuring lyrics, commentaries by Afrobeat historian Chris May, and never-before-seen photos.

The box is only available in a limited edition of 5,000 worldwide, so act fast: it's also available on Dec. 1.

Kate Bush - Hounds of Love (The Baskerville Edition) / Hounds of Love (The Boxes of Lost Sea)

Kate Bush rocketed back into the public consciousness in 2022, via "Stranger Things." The lovefest continues unabated with these two editions of Hounds of Love, which features that signature song: "Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God.)

There is no new audio on either edition; they feature distinctive packaging, and the latter splits the album into two boxes. Read on here, and pre-order them via Bush's site; they arrive Dec. 1.

The Rolling Stones - December's Children (And Everybody's), Got Live If You Want It! And The Rolling Stones No. 2 (Vinyl Reissues)

These three '60s Stones albums have slipped between the cracks over the years — but if you love the world-renowned rock legends in its infancy, they're essential listens.

No. 2 is their second album from 1965; the same year's December's Children is the last of their early songs to lean heavily on covers; Got Live If You Want It! is an early live document capturing the early hysteria swarming around the band.

On Dec. 1, they're reissued on 180g vinyl; for more information and to order, visit here.

Pink Floyd - Atom Heart Mother (Special Edition)

No, it's not half as famous as The Dark Side of the Moon or The Wall — but 1970's lumpy Atom Heart Mother certainly has its partisans.

Rediscover a hidden corner of the Floyd catalog — the one between Ummagumma and Meddle — via this special edition, which features newly discovered live footage from more than half a century ago.

The Black Crowes - The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion

After endless fraternal infighting, the Black Crowes are back — can they keep it together?

In the meantime, their second album, 1992's The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion, remains a stellar slice of roots rock — as a sprawling, three-disc Super Deluxe Edition bears out. If you're a bird of this feather, don't miss it when it arrives on Dec. 15. 

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Kendrick Lamar GRAMMY Rewind Hero
Kendrick Lamar

Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic


GRAMMY Rewind: Kendrick Lamar Honors Hip-Hop's Greats While Accepting Best Rap Album GRAMMY For 'To Pimp a Butterfly' In 2016

Upon winning the GRAMMY for Best Rap Album for 'To Pimp a Butterfly,' Kendrick Lamar thanked those that helped him get to the stage, and the artists that blazed the trail for him.

GRAMMYs/Oct 13, 2023 - 06:01 pm

Updated Friday Oct. 13, 2023 to include info about Kendrick Lamar's most recent GRAMMY wins, as of the 2023 GRAMMYs.

A GRAMMY veteran these days, Kendrick Lamar has won 17 GRAMMYs and has received 47 GRAMMY nominations overall. A sizable chunk of his trophies came from the 58th annual GRAMMY Awards in 2016, when he walked away with five — including his first-ever win in the Best Rap Album category.

This installment of GRAMMY Rewind turns back the clock to 2016, revisiting Lamar's acceptance speech upon winning Best Rap Album for To Pimp A Butterfly. Though Lamar was alone on stage, he made it clear that he wouldn't be at the top of his game without the help of a broad support system. 

"First off, all glory to God, that's for sure," he said, kicking off a speech that went on to thank his parents, who he described as his "those who gave me the responsibility of knowing, of accepting the good with the bad."

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He also extended his love and gratitude to his fiancée, Whitney Alford, and shouted out his Top Dawg Entertainment labelmates. Lamar specifically praised Top Dawg's CEO, Anthony Tiffith, for finding and developing raw talent that might not otherwise get the chance to pursue their musical dreams.

"We'd never forget that: Taking these kids out of the projects, out of Compton, and putting them right here on this stage, to be the best that they can be," Lamar — a Compton native himself — continued, leading into an impassioned conclusion spotlighting some of the cornerstone rap albums that came before To Pimp a Butterfly.

"Hip-hop. Ice Cube. This is for hip-hop," he said. "This is for Snoop Dogg, Doggystyle. This is for Illmatic, this is for Nas. We will live forever. Believe that."

To Pimp a Butterfly singles "Alright" and "These Walls" earned Lamar three more GRAMMYs that night, the former winning Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song and the latter taking Best Rap/Sung Collaboration (the song features Bilal, Anna Wise and Thundercat). He also won Best Music Video for the remix of Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood." 

Lamar has since won Best Rap Album two more times, taking home the golden gramophone in 2018 for his blockbuster LP DAMN., and in 2023 for his bold fifth album, Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers.

Watch Lamar's full acceptance speech above, and check back at every Friday for more GRAMMY Rewind episodes. 

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Coheed and Cambria

Photo: Alexandra Gavillet


Watch: Coheed And Cambria Reveal Animated Video For "Ladders Of Supremacy" From 'Vaxis: Act II'

A highlight from their most recent album, 'Vaxis: Act II — A Window of the Waking Mind,' the video for "Ladders of Supremacy" got the animated treatment and just premiered on an anime site.

GRAMMYs/Jun 20, 2023 - 08:37 pm

On behalf of his band, Coheed and Cambria, Claudio Sanchez has led readers through fantastical realms, regarding the story behind their 2022 album Vaxis: Act II — A Window of the Waking Mind.

Now, we've received yet another window into Sanchez's imagination. A new, animated video for "Ladders of Supremacy" just dropped — not on a music site, but the online anime bastion

Read More: Coheed And Cambria Teased A Key Character In Their Last Album, Vaxis: Act I. But Who Is Vaxis, Really?

As director Darin Vartanian, a.k.a. Pixelface, explained in a statement, "The animation seeks to interpret chapter 8 of Vaxis 2 in a collage of high-fidelity 3D scenes, employing the subjective perspectives of each character's mind's eye.

"In this frozen moment in time," he continued, "the characters bear witness to a comprehensive array of past and future events, intricately woven into the very fabric of their most crucial decisions."

Check out the mind-bending clip below:

Franc Moody
Franc Moody

Photo: Rachel Kupfer 


A Guide To Modern Funk For The Dance Floor: L'Imperatrice, Shiro Schwarz, Franc Moody, Say She She & Moniquea

James Brown changed the sound of popular music when he found the power of the one and unleashed the funk with "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag." Today, funk lives on in many forms, including these exciting bands from across the world.

GRAMMYs/Nov 25, 2022 - 04:23 pm

It's rare that a genre can be traced back to a single artist or group, but for funk, that was James Brown. The Godfather of Soul coined the phrase and style of playing known as "on the one," where the first downbeat is emphasized, instead of the typical second and fourth beats in pop, soul and other styles. As David Cheal eloquently explains, playing on the one "left space for phrases and riffs, often syncopated around the beat, creating an intricate, interlocking grid which could go on and on." You know a funky bassline when you hear it; its fat chords beg your body to get up and groove.

Brown's 1965 classic, "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag," became one of the first funk hits, and has been endlessly sampled and covered over the years, along with his other groovy tracks. Of course, many other funk acts followed in the '60s, and the genre thrived in the '70s and '80s as the disco craze came and went, and the originators of hip-hop and house music created new music from funk and disco's strong, flexible bones built for dancing.

Legendary funk bassist Bootsy Collins learned the power of the one from playing in Brown's band, and brought it to George Clinton, who created P-funk, an expansive, Afrofuturistic, psychedelic exploration of funk with his various bands and projects, including Parliament-Funkadelic. Both Collins and Clinton remain active and funkin', and have offered their timeless grooves to collabs with younger artists, including Kali Uchis, Silk Sonic, and Omar Apollo; and Kendrick Lamar, Flying Lotus, and Thundercat, respectively.

In the 1980s, electro-funk was born when artists like Afrika Bambaataa, Man Parrish, and Egyptian Lover began making futuristic beats with the Roland TR-808 drum machine — often with robotic vocals distorted through a talk box. A key distinguishing factor of electro-funk is a de-emphasis on vocals, with more phrases than choruses and verses. The sound influenced contemporaneous hip-hop, funk and electronica, along with acts around the globe, while current acts like Chromeo, DJ Stingray, and even Egyptian Lover himself keep electro-funk alive and well.

Today, funk lives in many places, with its heavy bass and syncopated grooves finding way into many nooks and crannies of music. There's nu-disco and boogie funk, nodding back to disco bands with soaring vocals and dance floor-designed instrumentation. G-funk continues to influence Los Angeles hip-hop, with innovative artists like Dam-Funk and Channel Tres bringing the funk and G-funk, into electro territory. Funk and disco-centered '70s revival is definitely having a moment, with acts like Ghost Funk Orchestra and Parcels, while its sparkly sprinklings can be heard in pop from Dua Lipa, Doja Cat, and, in full "Soul Train" character, Silk Sonic. There are also acts making dreamy, atmospheric music with a solid dose of funk, such as Khruangbin’s global sonic collage.

There are many bands that play heavily with funk, creating lush grooves designed to get you moving. Read on for a taste of five current modern funk and nu-disco artists making band-led uptempo funk built for the dance floor. Be sure to press play on the Spotify playlist above, and check out's playlist on Apple Music, Amazon Music and Pandora.

Say She She

Aptly self-described as "discodelic soul," Brooklyn-based seven-piece Say She She make dreamy, operatic funk, led by singer-songwriters Nya Gazelle Brown, Piya Malik and Sabrina Mileo Cunningham. Their '70s girl group-inspired vocal harmonies echo, sooth and enchant as they cover poignant topics with feminist flair.

While they’ve been active in the New York scene for a few years, they’ve gained wider acclaim for the irresistible music they began releasing this year, including their debut album, Prism. Their 2022 debut single "Forget Me Not" is an ode to ground-breaking New York art collective Guerilla Girls, and "Norma" is their protest anthem in response to the news that Roe vs. Wade could be (and was) overturned. The band name is a nod to funk legend Nile Rodgers, from the "Le freak, c'est chi" exclamation in Chic's legendary tune "Le Freak."


Moniquea's unique voice oozes confidence, yet invites you in to dance with her to the super funky boogie rhythms. The Pasadena, California artist was raised on funk music; her mom was in a cover band that would play classics like Aretha Franklin’s "Get It Right" and Gladys Knight’s "Love Overboard." Moniquea released her first boogie funk track at 20 and, in 2011, met local producer XL Middelton — a bonafide purveyor of funk. She's been a star artist on his MoFunk Records ever since, and they've collabed on countless tracks, channeling West Coast energy with a heavy dose of G-funk, sunny lyrics and upbeat, roller disco-ready rhythms.

Her latest release is an upbeat nod to classic West Coast funk, produced by Middleton, and follows her February 2022 groovy, collab-filled album, On Repeat.

Shiro Schwarz

Shiro Schwarz is a Mexico City-based duo, consisting of Pammela Rojas and Rafael Marfil, who helped establish a modern funk scene in the richly creative Mexican metropolis. On "Electrify" — originally released in 2016 on Fat Beats Records and reissued in 2021 by MoFunk — Shiro Schwarz's vocals playfully contrast each other, floating over an insistent, upbeat bassline and an '80s throwback electro-funk rhythm with synth flourishes.

Their music manages to be both nostalgic and futuristic — and impossible to sit still to. 2021 single "Be Kind" is sweet, mellow and groovy, perfect chic lounge funk. Shiro Schwarz’s latest track, the joyfully nostalgic "Hey DJ," is a collab with funkstress Saucy Lady and U-Key.


L'Impératrice (the empress in French) are a six-piece Parisian group serving an infectiously joyful blend of French pop, nu-disco, funk and psychedelia. Flore Benguigui's vocals are light and dreamy, yet commanding of your attention, while lyrics have a feminist touch.

During their energetic live sets, L'Impératrice members Charles de Boisseguin and Hagni Gwon (keys), David Gaugué (bass), Achille Trocellier (guitar), and Tom Daveau (drums) deliver extended instrumental jam sessions to expand and connect their music. Gaugué emphasizes the thick funky bass, and Benguigui jumps around the stage while sounding like an angel. L’Impératrice’s latest album, 2021’s Tako Tsubo, is a sunny, playful French disco journey.

Franc Moody

Franc Moody's bio fittingly describes their music as "a soul funk and cosmic disco sound." The London outfit was birthed by friends Ned Franc and Jon Moody in the early 2010s, when they were living together and throwing parties in North London's warehouse scene. In 2017, the group grew to six members, including singer and multi-instrumentalist Amber-Simone.

Their music feels at home with other electro-pop bands like fellow Londoners Jungle and Aussie act Parcels. While much of it is upbeat and euphoric, Franc Moody also dips into the more chilled, dreamy realm, such as the vibey, sultry title track from their recently released Into the Ether.

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