Hailing from the Big Easy, Dumpstaphunk brings the distinctive, funky, jazz-infused vibe of New Orleans to stages across the globe. The funk runs deep in this band, as do the famous familial ties to American music. Ivan and Ian Neville, of Neville family fame, are proving that the second generation of their iconic name is every bit as talented and hard working as the one before. The band is completed with dual bass players, Tony Hall and Nick Daniels and drummer Alvin Ford Jr. CULTURE recently spoke with Ian Neville about his family’s musical legacy, the band’s sound and mission, as well as his personal views of cannabis.
Dumpstaphunk’s new single, “Justice,” promotes an important message. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
The name speaks volumes about what we’re going for. It’s about everybody getting their equal shot, say and chance. It’s what we’re all trying to accomplish, trying to live on this planet with each other. Music can bring [people] together, it can instigate, and it can say the messages that are hard to say. Hopefully, shedding some light on what everyone is experiencing will help us all.
“I find that a bowl before practice, or depending where we are, a little pre-show blaze-up is a good idea. So, there’s definitely a creativity factor, and there’s the travel fatigue factor, it helps in all kinds of facets.”
Your family name, the Neville name, is synonymous not only with music, but with city of New Orleans. How is the vibe of your hometown reflected in your music?
We can’t help that. Aside from me and Ivan’s family relation to the culture of New Orleans’ music, it’s part of growing up and being from New Orleans. The city infuses itself, and it comes out in art, music and so many other ways. It’s impossible to not bring some of the New Orleans’ vibe in our music, whether it’s recording, live shows, whatever. It’s inevitable.
Tell us about the Dumpstaphunk sound, especially the uniqueness of utilizing two bass players.
I usually explain that by saying, don’t try this at home! Nick and Tony are two of the baddest bass players you’ll ever see. What makes them work is their styles are so . . . it’s like a wave form, when waves are peaking at the opposite time. That’s how they naturally play around each other. A lot of other bass players would have to choreograph it, but they just naturally do it.
Dumpstaphunk plays tons of festivals, and is known not only as a funk band, but as a jam band. What is your approach to playing live?
We have fun playing our music and other people’s music. We throw in covers with the new stuff. That translates to the crowd. We draw on our common influences and bring in our separate influences and meld that together. That leads to some funky shit going down onstage.
What are your views on cannabis?
I’m a fan! I support medicinal and recreational. We’re not anywhere near that in Louisiana yet, but time will push it forward. I can’t walk into the store down here and go shopping for marijuana like some places, but I do have fun with that every time I’m in Colorado! I find that a bowl before practice, or depending where we are, a little pre-show blaze-up is a good idea. So, there’s definitely a creativity factor, and there’s the travel fatigue factor, it helps in all kinds of facets.
What’s next for Dumpstaphunk?
“Justice” was released in January. The beginning of the year has been pretty much just recording time, finishing up the new record. Then Mardi Gras kicks off in New Orleans. We’ll start rampin’ up the shows then. We’ll be out in California in the beginning of April, then we’re hittin’ Australia, and flying right back to New Orleans Jazz Fest, which is two weeks of music madness. We’re a part of that every year. I’ve been to 34 Jazz Fests, and I’m 34 years old.
March 24 @ The Yard at Topgolf, Las Vegas
March 26 @ The Mint, Los Angeles
March 28 @ Hopmonk Tavern, Sebastopol