The Origin of Henry + The Invisibles & The One Man Funk Band

Henry + the Invisibles can just about do it all when it comes to producing electrifying dance-party vibes. ‘The One Man Funk Band,’ aka Henry Roland, loops and layers everything from vocal harmonies, funk guitar, groovy bass, soulful keys, drum machines and percussion to create original high energy dance music that sounds like a solid 5-piece funk ensemble.

The Austin-based artist, producer, and all-around funk machine got his start in The Live Music Capital at the age of 16 performing at the legendary Black Cat Lounge on Sixth Street. As part of the 7-piece funk outfit, Gingerbreadmen, Henry was fortunate to tour alongside some of the genre’s most iconic artists. He would later go on to NYC for nearly a decade where he studied jazz. Upon his return to Austin in 2007, Henry tested his rock chops as a member of Starchild. When the rock trio disbanded in 2009 with several shows remaining on the calendar, Henry saw an opportunity to return to his funk roots. He had just purchased a loop pedal and an idea began to brew. “I called the remaining venues and told them, ‘Hey, I’m coming. It’s just me and I’ve got a whole new thing,” he recalls. “Fortunately, there were some people that believed in it and that’s how ‘the one man funk band’ all started.

Henry + the Invisibles made his full-length, ‘solo’ debut in 2016 with the entirely self-produced and engineered MUSAIC, an album that would earn top 10 honors that year at the Austin Music Awards. In the 8 years since his one man band origin, Henry + the Invisibles have played a solid role in the local and national funk scene and have become a mainstay on the national festival circuit. Henry + the Invisibles will close out September at the River Revival Festival in New Braunfels where he will join an all-star funk, blues and southern, roots rock line-up to help spread a groovy message of love and peace.

We had the chance to speak with Henry + the Invisibles about the ‘one man funk band’s’ creation and the upcoming River Revival Festival. Read what the funk machine had to say below.

What originally drew you into the party funk genre?

I’ve been into funk my whole life. The first band I was in was a 7-piece funk unit called the Gingerbreadmen. We toured the country and eventually grew into a 12, and sometimes even a 13-piece. I was pretty lucky when I was growing up to go on the road with Maceo Parker and open shows for Tower of Power, War and Funkadelic. I’ve studied jazz in New York and have been in several rock bands playing studio gigs. But, when I decided to do a one-man project, I felt most comfortable doing funk…especially since it has a looping aesthetic to it.

Is there a specific order or routine you prefer when layering tracks?

Not really. It may start with a beat, or a lyric, or a guitar riff, or a bass riff, or a keyboard riff. I don’t have any particular order. It really comes from whatever instrument I’m practicing with that day.

Is there a particular instrument or section you enjoy the most?

It varies from week-to-week. Right now I’m kind of in a keyboard phase. But, I very much enjoy the bass. Originally, guitar was my prime instrument. But, I don’t really have a favorite at this point. They’re all important in what I do.

What do you find to be the most difficult obstacle when creating music as a one-man band?

In the beginning it was actually producing a song with a form to it. Verse, pre-chorus, chorus, repeat…that sort of thing. I had a pretty basic loop pedal at first. I would record, press it again to un-record and then press it twice to make a chorus. That was pretty difficult to master. It was tough to make a song that was fascinating because looping can become monotonous if you don’t make it sound interesting. I’ve started using a drum machine over the past couple of years and I‘ve got a ton of different keyboard patches and drum sounds now. I’ve also picked up a loop pedal that actually allows me to layer three different loops at once and I’ve figured out a lot of different ways to orchestrate what a band would sound like.

You stay pretty busy touring and hitting the festival circuit. What are you most looking forward to from the River Revival Festival?

I’m super excited to share the stage with Pimps of Joytime…and all the guys from Houston. The Splice Records folks are genuinely sweet people. So, I’m looking forward to seeing that whole crew. I’ve never performed the River Revival before. But, it looks like a very intimate and beautiful festival. I’m very much looking forward to it and just being able to catch all of the acts.

Your September tour will conclude in New Braunfels with the River Revival, what’s up next for Henry + the Invisibles?

I’ll be heading back on the road. I’m going to Fayetteville, Little Rock and Missouri. We’re doing a lot of Midwest gigs. I’m also currently working on a new album and if everything goes right it should be out at the beginning of Spring 2018. I’m working a lot on video production as well and trying to get my studio tip-top. I’m looking forward to doing more video production and have been writing a lot.

For additional information on Henry + the Invisibles visit http://www.henryinvisible.com/.

For additional information on the River Revival Festival and tickets visit http://www.splicerecordstx.com/events/river-revival/.

Splice Records Brings River Revival Festival to New Braunfels

Hurricane Harvey isn’t going to keep Houston-based record label Splice Records from bringing 500 of their closest friends to the banks of the Guadalupe River for the third annual River Revival Festival. Join the fine folks of Splice Records in collaboration with St. Arnold Brewery on Sept. 29 – Oct. 1, 2017 for a weekend camping adventure full of river rocking live music, interactive workshops and communal campfire celebrations. Located at the KL Ranch Camp-On the River campgrounds in New Braunfels, the River Revival Festival features an array of funtastic music genres such as folk, Americana, rock ‘n’ roll, Latin rock, Funkadelic, Gypsy jazz, blues and Texas roots music.

This year’s music lineup will include Pimps of Joytime, Alvin YoungBlood Hart, John Evans, Henry and the Invisibles, Tomar and the FCs, Emily Bell, Ancient Cat Society, Craig Kinsey, Pecos Hank, Say Girl Say, Vodi, Monoceja, The New Offenders, Maggie Belle Band, The Space Villains, The Tomes, Heath Ledet, The Anjali Project and AndyRoo and the AndyRooniverse.

Each year River Revival draws in more than 500 conscious campers, all gathered to partake in a variety of activities geared towards bringing people together for a good time. Activities such as intimate campfire concerts, hiking, river floating, canoeing, various workshops on reptile handling and nature identification with a true master naturalist, live transcendental meditative music mixed with morning yoga sessions along the majestic Guadalupe River with Christi Workman of Hi/Lo Kick Studios, kids music class with AndyRoo and the AndyRooniverse, family activities and puppet shows, natural live art exhibits by Journey Through, One Pot Cooking Competition, River Revival giveaways and prizes, and so much more.

“We are not trying to be the biggest festival, or the loudest, we are just trying to be the most fun,” says Splice Records CEO Shaun Brennan. “The camping and the Guadalupe River are what separates us from other festivals. River Revival is so much more than a music fest, the combination of the music and river is our recipe for a special weekend.”

Clean and maintained showers are available on site, but they do require quarters for operation. The campgrounds provide firewood and ice, and there is also a small store on site. Campers are allowed to bring their own supplies as well. Tent campers will have a reserved campsite that will be made specifically for them. There will be a family area sectioned off for attendees with children. RV and motorhome spaces are also available on a first-come-first-serve basis but are very limited. The 30-amp RV premium campsites come with a one-time $95 additional cost which can be purchased during the ticket checkout experience.

“We do our best to show our true selves while offering pure southern hospitality to the festival-goers by cooking for them, floating with them, offering them cold tasty beverages and performing for them live at night,” said Brennan. “The stage is right next to a flowing river and the food, drink and river time is all inclusive. Not only can you bring your own (fill in the blank), but we provide the campers with free meals and complimentary beverages.”

We had an opportunity to speak with Splice Records CEO and River Revival Festival creator, Shaun Brennan, about the festival and how it all came about below.

How did you first get involved with organizing large events and festivals such as River Revival Festival?

During my teenage years, my roots were a little unhinged. I was always throwing parties and I tended to take it a little more serious than just trying to throw a keg out back. We would have themed parties and then we added live bands. Then in college the parties started getting a bit grander and I started to hone it in. Then when I mixed it with camping there was that Zen moment that this is what I should be doing.

What was the original idea behind RRF and has that changed now in year three?

It originally started as just a camping trip with a bunch of musicians and close friends. The Guadalupe River has a long history with my family and we did a lot of camping and floating there when I was a kid. I even ended up attending Southwest Texas State. The first festival camping trip turned out to be a great success…a very positive and communal experience with neighborly campfire concerts at night. As I was leaving the campgrounds it just hit me that this could really be something. I decided to make it a more formal festival in a very informal way and we grew it step-by-step from there. Now it really is more of an actual festival. But, at the same time, it’s also remained a really unique micro-fest. It’s not very flamboyant with aggressive sponsors or wallet gouging. But, we still want to lift up and showcase the music and food.

Unlike a lot of other music festivals, RRF seems to be an event the entire family can enjoy, correct?

I questioned having kids there that first year. But, as a father, I didn’t want to do something really special and not have my kids with me. Kids are welcomed and I think they really enjoy it. During the day we’ll have a lot of family-oriented activities with children’s music, puppet shows and storytelling. But, I wouldn’t suggest that everyone bring their kids because overall it’s an adult themed festival with a lot going on throughout the night just for the parents. We want people to be able to relax and unwind.

What do you hope to accomplish with RRF and its overall message?

The message we are trying to create is that we can still have these grand ideas 25-50 feet from this powerful piece of nature without destroying it. There is a consciousness in everything we do. I don’t pass out festival itineraries because I don’t want them to end up in the river. The utensils we use are all made of wood…there’s no plastic wrapping that could litter the property. We also take time to do river clean-up. We want to be conscientious of the natural surroundings and enjoy the authenticity that comes with camping and having the river right next to you. We try to integrate those ideas in ways that won’t cause us to go home with the guilt trip.

Is there a particular theme you are looking for when creating the music lineup?

I love to see live music and go support my artists…as well as a bunch of other artist…mainly Texans but not strictly. Sometimes I’ll see a band that maybe isn’t quiet ‘there’ yet…but, they’re definitely good enough to be ‘there’. I want to become friends with that band or highlight them on stage…and at RRF we do both. But, every band we showcase has to have a particular sound. If you were on the water and enjoying nature would you really want to listen to every type of genre? To me, that’s not the case. There are specific types of music I want to hear while I’m in nature. We want a kind of vintage feel with the sound…that old kind of Rock & Roll, Blues and Funk…something you can really rock on the river.

Is there a particular band you are really excited to showcase this year?

Yes, definitely! The Pimps of Joytime. They have a sound that I’ve never heard before. It’s this contemporary, modern but vintage funk that just makes you want to dance and have fun. Getting them to perform this year is pretty much my greatest musical accomplishment to this point. I’m also really psyched about Tomar and the FC’s. I saw them at Continental Club in Houston and they put on a fucking killer show…very soulful. They kind of reminded me of Jackie Wilson who was one of my favorite performers. I think it’s really about to happen for them.

What are some of the most important aspects of RRF that first time attendees should know?
The one thing you want to know is that it’s a camping festival. Just bring your camping material. But, it’s also very communal. We do unplugged campfire shows at night after the main stage shuts down where you can watch from the river or from your lawn chair. You want to anticipate this not being like any other festival. We aren’t a few thousand fist pumping frat boys. We’re 500 people who are very comfortable having a good time and enjoying the natural surroundings. When you go here, the Guadalupe River really feels like it’s yours. The festival is at the end of September and New Braunfels and the river are kind of shut down. They’re done with the busy season. So, you don’t see a lot of people coming down the river. You really feel cut off in this beautiful piece of Texas. It just makes New Braunfels the perfect location.

For more information on River Revival Festival or Splice Records visit http://www.splicerecordstx.com.

River Revival press photo 4