The Music of Genome: An Interview with Patrick Dinnen

With a fresh new self-titled album and one jamtastic single, Genome is multiplying. The six-piece instrumental group joins elements of jazz, hip hop, EDM, rock and Afrobeat on their latest collection, creating a contemporary music blend that pulsates with power and finesse. The current single from Genome, their second album, is “Twelve40 and 2fifty8,” a vibrant mix of ambient funk with perhaps some Spiro Gyra or the Brecker Brothers thrown in just for good taste. But that is only the beginning of Genome, the band, as well as the music.

The Chicago-based combo is all about fine musicianship and creating a good time. If Genome is in the house, no doubt, the dancing and partying will be kicked up a notch. That is precisely why the word is spreading about Genome. It’s no coincidence. On the band’s website, it is clear the group believes music possesses medicinal qualities that can heal the world. After listening to the newly released album, you’ll likely agree. Recorded and mixed entirely at Chicago’s Fullerton Recording Studios and mastered at The Exchange in London by Graeme Durham, Genome contains 11 original songs.

*Catch Genome on Instagram*

With track titles such as “Nu Nu Nu,” “3 Legged Dog” and “LSMR,” the syncopated 5:21 “Kemuri Kai” evokes somewhat of a robotic, yet Ska vibe. Also, check out “One Last Shot.” The song has an infectious live feel, complete with rocking keyboard and guitar solos. All of the cuts have a tight, professional sound. As a result, you cannot help but draw comparisons to groups like Chicago, Blood Sweat and Tears, The Specials and Chic Correa’s Return to Forever. There is no denying Genome’s winning formula.

*Watch “Kemuri Kai” live*

Genome is Asif Wilson – keyboards; Igor Voltchenko – guitar; Xavier Galdon – percussion, trombone, electronics; Patrick Dinnen – bass; Kyle Madsen – flute, tenor sax; and Jarad Kleinstein – drums, electronic drums. Together and often with a classic fusion flavor, Genome creates dance parties that the band likes to say, “Transcend time, space and earthly boundaries.”

*Check out Facebook for more videos featuring Genome*

Interview with Patrick Dinnen caught up with Genome’s Patrick Dinnen for a telephone interview. Though a windswept snowstorm almost prevented things from happening, the remarkable bass player talked about the new album, Genome, “Twelve40and2fifty8,” the origins of the band, future plans and a lot more.

Congratulations on the new album and the single, “Twelve40and2fifty8.” This is the band’s second album. How is it different from the first album, Salutations? Or does it continue with the same kind of musical approach?

It is definitely a continuation of the same approach. But it also shows the evolution of each individual’s musicianship, as well as our stylistic approach to music. I would say the overall approach is varied where we’re combining a lot of different styles trying to come up with a congruent sound. We’ll take different influences, like jazz, EDM and worldbeat and try to meld those three genres into one sound. So, I would say the biggest difference between this and the last album, at least hopefully, is we did that with more success this time.

Your music has been described as having elements of jazz, hip hop, Afrobeat and EDM. What was the inspiration behind “Twelve40and2fifty8?”

The title comes from the time of night when the composition was first started and then the time it was finished. It was completed in a fairly short amount of time. Xavier Galdon is our trombone player and the primary producer. He does most, if not all, of the electronic sounds on that song in particular and the album. He was officially combining hip hop and Afrobeat; that’s where he pulls a lot of his influences from. You’re going to hear producers like J Dilla in the song and other references because I think his [Xavier] main focus was to skillfully meld those two sounds together.

 *“Twelve40and2fifty8” on Soundcloud*

“Kemuri Kai” is another cut from the new collection. The song gives off a robotic vibe. Where did the title come from?

It is essentially Japanese and loosely translated, means “smoke ocean” or “ocean of smoke.” That might give you a clue as to our frame of mind when we wrote the song. I’ve been pretty heavily influenced by Japanese ethnic culture, everything from the music to the food and the art. I think it’s really beautiful, stoic and dramatic. But where the song does not represent the dramatic side of Japanese culture, I do think that it emulates in some ways – a robotic feel that is associated with that culture.

How did the members of Genome first get together? Had you worked together before?

The original drummer, Drew Littell and I went to college together, at Roosevelt University in Chicago and through that I met Xavier Galdon and Kyle Madsen, our saxophone player. They were both attending Roosevelt. From that kind of came the rapport of the band. We had known Igor Voltchenko, our guitarist, because he was involved with other projects, most notably a band called Fifth World, which I and my keyboardist, Asif Wilson, were in. It was a funk hip hop group during 2009 through about 2011 or 2012. It’s now defunct, but it was a really fun group. I guess you could say we mostly met at Roosevelt University and through those connections we were able to create the band.

It says on the band’s website that “music’s ability to heal, can and will, change the world.” Do you believe that? How so?

Absolutely, it’s changed moments of dark in my life into light. And it helps bring clarity to confusion. There’s something uniting about music that is kind of individual and unique too. You could maybe say that about the arts in general. But music unifies people instead of dividing them. Money, religion, power and those things that divide, music does the opposite of that. It brings people together.

What are the group’s plans for the future?

Well, in 2015 we played about 70 shows and brought our music out to a few new states. We would like to expand on that even more and hopefully get out west and also continue to hit the east coast. We had a couple of great shows in the Pennsylvania-New York State area and would like to increase that too.

Where can we get the new album?

Genome is available online on our website, iTunes, Bandcamp® and we’ll have it up on Spotify.

We have to ask, what type of electric bass guitar do you play? How about amplifiers?

I use a Lakeland bass. It’s a Chicago-based company. I’ve been playing one for about six years now. I use a DNA cabinet, that’s David Nordschow. And David Eden, I use his cabinets, I think they’re wonderful products. Then I use a David Eden bass amplifier right now.

You can check out more of Genome on the band’s official website, Facebook and Reverbnation.

*Note that a revision was made to correctly spell Fifth World and Asif Wilson’s name.


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