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:: Spotlight :: Spotlight on the Fort Knox Five

By: Nina Bertok

The vibe is electric. Inside a Washington DC studio funk-reggae crew Fort Knox Five collaborate with the godfather of electro-funk Afrika Bambaataa while outside thousands gather to celebrate the inauguration of the first black US president Barack Obama.

A change is on the way, as is a brand new recording from Fort Knox Five and their idol, and Steve Raskin, Jon Horvath and Rob Myers are bursting with excitement. While it’s not the first time the group is collaborating with Afrika Bambaataa, as Horvath points out, both of the artists are stoked to be making music together again.

“Bambaataa is a blast!” enthuses Horvath. “In the past when we’ve worked with him we’ve had a great time, I mean, he’s the godfather! But most of all, he’s been a huge inspiration for us with everything that we have been involved with. Afrika Bambaataa has definitely been a role model for us.”

While performing alongside their idol was on the cards for the Funk 4 Peace Ball leading up to the inauguration of President Obama, heading into a studio to record some tracks was a spur-of-the-moment thing, as Raskin explains.

“We were just getting into this Peace 4 Funk gig with Afrika Bambaataa and some other DJs when we kind of figured, okay, since we’re already down here let’s get in the studio and see what we come up with. Recording something together was definitely spontaneous.”

Despite another album obviously in the making, right now it’s Fort Knox Five’s debut ‘Radio Free DC’ that is the record on everybody’s lips in the United States, and will likewise soon be in Australia.
“’Radio Free DC’ has been a long time in the making,” Raskin says. “We wanted to make an album that was full of our different influences instead of being just one genre. We decided to throw in a huge mix from hip-hop to punk to reggae and indie. It was tough to do but we felt really good about how it turned out in the end. Basically all the guest vocalists that agreed to be on the album were from our backyard. They’re all from the DC area. Now that the album is out in the States, it’s just a genuine relief on everyone’s part. It kind of feels like we can move on, it’s almost like it’s been holding us back for a while because it’s been all about this record. Basically, now it’s out of our hands and we can get back into making new music all over again.”

According to Myers, completing an album has been nothing short of a dream come true, and with their debut now behind them, Fort Knox Five have got a good feeling about 2009.

“Timing has been great for us especially concerning this album,” Myers claims. “It was definitely a political one in many ways and the timing of it coming out has been perfect considering everything that is going on in the world right now. It’s time for a change and everybody is excited with Barack Obama becoming the new American president – the musicians, artists and activists are all looking forward to the future.”

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