Funk band debuts soulful EP ‘From Paradise’

It was fate. It was good timing. Or maybe it was the musical gods. Whatever it was, nothing could have prepared Tyler (Ty) Phillips-Bond for what would become the explosion of funk/neo-soul goodness that is TATTAT.

From working together at a bike shop to bonding over a Led Zeppelin tattoo and karaoke, the formation of TATTAT was serendipitous, beginning with drummer Phillips-Bond, bassist Steven Simeon and vocalist Emily Rhodes. Phillips-Bond's intro to Simeon as fellow employees at Paradise Garage in the Short North led to a musical chemistry the pair added to with Rhodes, whom Phillips-Bond knew from high school.

Rhodes' raw, emotive voice helped to solidify the funk outfit's sound, which later received a boost from guitarist Noah Richelsen and lead vocalist Ian Ulrich, who came on board in fall 2017 after chance encounters with Phillips-Bond at a local bar, where they bonded over shared musical interests. By spring of this year, vocalist and trumpeter Jordan Rush and keyboardist Jashawn Boswell had joined the group, cementing the ensemble. The seven-piece band will release five-song EP From Paradise at King Avenue 5 on Saturday, Sept. 8.

“Everything from the beginning has felt completely natural,” Phillips-Bond said. “Every time someone added on, it's like we picked up momentum. … The way we're all able to communicate musically is unreal.”

The group's musical chemistry is evident on From Paradise. “Orange Sky,” with its beachy, funk-rooted melodies and energetic vibe, complements a track like “Excursion,” the slow-burning core of the EP that demonstrates the group's emotional reach with dramatic climaxes and off-beat rhythms.

“A lot of what we do is rooted in jazz music,” said Richelsen. “It's essentially organized chaos.”

Paradise Garage, the EP's namesake, serves as the backdrop for the band. Amid the smell of rubber tires and equipment snaked between racks of bikes, the group found its songs coming together seamlessly, using the alley behind the shop as a writer's nook, where Richelsen said rehearsals were like “going to church.”

In less than a year, TATTAT has played various shows across the city, including a recurring gig Thursday nights at the Walrus. The group won a battle of the bands contest at GrassRoots Music Festival in Trumansburg, New York, solidifying a spot on the fest's 2019 bill. TATTAT is also slated to open for Colorado band Big Gigantic at the Funk'N Beer Festival in November.

“We're just getting started,” Ulrich said. “[If] things are this beautiful now, I can't imagine where we're going to be next.”