Galactic’s musical style is as diverse as New Orleans, the city the band calls home. A staple on the jam band scene for nearly 20 years, the quintet melds funk, hip-hop, electronica, rock, blues and jazz into a sound all its own. In July, the band released Into the Deep, an album filled with notable guest appearances. On Wednesday, Nov. 11, Galactic will return to WorkPlay with Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band opening the 8 p.m. show. Recently, we caught up with Galactic bassist Robert Mercurio from his New Orleans home.
Weld: What is going on with Galactic right now?
Robert Mercurio: We did a whole bunch of touring and this month has been lighter, which is nice. We usually take it a little lighter in the fall.
Weld: Your new album, Into The Deep, includes several guest appearances — Mavis Staples, JJ Grey and Macy Gray, to name only a few. When you collaborate with these artists, do you place the song with the artist or the artist with the song?
RM: It kind of works both ways. We had a tune in mind that we thought would be great for Macy Gray and the same thing Mavis. With JJ, once we knew we were going to collaborate with him, he co-wrote with us. It all kind of starts with what we think will work with that person.
Weld: If you will, talk about the band’s songwriting process.
RM: Sometimes songs are bits and pieces from a while ago and some things are new ideas. They all start as little ideas that grow. Every tune is different as to how it grows.
Weld: Given that Into the Deep features a number of guests vocalists, has it been difficult to transport those songs to the live stage?
RM: We usually travel with a singer who’s versatile enough to be able to connect and bring the song to the road and make it their own. Currently, we’re touring with a vocalist, Erica Falls, and she can really handle all the music and she makes it sound like it came from her.
Weld: Even though Into the Deep just came out this year, are you already laying down ideas for the next album?
RM: Oh yeah, totally. we’re already working on the next album. You kind of have to. Our new album was finished in March or April and the label gets it for a while and sits on it. We’ve been in the studio and we’ve got three or four things working right now. It doesn’t always happen naturally — it’s hard to create creativeness. You have to pick and choose times that make sense. We have our own studio in New Orleans and it’s totally changed our ability to make records. I feel like our records have gotten a lot better since we can take as much time as we want.
Galactic will perform at WorkPlay on Wednesday, Nov. 11. Yo Mamma’s Big Fat Booty Band will open. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.; the show begins at 8 p.m. Tickets to the 18+ show are $25. For more information, visit workplay.com.