Durand Jones and the Indications have roots in Louisiana (that’s where Jones spent his youth), but their home is Bloomington, Indiana, where the band formed. And Bloomington isn’t exactly where you’d imagine a soul band to rise from, but Jones, who grew up singing in his Louisiana church, assures that guitarist Blake Rhein and drummer Aaron Frazer have plenty of soul, too.
The three met at the Indiana University Soul Revue in 2012; Rhein and Frazer were already in a band with Kyle Houpt (bass) and Justin Justin Hubler (keys) called Charlie Patton’s War. But they met Jones and realized they had stumbled upon something special. Last summer, they released an eponymous debut record on Colemine Records.
Before their first visit to Birmingham — part of their first national tour — Jones, Rhein, and Frazer spoke to Weld about how they developed their style and their path the first record.
Weld: How did you combine your style with the band’s?
Durand Jones: [Rhein] heard me sing and asked me to come join him and his band, Charlie Patton’s War. And we ended up writing eight soul tunes. Colemine Records wanted to put it out as an album.
Blake Rhein: We had only played one show prior to the album being released. Since it’s come out, we’ve probably played a dozen shows. We weren’t really working at it as a live band until the album came out. When the album came out and got a really good reception, we decided to make something of it.
Weld: How did you attract that attention from Colemine Records with no real existing presence to speak of?
Rhein: I met Terry [Cole] when I was 19 and I picked up a CD by his band called the Jive Turkeys. At that time, I was already really into what [indie soul label] Daptone was doing; on the back of the Jive Turkeys CD, I saw that he was from Middletown, Ohio, which is just outside of Cincinnati, and I thought, “Oh, that’s really cool that there’s a smaller scale, Daptone-ish operation that’s really nearby where we are.”
So I started talking to him and we worked on a few things together. I started sending him the tunes that we were doing and he was really enthusiastic about the album; in a lot of ways, he had more confidence in it than we did ourselves.
Weld: It doesn’t really seem to apply to what you’re doing, but “soul revival” has become a popular thing to say, and it’ll certainly be blanketed over your music. Is the word “revival” necessary? Are “soul” and “soul revival” two separate things?
Jones: I feel like they’re two separate things because, yeah, we are looking back in the past and grabbing things from there, but we’re also heavily influenced by music today. I think of Aaron Frazer’s drumming, and I think he’s putting some elements in there that are influenced by hip-hop.
Aaron Frazer: We definitely draw inspiration from artists that came before us, but I think soul played a huge role in hip-hop and that, in turn — people that grow up loving the samples; people that choose to make soul music inherently infused with a hip-hop influence. I don’t think at all that way. I wouldn’t call it a hip-hop or soul band, but I wouldn’t call it a “soul revival” band either.
Weld: So your drumming was influenced by hip-hop?
Frazer: Yeah, definitely. The rhythm in hip-hop is very simple. There’s not a lot of flashy technique. And that’s the same with a lot of the soul drumming that I love. It always serves the song first and foremost. That’s what I try to do on drums, and I think that’s what everyone tries to do on their respective instruments.
Weld: Durand, you grew up singing in the church in Louisiana. Do you feel like the authenticity of your sound comes from that period of your life?
Jones: Yeah. My stepmom also sings gospel music, and I was influenced by her a bunch. My mother is a music enthusiast; she doesn’t really play professionally. She played organ. She really loved Ray Charles, Nat King Cole, Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong — she loved listening to all those folks; being around the house and listening to all that stuff played just as much of a role as the church.
Weld: Were you surprised to find guys that had that kind of soul in Indiana?
Jones: Definitely! Totally unexpected. Hanging out with these guys and listening to all these deep cuts that I hadn’t even heard — it gave me a fervor and a hunger to really dig in, really embrace this genre of music. I’ve always loved soul music, but I found a new love for it, a new reverence for it. It was really cool.
Durand Jones and the Indications come to Seasick Records on Friday, March 10. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show begins at 8 p.m. Admission is $10. The Audiovore and Suaze will have DJ sets at the show, and Chef Robby Melvin will have a soul food pop-up. For more information, visit seasickbham.com.