If you ask anyone who the funkiest band in Bellingham is, a resounding response will be Yogoman Burning Band. Since 2006, Yogoman and his crew have been getting people to shake their booties all over the Northwest and beyond.
“My goal was to create accessible dance music for all ages and I think we’ve done that,” said Jordan Rain, aka DJ Yogoman, while standing on top of downtown building preparing for a photo shoot. “Now the focus is on spreading our message worldwide and start playing in other countries.”
Rain got into DJing under the Yogoman moniker in 1998. Eight years later he added the Burning Band and started playing live.
“I wanted to create the same type of crowd energy I had while DJing and bring some vibrant energy to the dark northwest,” he said.
Over the past seven years, the band has built a legion of fans, so you’re probably familiar with their history, but the next chapter of the story begins on New Years when the band releases its fourth studio album (which is still untitled).
“We started on New Years Eve in 2006, so it was only fitting to have an album release show that same night so many years later,” Rain said. “I’m excited for fans to hear it because I think this album perfectly captures all of our influences as a whole.”
The album was recorded over the last year in a number of different studios ranging from Bellingham (where a song about the Bellingham Food Bank was recorded) to the Old School Studios in Casper, California, which actually closed its door after the session, leaving Yogoman part of the studio’s legacy as the final band that recorded there.
“One song, ‘Taking Over Dancehall Tonight’ has more of a pop sound to it, but it’s well produced and has a more modern feel. I wrote that song while on tour one morning on the beach in Casper, so it was definitely a special feeling to come back less than a year later and record it there,” Rain said. “This album is definitely a progression from the past records. It’s a musical journey that will take fans through a lot of different types of styles.”
Rain says the new album is a “long time coming,” but will be glad when the finished product reaches fans. The writing process can be tough for a band with no guitar, but that keeps Rain on his toes and striving to create something amazing.
“I’ll usually come up with a hook or chorus and then we’ll hash it out in practice. Writing without a guitar line can be very interesting, but we solve that by writing a three-chord progression for the horns instead.”
Along with the new album, the band is getting used to its newer line-up. Wth Jordan on drums/vocals and Mars Lindgren on trombone, the band added three new members — Michael Rain (Jordan’s father) on bass, Amanda Rhine on Saxophone/vocals and Nelson Bell on trombone/trumpet/tuba/sousaphone/ percussion in late 2011. Asking your father to join your band might seem like an odd choice, but Rain says the idea came naturally.
“I had been wanting to play in a band with my dad for a while, so when we had the chance we hit the road hard,” Jordan said. “It’s more like being in a band with my little brother than my dad,” Jordan laughs. “He had more of a rock and roll background, so we had to kind of school him in the ways of rhythm dance music. But I had always wanted to play in a band with my dad, so I’m glad we got the chance to make it work.”
Michael agreed. “Playing in a band with my son was the last thing I ever expected, but I was excited to do it and it has been an awesome experience,” he said as he proudly showed a photo of him and very young Jordan behind his first drum kit. “That photo was us on Christmas day and I’m pretty sure he ripped those drums to shreds in a few months.”
And with Jordan’s daughter, Meixing, sometimes singing with the band or even adding some percussion, a rare occurrence was created as three generations of Yogoman are now creating music together.
“She’s the biggest inspiration on my life, so I love including in her in what I’m doing,” Jordan said. “We actually kind of wrote ‘Dragon Bus’ together as we made up a little song while waiting on the bus.”
One of the most common things you hear about Yogoman is about how great their live show is. But you won’t truly know how fun a live show is until you get out and dance your ass off.
“People always say we have a great live show, which is a great compliment. We want people to come out and have fun, dance and celebrate life,” Rain said. “We live in a part of the country where there is a lot of darker, melon collie music, so we definitely challenge ourselves to create positive, upbeat music.”
As the band continues to expand its horizons, Rain says he has a number of goals for the band’s future.
“Our main focus right now is to get the new album out to our fans and keep touring; but we also have a new booking agent, which will hopefully open bigger doors for us in 2014. Growing is a challenge, but it’s time to expand our horizons.”
Catch Yogoman Burning Band at the Green Frog on New Year’s Eve. For more information about the group, visit www.yogomanburningband.com or follow their Facebook page.