The funk generation is back with Boulevards. A.k.a. Jamil Rashad, who we met with before his May 5th Detroit Play. Rashad, who is from Raleigh, North Carolina, is a recent signee to Captured Tracks and most recently released his debut dance-oriented Groove! album. His songs have beats that make you want to snap your fingers and vibrant melodies that make you want to sway back and forth. Pulling inspiration from some of the greats like James Brown, Prince, and Michael Jackson, Boulevards' eclectic vibe is bringing funk to our generation. Follow our conversation below to learn more about Rashad's journey and how to rock a cool turtleneck.
What The Sound: Can you tell me more about Raleigh and the music scene there?
Jamil: Yeah, Raleigh, it's dope. You've got a lot of little indie bands, some hip-hop bands, some trap, some drill music. Then some Southern trap music, it's really based around their really folk music, indie rock music, or just plain just hip-hop.
WTS: You've got this funk style. Are there any funk artists from your hometown or your state that have given you more local inspiration from a local level to grow?
Jamil: Not necessarily as far as musically but there are some bands who I really dig. Bands who tour a lot, playing lots of shows inspire me. Like a band called American Aquarium, obviously you have King Mez, you know he's from Raleigh, he's done stuff with Dr. Dre's album and The Game. So seeing artists like that excel obviously inspires me to excel even though it's not in the same vein of music.
WTS: We see that Future Islands follows you on Instagram...
Jamil: Yeah, yeah! They're one of my homies.
WTS: They're from that area... right?
Jamil: Yeah, you know what I'm saying, William [bassist] is a good friend of mine. We went to highschool together. They're good guys. That's another band that inspires me. Those guys toured rigorously and they paid their dues and you know, obviously they work pretty fucking hard so, excuse my French, but that's definitely a band that inspires me to be successful.
WTS: Rollergirl produced your album, right?
Jamil: Yeah. He and Leroy [Taste Nasa], Leroy is from New Zealand, lives in LA now. Adam [Rollergirl] is from Ohio, and he produced a good bit of the record.
WTS: How'd you get connected with Rollergirl?
Jamil: It's funny... I moved back from New York to North Carolina and in the process I was finding music that would help me excel, music that would help me find my sound. I was on Tumblr. Tumblr can be very addicting and I was on there looking at vintage photos, 80's and 70's type photography. I went though one Tumblr and it was some VHS rollerskate type party. I was thinking, "Who is this?!" I knew I had to reach out to this guy so I stalked him on SoundCloud, reached out to him. It took him a couple days to respond but then he responded back and the rest was history from there. It's kind of the same thing I did with Leroy as well. I reached out to him. He had a turtleneck on, he was like my long lost brother right here. Basically, we started talking about ideas, shared bands we loved, and funk music that we loved and it was more of a real authentic connection.
WTS: About turtlenecks, I see you have one on now. Do you perform with them?
Jamil: Sometimes! Now, not so much because it's getting a bit warmer out. I have before in the past. My dad, his style has always inspired me. Back in the day, we used to wear turtlenecks. It makes me feel comfortable. Obviously, with being in Toronto, I thought it was kind of cool and I thought it would feel kind of cool here [in Detroit] too. It actually feels a lot better here than it did in Toronto.
WTS: You released Groove! and that is a huge step as an artist, what else are you hoping to accomplish with Boulevards?
Jamil: Bringing the party funk to our generation. Your parents have funk and disco, my parents have funk and disco, and I feel like a lot of kids don't have that now. We have trap music, drill music. You have folk, indie music. You have hip-hop, that's kind of modern. People just want to go out and have fun and feel sexy. All the stuff that's going on in the world right now, I want to bring that feel good music. You want to feel good, you want to look sexy, take out a bunch of ladies, get your favorite cologne on, go out and have a good time and dance with a complete stranger that you might not see ever again. That's what I want to bring to my music and that's what I want to bring to my shows and my career and make the best party funk and funk music that I can make to my ability.