Free Press Summer Fest

The Journey Agents: Flamboyance, Chops & Soul at Summer Fest

The Journey Agents can be described in one word: Funky. When we say funky, we mean like early Red Hot Chili Peppers. If you listen to their 2011 release, All Up in It!, you will either want to dance or turn the bass up to the max level.

Rocks Off caught up with St. Clair and Brandon Miles of the Journey Agents and chatted about such lovely things as their influences, their future and the process of making their first album.

Rocks Off: So tell me about how you guys came together.

St. Clair: This band has been going on for about three years now. We formed through a couple different circles of guys. Brandon [guitarist] has only been with the band for about two years.

It was just a kind of happenstance where he caught us at a gig one night and we all started talking. This band [the current incarnation] formed two years ago as far as where we're at directionwise, musically speaking. We knew each other through our time in Denton, Texas, at the University of North Texas, in a way. So it kinda just happened.

We recently brought in a drummer in the past year [Hector Casillas], and between him and Brandon it has really changed the direction of the band. We're always heavy with funk, as we are now. When we first got together, it was kind of a cluster -- we had a DJ and a rock guitarist. That's the thing where, with the album we just released [All Up In It!], is kind of the song that we wrote but with a different band.

We kind of took a change when Brandon came in. You can probably hear on the CD what songs are more influenced by Brandon than the other tunes, which are more rock-centered. That's why we plan to have another release out by early fall.

RO: Who do you consider to be your biggest influences so far?

Brandon Miles: I'm gonna say War, Sly Stone, Kool and the Gang, Average White Band...

SC: War, Sly Stone, Manzel. Our South American influences are Band of Black Rio.

BM: Band of Black Rio. Huge [influence].

RO: What specifically inspired you about these influences?

SC: Funk.

BM: Flamboyance! Chops. Soul.

SC: That "in-the-pocket-ness," too. I love the use of the chants in many of the songs, like what you hear in War and Band of Black Rio. They incorporate the chants and they keep it tight and in the pocket. All we try to do is make people groove.

RO: What are some of your favorite songs to perform live, covers or originals?

SC: We don't do very many covers. Most of our songs are all originals. What we are doing now is the funnest. We have a nice disco tune that we do which is really fun. We do a house-party tune, which gets everybody involved with the chanting. Since most of the venues that we play hold about 15 people, it goes over really well. It feels like a house party.

"Mainline" from our latest album is another that we like to do live. Our current album is an "album-before"-type situation. Some of those songs have kind of run their course. However, "Mainline" is a fun, up-tempo song. We like playing up-tempo, get-bodies-movin'-type stuff.

BM: It's gone sort of more Latin-disco kind of movement with a '60s-'70s kind of jazz feel.

SC: We have done some cover tunes such as Curtis Mayfield and Leon Haywood.

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Christina Lynn
Contact: Christina Lynn