Music News

The pristine funk grooves of Natural Selection sparkle with exceptional musicianship

Much like Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, Natural Selection songwriter Samuel Glover works with professional musicians to craft pristine funk grooves that sparkle with musicianship. The catch? He and his bandmembers all live in different states. In time for a somewhat rare live show, where Natural Selection will release its new record, we caught up with Glover to talk about Steely Dan, precision versus emotional impact and throwing songs away.

Westword: Your sound kind of reminds me of Steely Dan. Is that one of your influences?

Samuel Glover: Yeah, I dig Steely Dan. I mean, it's a little over-intellectual, and it doesn't have the emotional intensity that I like. But as far as their process and everything, that's something I relate to and I like. Like how they use studio musicians, and kind of being able to use whoever they want to create that sound. The heavy musicianship that's going on.

Right. You guys have kind of a musician-heavy sound.

Yeah, that's something I'm trying to get away from a little bit. It's in the nature of who I'm working with, but it's also — it's kind of a funny thing when you listen to a record and it's like, oh, I like that musician and that musician, instead of just the overall impact of the song.

How do you avoid that?

A lot of times, it's going back to the initial ideas. Having worked on a song and trying to build all these ideas around it and realizing, oh, the first thought was the best thought, you know? Like the first, initial thing, when we were together and we had that magic, when that tune was fresh. It's weird how you can kind of build and build a tune, and then you realize you have to strip all that away and find out what's the foundation of it. You know, where is that emotional impact?

Have you changed up a lot of arrangements?

Yeah, I've written tons of different stuff. And I've thrown away a couple of songs, just because the vibe was off. And that's kind of scary. You know, you feel so lost in your creative process or whatever. But I think we spent enough time on the record that I have a good perspective on what we want to go for. And it's a very happy time, because I love writing, and now we can kind of just get all that shit out of the way, and it's done — it'll be there forever. And now we can leave it and not have to think about those songs ever again.

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Jef Otte
Contact: Jef Otte