Local Limelight: Buffalo’s Funktional Flow

There has been a lot to be said about the Buffalo music scene these days, especially with bands like moe. and most recently Aqueous, making a splash in the music community. One band that has been around for the last few years is Buffalo’s Funktional Flow.

Pictured left to right: Matthew Lester, Joey Lewis, Jeffrey Kuebler, Jim Edgar, and Ben Whalen

They added two new members to the trio. Joining the band is guitarist, Joey Lewis.  Alongside horn/keyboard player, Matthew Lester, everything seems to be moving onward and upward since. It was only a month or so ago that both were introduced as full-time members during the band’s CD release party for, Let it Settle, that went down at local music hot spot Nietzche’s.

Lester and Lewis join original members Jeffrey Kuebler (guitar), Jim Edgar (drums) and Ben Whelan (bass).

NYS Music caught up with the band while they were rehearsing for their much-anticipated sets for Buffalove Music Festival at North Fork Music Park in Warsaw, NY. The festival will take place June 18-20 and Funktional Flow have been a big part of Buffalove since the beginning.

Tom Sgroi:  For those people who haven’t seen or heard you, who is Funktional Flow?

Jeffrey Kuebler: Funktional Flow is a melting pot of a lot of different genres that we are influenced by. It’s basically each one of us in the band and our different influences that we bring to the table, a lot of different styles and genres that we kind of throw in a blender. If we’re into reggae at one time that will come out and if it’s funk that will come out.

Jim Edgar: Whatever music you get into at the time that you listen to definitely influences you.

TS: What’s been the most difficult thing for the band with going through a few different guitarists since the beginning?

JK: Integrating different people to the music, songs that we played a thousand times we had to run over and over and getting them integrated into has probably been the biggest setback. At the end of the day it was a good learning experience and it made us all better going through it.

JE: Yea, definitely three different guitar players gives the band three different sounds for sure, it does make song more fun as it wasn’t the same over four years (laughs).

TS: Tell us a little about the newer members with Matt and Joey, how you guys ended up picking them up and having them come on full-time?

JK: It was a natural progression and Matt was before Joey. We played with Matt with Ben Whalen, Your Mom and the Reacharounds and that got us playing together and he got familiar with our style and that was a no brainer. Me and Joey have been playing for years, pushing a decade really, so that was a natural thing, it was great having him come aboard and were very happy with the current and final lineup.

TS: Ben, Jim and Jeff, you’re all original members, how have you guys kept it together since the start?

JK: A lot of fist fights (laughs).

Ben Whalen: I don’t know, communication and true friendship. We’re actually friends when were not playing.

JK: We have a lot of fun and that’s what it really boils down to.

TS: How do you think adding keys and horns will add to the overall sound of the band?

JK: It can only add to it and make it more dynamic and full sounding. It also kinda lends itself to what we originally wanted when we set out to create the band. When we generally write songs we will write them in mind of all the instrumentation. Having that has really rounded out our sound.

TS: Tell me a little about Buffalove. You guys have really been the forefront of it, what is it all about?

JK: Yea Cody (Conway) built the festival around us and Aqueous and it’s grown from there. Its getting bigger every year and to play with some of the caliber of bands it’s getting, is really a cool thing.

TS: Matt and Joey, what’s it been like for you guys joining the group?

Matt Lester: Yea I started playing with these guys a lot, anytime they needed horns I would play. I was fortunate to be invited to Bliss, NY to the cabin they go down to and that was the first time I played keys for them and that’s when everything starting clicking. It’s been a lot of fun for sure.

TS: Joey?

Joey Lewis: Yea, I was there for a while seeing how the rotation was going for Funktional Flow. Having the guitarists and not having the best of luck and I would help out with whatever gig I could. I was pretty aware of the songs so they didn’t need to waste time. So, finally I decided I wanted to play with the kids I grew up with and are my friends, and the music I like to play. I was really happy when they asked me to be in the band and contribute.

TS: Yea, because you were involved with a couple other bands. ( The Heritage and Whiskey River).

JL: Yea, I felt obligated to them but at the end of the day when you hone in your talent and want to play the music you want to play and you don’t want to do it for any other reason that is when I asked Jeff and Ben if they wanted to bring me on full-time.

ML: Yea like joey said we were in other bands and had an obligation but at the same time when the opportunity arose it wasn’t something we could pass up for sure. I’m really glad we made the decision because it’s been a blast ever since.

TS: This is more for Jeff, Jim and Ben again but last year you guys played Catskill Chill, what festival would you want to be part of in the future?

JK: Any and all of them, I would love to play Summer Camp

BW: F@#$! Yea, Summer Camp!

TS: Ok, sounds like that is the big one for every one.

TS: What other local or regional bands influence you guys?

JK: Oh man there is so many good bands around here with so many talented people and to be part of the scene is great. I would say at the top of the list would be our boys, Aqueous. We have done a lot with them and they’re doing some great things and representing for our area. They have been a big influence, but there is so many to mention but that is the first one that pops in the head. We go out to so many show’s in Buffalo since Ben has a hand in so many shows. I say that we gain a bit of influence from every band we play with.

JE: I’d say anyone we play with in the area too.

TS: If there was one band you could tour with and open for perhaps who would it be?

JK: Umphrey’s McGee!

BW: I think we would be a better fit for like moe. or a reggae band. The Green or Rebelution.

JK: Revolution would be awesome. Umphrey’s would be a dream and I could hang it up after (laughs).

TS: Is there one musician, past or present that if you could have a conversation with you would pick?

JK: Bradley Nowell

JL: Shannon Hoon

ML: That’s a really good question and there is so many to choose from but I have a deep affiliation for Phish pretty heavy I would have to say Page McConnell.

JE: There is probably a million people but drummer wise I would have to say Keith Moon, maybe.

BW: Hendrix I guess

TS: Anything else you guys want to add?

BW: New album coming in the late summer/fall.

TS: Yea, I know you guys have been writing a bunch of new songs so that is good to hear, so new album the fall. Well thanks for your time guys and I look forward to checking out your sets with the upcoming Buffalove Music Festival in a few weeks.

Check Funktional Flow out with a bunch of other great bands at Buffalove Music Festival! Get your tickets here.

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