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An exclusive look at the making of Snarky Puppy’s new album EMPIRE CENTRAL

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Episode 1: Texas Is Texas

How would you describe Snarky Puppy? In Episode 1 of this series, band members weigh in on the essence of the group as they prepare to record Snarky Puppy’s forthcoming album, Empire Central. Driven by band leader Michael League’s direction to write an album that pays tribute to Dallas, the city where the band got its start, “Texas Is Texas” brings you into the process of planning a post-pandemic album and returning to its “Family Dinner-style” projects.

Snarky Puppy seamlessly fuses a deep knowledge and respect for musical tradition with sonic and conceptual innovation in a way that is able to reach the most critical- or most carefree- audience. After a decade of relentless touring and recording in all but complete obscurity, the Texas-bred/New York-based quasi-collective suddenly found itself held up by the press and public as one of the major figures in the jazz world. But as the category names for all four of the band’s Grammy® awards would indicate (Best R&B Performance in 2014, Best Contemporary Instrumental Album in 2016, 2017, and 2021), Snarky Puppy isn’t exactly a jazz band. It’s not a fusion band, and it’s definitely not a jam band. It’s probably best to take Nate Chinen of the New York Times’ advice, as stated in an online discussion about the group, to “take them for what they are, rather than judge them for what they’re not.”

Transmissions From Deep Ellum is produced by Eric Lense and Jamie Margulies of GroundUp Music, and is narrated by Alex Ariff. Producers for Osiris Media: Kirsten Cluthe and Matt Dwyer. Audio Production: Matt Dwyer. Developed with assistance from Brad Stratton. Written by Eric Renner Brown. Artwork by Mark Dowd.

This podcast is available on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. You can also ask Alexa to play it. Please leave us a rating or review on iTunes.

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Episode 2: Band Camp

In episode two of Transmissions From Deep Ellum, the band members give us an unprecedented look inside the creation and refinement of the songs that came to make up their new album, Empire Central. Though the collective has recorded in front of live audiences before, shaking off two years of pandemic lockdown added a new level of intensity to the process. Band members discuss what it felt like to get back into rehearsals and realign as a group in order to execute on the musical direction inspired by bandleader Michael League.

Snarky Puppy seamlessly fuses a deep knowledge and respect for musical tradition with sonic and conceptual innovation in a way that is able to reach the most critical- or most carefree- audience. After a decade of relentless touring and recording in all but complete obscurity, the Texas-bred/New York-based quasi-collective suddenly found itself held up by the press and public as one of the major figures in the jazz world. But as the category names for all four of the band’s Grammy® awards would indicate (Best R&B Performance in 2014, Best Contemporary Instrumental Album in 2016, 2017, and 2021), Snarky Puppy isn’t exactly a jazz band. It’s not a fusion band, and it’s definitely not a jam band. It’s probably best to take Nate Chinen of the New York Times’ advice, as stated in an online discussion about the group, to “take them for what they are, rather than judge them for what they’re not.”

Transmissions From Deep Ellum is produced by Eric Lense and Jamie Margulies of GroundUp Music, and is narrated by Alex Ariff. Producers for Osiris Media: Kirsten Cluthe and Matt Dwyer. Audio Production: Matt Dwyer. Developed with assistance from Brad Stratton. Written by Eric Renner Brown. Artwork by Mark Dowd.

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Episode 3: Wherever Socks Get Lost

In episode three of Transmissions From Deep Ellum, the band finally takes the stage to record Empire Central and they have to ask themselves - do they still know how to record a live studio album? Descending upon Dallas' Deep Ellum Art Company to record, the bar is as high as ever - even for a band as accomplished as Snarky Puppy. You’ll hear from longtime audio engineer Mike Harrison on how he captures their complex sound and improvisational performance; and, get a firsthand account of the recording process as if you were in the room experiencing the unique character of the Empire Central sessions - not a proper studio recording session, but also not a traditional live gig. Perspectives from the band members guide you through how they communicate and collaborate during the process, to ultimately achieve the sound that is Snarky Puppy.

Snarky Puppy seamlessly fuses a deep knowledge and respect for musical tradition with sonic and conceptual innovation in a way that is able to reach the most critical- or most carefree- audience. After a decade of relentless touring and recording in all but complete obscurity, the Texas-bred/New York-based quasi-collective suddenly found itself held up by the press and public as one of the major figures in the jazz world. But as the category names for all four of the band’s Grammy® awards would indicate (Best R&B Performance in 2014, Best Contemporary Instrumental Album in 2016, 2017, and 2021), Snarky Puppy isn’t exactly a jazz band. It’s not a fusion band, and it’s definitely not a jam band. It’s probably best to take Nate Chinen of the New York Times’ advice, as stated in an online discussion about the group, to “take them for what they are, rather than judge them for what they’re not.”

Transmissions From Deep Ellum is produced by Eric Lense and Jamie Margulies of GroundUp Music, and is narrated by Alex Ariff. Producers for Osiris Media: Kirsten Cluthe and Matt Dwyer. Audio Production: Matt Dwyer. Developed with assistance from Brad Stratton. Written by Eric Renner Brown. Artwork by Mark Dowd.

This podcast is available on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. You can also ask Alexa to play it. Please leave us a rating or review on Apple Podcasts.

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