The Eclectic Collective
The Eclectic Collective was a crossover band from Boston, Massachusetts. Members include Dua Boayke (vocals), Salim Akram (guitar), Sheel Dave (drums), RP Thompson (keyboards), Graham Masser (bass), Special Blend (turntables), Santi Araujo (guitar), AfroDZak (trumpet/rap vocals), Rob Oswald (saxophone), and Noni Kai (vocals). The group released two albums, but many reviewers have complained that the quality of the band's recorded material was not up to the standard of their live shows.
In 2001, Dua Boayke, vocals, and Salim Akram, guitar, joined to form the acoustic group The Kazien Komplex. The duo played mainly for local coffee shops, singing politically influenced songs and sets. In 2003, after writing a few songs with Dua and Salim, drummer Sheel Dave signed on. Later that year, Sheel brought in him guitarist Santi Araujo, keyboardist RP Thompson, and bassist Graham Masser, members of a band he had been filling in for. Turntablist Special Blend also joined on in 2003 and by 2004, the band, now going by The Eclectic Collective, were performing throughout Boston.
Later in 2004, rap artist and trumpet player AfroDZak signed on, along with saxophonist Rob Oswald, and the sole female member, soul singer Noni Kai. The group played at a variety of venues, from rock to jazz to blues clubs. The group not only boasts an elective instrumental collection, but also a diverse group of band members. As of 2007, AfroDZak and Special Blend haven’t been as active in the band; the second album, The Flux, focusing on the other main eight. Drummer Sheel Dave also plays in the popular band Irepress and has been juggling his time spent working with both.
Time Flies is the name of The Eclectic Collective’s ten-song debut album. The Boston Phoenix described the band as "(peppering) the disc with the musical equivalent of exclamation points".
The Flux was The Eclectic Collective’s second album, and debuted in 2007. Michael Barbiero, a 3-time Grammy winning mixer, worked with the band on mixing the album’s tracks. Mike Poorman, of Strangeway Recordings, also helped to touch up the songs before they headed to the studio to record. Despite producing another moderately successful album, the band is still without a record label.
End of Eclectic Collective
After the second album debuted, the band was in preparations for a tour throughout the South to help push the record. They also planned to back up Slick Rick on some shows on the East Coast. They then planned to take some time off from touring to work on getting some new material together.
The band disbanded soon after The Flux and the members went their separate ways. Dua, Salim, Graham, Santji, and Sheel later formed the experimental rock-soul group Bad Rabbits.
The Eclectic Collective has been compared to Gym Class Heroes, At the Drive-In, 311, John Legend, Jill Scott, RX Bandits, Mutemath, Deftones, Brand New, GlassJaw, Fishbone, Radiohead, Irepress, and The Receiving End of Sirens. Salim also lists his influences as the music he listened to while growing up, including Green Day, Rage Against the Machine, early 311, Nirvana, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, although he says that now “I draw influences from the music today and people I play with. It’s important to have a grasp on what’s going on around you. But I never forgot where all this stuff came from so I have always been a fan of classic Soul and R&B.”
Most of the lyrics in the songs reference romantic hardships and political injustice and Sheel has joked “I write all the lyrics, and all of my lyrics are about how amazing Falcor from the Neverending Story is”.
Time Flies
- Interlude 1 (Get Up)
- Useless Parade
- Interlude 2 (beeadoh)
- Souls on Ice
- Wanting the Factual
- Time Flies
The Flux
- Ocean of Tears
- Beautiful Mess
- Ask Yourself
- Shattered Monuments
- The Flux
The band is difficult to pin down into one specific genre. They sound like a variety of types of music, and as Salim said, “have shared bills with hip-hop bands, Maceo Parker who is a jazz funk legend, Fishbone who is a ska punk-rock legend, and then we’ve played on metal shows and we have turned heads in every situation.”
“Remember 311? Remember the good parts of 311? Well, if you took all the good parts of 311 and added some soul-influenced vocals, At the Drive-In-esque guitars, fusion-y keyboards, and a female vocalist that could put most pop singers to shame, you might be getting somewhere near what Eclectic Collective is. But you wouldn’t quite be there yet.” –WERS 88.9 Boston"
"Eclectic Collective is a band with a unique blend of jazz, rock, rhythm and blues and social consciousness, with a little bit of the Fugees mixed in for good measure. Interesting songs and lyrics are always a good foundation to begin with. Add to that solid musicianship and the interesting male-female dynamic of their vocal duets, and one can see why Eclectic Collective possesses a recipe for success." - Michael Barbiero
"What makes their music different is the band's apparent refusal to stuff themselves into any one genre... the diversity of musical backgrounds between them is what has produced their anomalous sound."
“The Flux is one of 2007's most thrilling, most creative, and easily one of the year's most original records to hit. The band combines a flurry of sounds to create one mind-bendingly original mash-up that will make any lover of emotional, motivating and energetic music want to open up their arms and wrap them around the next person to walk in the room.” –AbsolutePunk.net
"The nine-member band lived up to its name by singing, rhyming, jamming and conjuring memories of a time when organic rhythm ruled hip-hop, as well as a time when soulful groups such as Digable Planets got MTV airplay"