YCB....a Britfunk band in the UK and set for bigger things.
The band have been together for 8 years and have 2 studio albums and as many live albums out with a 3rd studio album shortly due for release in March 2009
The ethos of YCB is to get the best possiable music out and do it well...anything else just isn't cricket!
Phil D first started playing music at the age of eight, where at his local primary school he had a fond liking to playing acoustic guitar especially in the Spanish Flamenco style. He stuck with it for about a year untill other things such as sport took his life over. It wasn't until the age of 19, that the calling of the bass guitar took hold of him after hearing a certain young man's playing from the Isle of Wight . From there followed a number of devoted years, invested in persuing the mysteries of the Bass guitar fretboard + techniques, in particular Slap. Turned on by the mixture of Funk and rock, he then decided to join forces with Marky N Robson and a talented local vocalist, Lily Gonzalez and persue that elusive recording contract. Five years in all were spent, with a great deal of experience gained working with one of the UK's top music producers, Nicky Graham (Bros,Let Loose).
Phils influences are quite diverse, but mainly influenced by three major players, Mark King, Francis Rocco Prestia and Flea. Musical styles range from Funk to Rock to Acid Jazz, typically imbelished with bands such as Incognito, Brand New Heavies, Chic,Tower of Power and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers.
His major aim is to get the Brit funk thing happening again, and, with YCB sounding the way they currently are, he thinks that things are moving in the right direction!
Ben started teaching himself accoustic steel strung guitar at age 14, after picking a few chords up from his elder brother Damion and from his childhood pal Adam. By the time he was 15 he had saved up enough money to buy a brand spanking gorgeous (his words), 'Westone Spectrum GT' electric guitar, which he had lusted over for the past year. By the age of 19 Ben was a very competent guitarist in both accoustic and electric diciplines, but felt he needed a proper education in music theory in order to really explore.
2 years spent studying in Liverpool between 1990 and 1992 provided him with the basic building blocks of musical theory, as well as a very thorough understanding of the more complex musical forms accociated with Jazz.
Ben has always felt that although he studied Jazz and can do passable parodies of the typical styles, he is definately not a 'Jazz' guitarist. His influences are a mix of the psychedelic trance rock of Steve Hillage with large slices of Dave Gilmour, Joe Satriani and Steve Vai, peppered with a bit of Steve Howe, Eric Clapton and Gordon Giltrap, and in more subtle ways, players like B B King, John Martin, Mike Oldfield, Jan Ackerman and Trevor rabin. "No-one knows how to put 3 notes together and make them matter like Gilmour and King, and not many have a more complete mastery of technique like Vai and Satriani. I try to marry the two approaches as best i can".
During his final year at Liverpool Ben aquired his first Ibanez, a cherry red RG360 and he has played various Ibanez guitars ever since. his current axe is a 2001 Ibanez Jem7DBK, but he still has his signature '94 Jem555 all black, a veteran of some 5 or 6 hundred gigs.
In 1993 Ben was teetering on the edge of going off travelling round the world (as you do when you're 22), and just as he was starting to plan his trip, he was asked if he would be interested in taking on axe duties in a local band called 'Tin Lily', who were on the up, and expected to do great things. This was where he first met Phil (Bass) and Mark (Keys). Both of these guys were excellent players, and also had interesting and contrasting musical backgrounds that suited his own genre hopping approach.
After 6 years working their guts out trying to make 'Tin Lily' work, and numerous dashed hopes, Ben decided to quit the band, and as everyone else kinda felt the same way, it sadly went the way of the dodo. Which was a real shame for everyone involved, but was just not meant to be.
After Tin Lily ended, Ben began concentrating more on writing and producing music for TV/Radio/Film use, which now enjoys worldwide useage. This material which is mainly electronic in nature, is not available comercially to the public. Rather, it remains within the TV/Film production community and is licenced for use by TV stations, program producers, etc etc.
Writing/Producing these 'Industry' albums (7 to date), is his main 'bread and butter' occupation.
At the beginning of 2001 Phil approached Ben with some partially completed tracks that he and Mark were working on, with a view to him cooking up some sweet guitar parts for them. These tracks were a return to Phil's more natural JazzFunk roots, and the idea of doing some more restrained Jazzier music appealed to Ben a great deal. As it turned out, Phil was actually wanting Ben to bring his rock edge to the proceedings, and so he ended up wailing like a man possessed in true 'Rawk Gawd' fashion on several of the key tracks that went on to form the basis of what is now YCB's 2double01 album. Of course there are also some mellower moments ('Double Baggitt' comes to mind), but the album became quite an infusion of Jazz Funk and Rock flavas.
After establishing that Phil wanted to build a proper band around the music he had written, Ben was happy to commit to the new YCB band, and has been playing and co-producing with Mark and Phil ever since. "2double01 was so pushed for time and money that i actually only got to play on maybe half of the tracks, i was always meant to play on the others, but it didn't work out that way".
Ben has recently started selling his beloved Ibanez guitars through his online store (check the links page), bringing these fabulous axes in from abraod, playing them for a while and selling them on. If its an Ibanez Jem/UV or RG you're after, he is an oracle of useful information and good advice.
Ben is also a Gym/Bodybuilding nut, and has become a part time personal trainer.
So in the words of Ben's hero, the great Steve Hillage : "Lets go there!!!!!!"
We still haven't got round to adding Chris Roberto and Simpos biogs but as soon as they are done, you'll be the first to see them...
Gosh...we have played several gigs in the past from the Jazz Cafe London to Luchtpost in Holland where we recorded our Live @ Luchpost album.
We love playing out and really like the energy we get of people that hear our music.
Speacial moments...hmmm... well all of the gigs we have done have been special, we can't really compare any of them really.
Our musical influences are vast...
We all have different influences and tastes but as a collective our music has a lot of influence from people like Stanley Clarke(The Man!!!) Marcus Miller, Level 42, Incognito,The Red Hot Chilli Peppers and TBNH.
We have all been in bands which have covered all genres but YCB have an edge that brings all of the above together and we thrive on the difference.
We really hope that all you guys out there enjoy what we have to offer and we are sure you will support us along our way but the main thing is that you folks all enjoy what we have done as much as we enjoy recording and playing for you.
Upwards and Onwards as we say...
The YCB Collective