Founded in 2010, FOOTWERK is a group of talented, and strictly platonic, musicians from the Virginia and Washington, D.C. music scenes that have come together to create some “no strings attached” musical experiences together. Fortunately, there are no “missed connections” with this band, even though they met on Craigslist and have been making music together ever since, combining elements of hip hop, rock, and neo-soul. The bands lineup includes Fern (bass), Josh (drums), Kyle (rhymes), Melissa (vocals), Teddi (keys), and Eric (percussion). We caught up with Kyle to talk about how their ad seeking men and women has panned out with their current band members, their recently released song “Open Oceans,” and their opinions on how the music scene in D.C. compares to other cities they have played.

I understand your band members met through Craigslist. Did you hold auditions until you found the right group?

Not really. What happened was it was actually the first people that showed up, except for our bass player, [who] ended up being the people that stuck around, which is crazy.

When did you make the Craigslist post?

That was [about] four years ago.

That’s cool. I didn’t realized that you guys have been around for so long.

Yeah, it’s been a while.

Is FOOTWERK referring to a type of dance style?

No, not at all. We were thinking about names, and that’s what we came up with. Originally it was spelt [with an “O” instead of an “E”], but then when we started to get into trademarking [our brand], we decided to do that to avoid any issues. But then something came up where there is a group in England who spells it the same way we do (laughs). It was kind of pointless anyway.


What was the original inspiration behind the name then?

We play a lot of “dancey,” party kind of shows, so it just kind of made sense. There wasn’t any deep thought behind it. It was just that we had a list of names, and that was the one that stuck.

Can you tell me about your “no strings attached” style of fan interactions, and what that means to you as a band?

The whole “no strings attached” thing is kind of a play on the Craigslist vibe. No Strings Attached is what we wanted to call the album, but Justin Timberlake and NSYNC beat us to the punch on that one. … We were in the van on our way to New York talking about album names, and that was something that came up. So [we thought], we all met on Craigslist; we should call our shit No Strings Attached, and then we talked about NSYNC, so we decided to call it Casual Encounters because that’s another section on Craigslist. It also has a bunch of different meanings attached to it as well.

Can you explain the different meanings of Casual Encounters?

We also wanted to get at the fact that it’s 2015, and everyone is always on their phone. Everyone is always on social media, and information moves so fast that it’s rare that you have a real interaction with anybody. Everything is just so casual and light. On Facebook, you see highlights of people’s lives, you see the good times, but you don’t see what life is really like. So the album has songs based about what’s going on in our lives and some real stuff, so that’s why we thought Casual Encounters made sense on a bunch of different other levels.

What is your song “Open Oceans” about?

“Open Oceans” is a nightlife song. The way that I described it to the other people that are on the record was that it’s about feeling “hungover” with the nightlife. For me, I don’t drink, but I still have that feeling of being hungover with it all. You play these shows, and it’s there to have a great time. Yeah, it’s fun, but after you are doing that night-in and night-out, you can get to feel hungover with it all.


That’s an interesting perspective on it. Do you think the Virginia and D.C. music scenes are oversaturated with bands and musicians?

I would say it’s undersaturated. We’ve been lucky enough to travel and play in other places where they have a real cool group of bands and people that are really good to each other and want to see each other succeed; they support each other. In D.C., [it seems to me like] everybody [thinks that somebody] is going to come take from them, and there’s not the same sense of community that I’ve seen [elsewhere]. It just doesn’t feel like there is a whole lot of love here compared to other places we’ve been.

Compared to what other places?

Philly is definitely the first place that comes to mind. When we started going up to Philly two and a half years ago, after the second time we were there, those bands would hit us up, and whenever we were in town, the same bands would come out to check us out and support, and tell their friends. They would offer us places to stay and really look out for us. It’s been the same in Baltimore and Annapolis, Md. as well. They have these little pockets of bands that all work together to help each other out. Maybe it is here in D.C., and we’re not a part of it. But for us, we haven’t experienced that here.

Are there any bands, DJs, rappers, or solo musicians that you feel stand out among the rest of the artists in the Virginia and D.C. music scenes?

BLACK ALLEY, by far. [They] are from D.C. I think they call it “soul garage,” but they’re dope. For me, they are head and shoulders above everyone, including us, that I’ve seen in this area.

What are some ways that you try to engage your audience that you feel is different from other bands or groups?

At shows, we try and connect with people on a personal level. … We try to keep it [on a] very blue collar, down-to-earth type of vibe. If we’re going through shit, we’ll talk about it, and [we try to] just keep it very personal and honest with people.


This year, where are you planning to tour to? Do you have any festivals lined up yet?

We [will be playing the] Baltimore Frozen Harbor [Music Festival] next month. We are working on a bunch of festivals for the summer. We’re probably not gonna make it out west, but we’re definitely going down to Florida, [as well as] Boston, New York, the Carolinas — pretty much just all east coast is what we’re looking at right now.

For more updates on FOOTWERK, be sure to visit their website, “like” their Facebook page, subscribe to their YouTube channel, and follow them on Twitter and Instagram.

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