For me, it all started in 1987 with 5 years of classical piano lessons. My love for music was reinvigorated in 1994 with The Beastie Boys’ “Check Your Head” and “Ill Communication,” Wu-Tang Clan’s “Enter The Wu,” and various DIY hardcore punk. I played drums in a few different punk bands in high school and early college.
My next musical obsessions come in 1998 with DJ Shadow’s “Entroducing” album, Dan the Automator and Kool Keith’s “Dr. Octagon” as well as Money Mark’s “Mark’s Keyboard Repair.” These bands and albums introduced me to some of the best-unknown records and lofi produced sounds, and I began my recording career with 2 different Tascam cassette 4 tracks. I bought a Technics 1200 record player, a Stanton battle mixer, a Roland keyboard, a Korg Sampler, and began collecting records to sample. I spent countless hours chopping samples and looping drum breaks; creating down tempo hip-hop beats.
Soon after, I fell in love with Herbie Hancock’s “Headhunters,” The Greyboy Allstars album “A Town Called Earth,” Miles Davis “In A Silent Way,” and The Poets of Rhythm “Discern/Define.” I began messing around with writing funky grooves, collecting vintage keyboards, and improvising. I played keys in a few Downtempo/Funk/Soul/Hiphop bands in San Diego.
A few years later after hearing a bunch of the amazing albums from Daptone and the Truth and Soul Records artists such as El Michels Affair, Menahan Street Band, Budos Band, Lee Fields, etc… I was highly inspired and realized I needed to put together an ensemble to make gritty recordings and perform this music fused together by all of my diverse and eclectic influences such as Afrobeat, Soul-Jazz, Trip Hop, Soul/Funk, Ethio Jazz, Jazz-Funk, and psychedelic music from around the world. I started in a few smaller soul-jazz and instrumental funk quartets, but I was craving a bigger sound…
The Sure Fire Soul Ensemble was born in 2012. Under my direction, we started with some material I had been working on for a few years, and before too long began writing new tunes collaboratively. Now 5 years, four 45rpm singles, and 2 full length albums later… we have had the opportunity to perform all over California and Oregon; both headlining and opening for many of the best bands in any genre. We have held down several monthly residencies in San Diego and have had very regular appearances at The Boom Room Room in San Francisco. We have also partnered with one of the top independent Funk/Soul labels in the world: Colemine Records.
Because of Colemine our recordings have been bought and sold all over the planet. This exposure has lead to numerous spins on radio worldwide. In December of 2016 we were prominently featured on legendary alternative rock station, 91X, in San Diego, as the Artist of the month. We have also been honored locally, on Reddit, and numerous blogs worldwide with accolades for both of our albums.
We are extremely excited for what is yet to come! We are constantly writing new music and working that material into our live shows, and we can’t wait to perform it at an event, club, or festival near you!
Peace and love,
Tim “Tito” Felten