Seattle based Real Don Music is playing a show at Lo-Fi on Friday the 19th to coincide with the release of their “Emeralds and Angels”/”Smoke By Day” 7”. Real Don Music is the brainchild of Kirk Huffman, a veteran member of the Seattle local music scene. I spoke to Kirk about the show, the band and his opinion about recreational marijuana in Washington.
Real Don Music got its start in 2013 when their first track, “Emeralds and Angels,” was released late that year. Kirk, lead vocalist and creator of the group, is perhaps best known as the former front man of Kay Kay and His Weather Undergrounds, who opened for RX Bandits and Portugal. Drawing from a variety of influences, Real Don Music uses samples, deep, groove-filled bass lines, sharp synths and a live horn section alongside Huffman’s striking vocals to achieve smooth swing in their lively sound.
If you watch the brilliantly animated music video for “Emeralds and Angels,” it’s not hard to hear comparisons to James Mercer and Danger Mouse’s collaboration, Broken Bells. Kirk’s vocals alongside futuristic synths give the song an almost ethereal quality, with the horn section working alongside deep bass lines to give the song a slick slide.
A far cry from Broken Bells comparisons is the record’s other side, the excellently titled “Smoke By Day.” Sampled vocals and the horns give the song unmistakable swing and stomp, giving it what one reviewer referred to as a “new age rat pack” vibe. When those horns pull back with an almost haunting quality, even a first listen is rewarded with a sense of intricacy and depth.
With a song titled “Smoke By Day” I couldn’t help but ask if marijuana was a part of Kirk’s creative process. “Yeah, Definitely.” Kirk wrote back, “If you’ve never smoked marijuana and listened to music, here’s a tip: it sounds SUPER COOL, some would even argue much better than without marijuana.”
We also spoke about the state of recreational marijuana and the impact of I-502 in general. Kirk wrote “I voted for I-502, knowing full well that it wasn’t a perfect plan from my perspective, but I was primarily concerned with getting away from dealer/black market culture and the high number of poor and young colored people being incarcerated for small amounts of marijuana and figured we needed to just “get with the future” and legalize, tax and regulate store purchased marijuana while understanding that over time the people’s climate would dictate the kind of change I wanted to see.”
Kirk, well-versed in the specifics of the law and how the government could improve their methods of managing recreational marijuana, ended with this. “I’m for legal home growing for personal use and a regulated supply and demand-based economic system for 18+ recreational marijuana purchasing that is free of the Washington state LCB oversight (they’re under-funded and under-staffed as is) and instead regulated by the states agriculture department like any other vegetable, fruit, grain or herb and taxed fairly depending on product use… otherwise, people will get marijuana however they can and that’s going backwards instead of forwards.”
When I asked what was in the future for Real Don Music, Kirk told me that they just returned from filming a music video for “Smoke By Day” in the Mojave desert, and that they would be releasing the much anticipated 6 song “Dank Sinatra” EP in the early spring, followed by some touring after that.
Real Don Music plays at Lo-Fi on Friday, January 23rd with Bardot, Uh Oh Eskimo, and Sunshine Subconscious. ”Emeralds And Angels” is available on iTunes.
Check out more photos of the band.