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Wild Mountain’s got the Funk

Masha Scheele

On the heels of a new album release, Five Alarm Funk will be sharing some of their new sounds with Hinton this weekend at the Wild Mountain Music Festival.

Tayo Branston, lead vocals and drums, described the upcoming album as lighter compared to previous albums, with similar funk sounds, but more ska oriented, and less heavy metal driven. 

“It’s a nicer, calmer sound but still full of energy and pazaz. We’re really excited to do another release – it will be our seventh studio album in 16 years. We’re really starting to hone our craft when it comes to being in the studio and what we want to sound like and how we want to sound on a recording,” he said.

In the past, Five Alarm Funk utilized their summer tours for performing and perfecting their new songs before recording in the fall and releasing in the winter or spring. This time around, they worked hard throughout the winter to have an album that is already being mixed and mastered and will release in September, allowing them to tour Canada in the fall.

“We knew we had to write, we had to create, and had to get into the studio and do it to hit our goals,” said Branston.

Some of these new hits will be heard during the show this weekend, along with classics, and tunes from their recent album, Sweat.

This will be the second time the genre-bending band performs at Wild Mountain. Since their last performance at the festival in 2017, they’ve switched up their stage set-up by pushing their percussion into the middle, and allowing their horns and guitar players to run around the stage like wild animals by hooking them up with wireless units.

“We’ve got some new branded outfits that everybody wears and we’ve also got brand new music that we’re going to play. The show is similar in ways, but there will be a lot of new things that they didn’t see last year,” said Branston.

Branston anticipates a high energy funk onslaught of seven performers giving everything they have to the performance and the stage. 

“A Five Alarm Funk show is energetic, it’s relentless. What we aim for is to have the most fun of our lives when we’re performing and we do and I think that translates to the audience. People should be ready to jump, dance, sweat and have a big smile on their face while they’re doing it,” he added. 

For a band that’s on the road as much as Five Alarm Funk, coming back to a festival they’ve played before gives them some sort of familiarity, explained Branston, while building on what their fans experienced during their last show.

“Any festival performance is such a nice time for a band to be able to relax and enjoy the ambience that music festivals create,” he said.

The band was able to relax, throw some frisbees around, and enjoy the space during their last Wild Mountain experience, he remembered. After the release of the new album in September, the band will tour Canada and hope to book in some Mexico dates where they recently struck a distribution deal.

The next phase anticipates more singles to be released rather than full records.

“Releasing music just as is. When we’re done recording a piece, we’ll release it and get it out there and collaborating with other artists,” said Branston.

Last year, they collaborated with funk artist Bootsy Collins and Branston hopes to continue the collaborative work with artists like rapper E-40, vocalist Zack de la Rocha from Rage Against the Machine, and fellow Vancouver musicians, Ashleigh Ball from Hey Ocean and gospel singer Warren Flandez. He added that other band members likely have other collaboration suggestions but that the possibilities are endless.

“There’s just so many avenues to go and to me there’s no border that can’t be crossed. The world is so intertwined now, if you want to connect, you can connect,” he said.

The Wild Mountain Music Festival takes place July 19 – 21 at the Entrance Ranch. Joining Five Alarm Funk on the roster of performers are Colin James, Terra Lightfoot, Harry Manx and Shred Kelly.

Tickets for the volunteered-run festival are available online at or through cash sales in Hinton at Cold Creek Boutique, The Old Grind, and Maximum Work Gear, as well as at the festival gate. 

Check out the program inserted in this issue of The Voice for more info on the amenities, camping and other scheduled performers.