keys / organ / vocals
Catch and his keys joined AZTEC SUN in 2013 after a craigslist finding and hasn’t looked back since. He comes to us from Minneapolis, MN and reps the Midwest with a passion. Catch grew up playing classical music and has since explored the R&B, Soul, and world of Funk over the last 5 years. This is the first project that Catch has worked on in while in D.C. and has given him a chance to deepen his connection to this incredible city. AZTEC SUN is a space where the six of us have been able to come together as musicians and have fun, take risks, and create music that will make an audience move.
Influences: Stevie Wonder, Van Morrison, Ray Charles, The Meters
Sam helped form AZTEC SUN (AZS) with former guitarist, Galen Pardee, bassist, Artem Serebryakov and singer/songwriter, Stephan Detch in the fall of 2012. After a brief hiatus in the summer of 2013, he is now back in DC and extremely excited to be a part of the new AZS sound.
Sam has been drumming in a variety of bands for the past decade, from jam bands to jazz, funk to rock. He finds it important to expose yourself to a wide range of music in order to develop your skills as a musician. This is one of the many reasons he loves playing drums for AZTEC SUN. AZS is not your typical funk band. They are influenced by all genres of music and try to incorporate different styles in every song they write. The energy and drive is ever-present during an AZS performance and they are not shy when it comes to pushing the boundaries of funk music.
Influences: Adam Deitch, Clyde Stubblefield, Steve Gadd, Antonio Sanchez
vocals / guitar
Steph first met up with former guitarist Galen Pardee, current drummer Sam Hall and current bassist Artem Serebryakov in response to a Craigslist ad seeking “a singer for a Funk band”.
Steph’s influences reflect his diverse background. Exposed from a young age to a blend of West African music and 70s Soul, he went on to explore the different palettes of indie rock, R&B and Funk before finding sonic spaces where he could combine the groove of these genres. When Steph writes music to bring to the group, he fuses different rhythms and lays them on top of a classic funk cadence. Lyrically, he is a poet and storyteller that draws inspiration from the lives and things around him, creating unique funk ballads.
Expanding the band’s sound and pushing the boundaries of what Funk sounds like is something Steph is always looking to do. Bringing on Catch (keys/vocals), Ryan (sax) and Mike (trombone) into the crew has helped push AZS’s versatility. The combined talents produce infectious, booty-shaking music and an energy that inspires catharsis through dance.
Influences: James Brown, M.J., Prince, Kele, Henri Dikongue
After hearing about Aztec Sun through a friend, trombonist Michael Dranove came to an Aztec Sun practice and quickly hit it off with the other band members. His frantic play style combined with his love for simple melodies and harmonies helped infuse the band’s sound with energy. Having studied the trombone since the age of 10, and also having been trained partly at Amsterdam Conservatory of Music, the strength of his chops insures that he doesn’t have to work too hard to be heard.
Michael is especially interested in playing music that grabs people’s attention. He likes the new sound of funk like the kind played by Budos Band, but also loves the passion of Tchaikovsky, the beauty mysteriousness of Crystal Castles, and the anger and energy of Ice Cube and Biggie Smalls.
Ryan joined AZTEC SUN in September 2013 after deciding that practicing alone in his living room just wasn’t cutting it. Ryan began playing the saxophone at the age of ten following encouragement from his father, a career musician and music teacher. Growing up, he regularly gigged with the “family band” around the San Francisco Bay Area, playing jazz standards and the blues. Ryan is thrilled to be a part of the innovative and creative AZS team, where he brings a mix of traditional blues and contemporary R&B to the group’s sound.
Art is one of the four founding members of AZS. Art grew up in Russia, where he played drums in a few rock bands. After graduating from a local university with a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science, he moved to the United States to pursue an IT career. He later joined AZS as a bass guitar player. Art is a fan of latin and classical music. He plays classical guitar. He is influenced by Stuart Zender, Bootsy Collins, Marcus Miller and Victor Wooten.
For booking and all general enquiries, contact Aztec Sun's badass manager, Hannah Z, at firstname.lastname@example.org.