As Nick Rocchio-Giordano, MCAS ’18, Mario Borges, MCAS ’18, and Henry Ricciardi, CSOM ’18, all saunter over from Mac to the Stokes Amphitheater, it becomes very apparent that the three sophomores won’t lack for conversation. Rocchio-Giordano rolls over on his skateboard, sporting his eclectically patterned t-shirt spotted with myriad questions, while Mario and Henry burst out laughing at something one of them had just said.
Rocchio-Giordano, Borges, and Ricciardi make up one of Boston College’s unique up-and-coming bands, aptly named Funky Giant. The band came together after Rocchio-Giordano and Ricciardi met in their Music Theory class. Ricciardi, the lead guitarist of Funky Giant, was intrigued to hear Rocchio-Giordano played the bass, and the two almost instantly hit it off. While the two played together throughout the fall semester, Funky Giant finally came together when the two met Borges, who was, at the time, a drummer on the BC marching band.
“Back home I played in some other bands, recorded some albums, and did some shows, so when I came here I wanted to try something different,” Borges said. “Over the year, I found out [marching band] wasn’t for me and when I met up with Henry [Ricciardi] and Nick [Rocchio-Giordano] and I saw pretty quickly that we could all work together.”
Working together, it seems, is the group’s main priority. In talking with Funky Giant, teamwork and sound layering are at the forefront of the conversation. Rocchio-Giordano, Borges, and Ricciardi want to produce as many different, vivacious sounds as they possibly can with their drums, bass, and guitar. As Rocchio-Giordano puts it, “On the drums, Mario [Borges] can play just about anything you ask him to, consistently. I sort of bolster that, playing the bass, adding a bit of beef to it. And then Henry [Ricciardi] just drizzles the perfect sauce right on top of that.”
Describing Ricciardi’s guitar as the perfect sauce on top, while an eccentric metaphor, is an accurate way of characterizing his riffs and chords that flick Funky Giant’s tracks with energy. Borges’ eclectic and steady drum beat centralize Rocchio-Giordano and Ricciardi’s guitar and bass, and Rocchio-Giordano gives Funky Giant’s tracks the perfect tinge of groove that the band’s name necessitates.
While Funky Giant doesn’t have a singer right now, they’re open to the possibility of taking someone in.
“I think we’ve still got a great sound with just the instrumentals, but it’d be cool to bring in someone who could help with some of our covers that are actually supposed to be sung,” Borges explained. “It’s about expanding our possibilities as much as we can.”
In the meantime, Funky Giant can carry on with its sound triumphantly and without worry. The few tracks posted on Funky Giant’s SoundCloud page exhibit a marvelous genre-melding style that exudes old school funk.
“Herbie Hancock was one of the first to take a really competent jazz music theory with a highly technical background and put it into more mainstream funk music,” Ricciardi said about the band’s influences. “He would record these epic 16-minute jams. I think that’s why we like him so much. We like to take our backgrounds in different types of music and bring them together in an epic track like Herbie did.”
Aside from Herbie Hancock, Ricciardi pointed to Steely Dan, Santana, and Snarky Puppy as some groups he shares interest in with Rocchio-Giordano and Borges.
In talking with Rocchio-Giordano, Borges, and Ricciardi, it’s evident that each musician cares deeply about the music he plays personally and the multi-faceted craft that they bring together. Unfortunately, however, it hasn’t been exceedingly easy for Funky Giant to come together and record their tracks. The band played at last semester’s Music Guild Winter Concert and attends many of the Guild’s open-mic nights, but recording space can be hard to come by around campus.
“The Music Guild’s helpful in setting up gigs, but when it comes to recording, it’s hard to organize things because BC’s focuses are more directed towards aiding the academic programs and their students and the academic departments, it seems, don’t always agree on what the equipment should be used for,” Rocchio-Giordano explained. “The priority for these departments is their students taking classes.”
It might be simple for Funky Giant to find its way into the recording studio, but in the meantime the group is enjoying jamming together and playing at venues on and off campus. Last week, Funky Giant played at the Great Scott alongside fellow BC Band Small Talk.
“We didn’t fill a stadium or anything, but 20 to 30 people came out and everybody was having a good time,” Rocchio-Giordano said.
And, for now, that’s all Funky Giant is looking for. Rocchio-Giordano, Borges, and Ricciardi want to explore Funky Giant’s musical frontier. They’re not looking to revolutionize the music scene at BC, but they want to see if they can add their own distinct flavor to the mix.
Featured Images By Chris Fuller / Heights Editor