The funk band New Retro, from College Park, Md., is definitely "on the rise" these days with a very distinct style and sound.
New Retro started in 2005 with members Che Adams (lead vocals), Jason Stewart (percussions), Enoch Rowe (bass guitar). Four years later, they added hip-hop to their sound with the addition of Chris "I Go by the General" Henri (lyricist), and soon after welcomed Sam "Samu-L" Chafin (producer/lyricist), before bringing aboard the newest "retruvian" Thom, who joined the group last year.
"When Chris came on, we started to do more exploration into different genres instead of sticking to our repertoire," said Adams. " We just try to put something that we all like into each song, instead of sticking to one sound."
Like many bands, New Retro experienced their share of "band member rotation" before finding their perfect sound.
"[The result has been] an amazing blend of rock, funk, go-go, hip-hop, soul, and R&B, kind of like The Roots, with more singing," said Stewart.
Each member of New Retro brings a different element to the group, and in addition to a slew of original songs, the band puts their spin on covers by a few legends such as Bob Marley, the Isley Brothers, Marvin Gaye, and Bill Withers -- one of the group's biggest inspirations.
"One of the first songs we covered was "Use Me" by Bill Withers, and even now if we need a song that everybody can crank out with, we definitely turn to Bill Withers," Rowe said.
These guys are truly "on the rise." In their latest venture, they won the online voting of the world- wide, battle of the bands competition Hard Rock Rising, which landed them in the performing rounds.
New Retro, along with hundreds of others is now competing for the chance to win $10,000 worth of new equipment, the opportunity to record a new album and video, and to tour the world performing at Hard Rock Café locations.
"This would truly be the chance of a life time, and as great as this is, New Retro plans to remain humble," said Henri. "Even if we win the competition, we have to remain what we are right now, nothing can change. This is what got us here and we will remember."
This is a very determined group of guys, who have come from recording on cell phones and laptops and in dorm rooms to state-of-the art studios. They said that although technology has improved, the group's mission remains the same.
And, part of that mission has been for New Retro to impact their listeners through their music. To that end, Chafin recalled one of the group's most memorable shows, which was a fund raiser in Baltmore.
"We were performing "On the Rise," and I remember looking up and the entire crowd was moving with us," Chafin said. "I think that it hit me at that moment, how much our music can make an impact on people."
When asked about the band's future, Henri quickly responded that they want to take over the world.
"This industry is very fickle and you never know what you're going to get, so it's go hard or go home," he said. "We're getting great opportunities and now we just need to be heard by the right ears."
To hear more from New Retro follow them on Twitter @NewRetro also subscribe to their YouTube channel, http://http://www.youtube.com/thenewretro2009%20for more information about the Hard Rock Rising Battle of the Bands please visit: HardRock.com or ReverbNation.com