In the beginning there are two claps.
The claps ground the light tapping of drum sticks. A guitar chord tentatively dances around the taps and claps, establishing a lighthearted funkiness to the song. When the heavy instrumentation of Mostacho Xprmnt’s new single “Clap With Me” falls in a few bars later, we’re already ready to groove along to the band’s first dance song.
“We needed an opener for our show. The words are an invitation to come jam with us,” says Andrés Marín, Mostacho Xprmnt’s drummer and founder of the band. He began the project in Boston while studying music composition at Berklee College of Music. Since then, the band has seen many singers, many pianists and guitarists, though Marín notes that “Dave [Lowenthal, Mostacho’s bassist], he’s been there all along.” More than any genre or musical influence, Marín’s vision of collaboration has been the drive of the project. With its a jazz vocalist, funk bassist and rock guitarist, Marín sees the band as an incubator for new, and sometimes difficult, sounds. “Clap with Me” was born out of ideas that former keyboardist Haruka Yabuno and former guitarist Eitan Akman brought to a jam. It became obvious to put them together. As the band’s line-up changed, subsequent musicians layered their own sound on top of the sounds that came before them. Marín is proud of the product. “It’s a true collaboration. It has the flavors of all the members of the band.”
Mostacho Xprmnt’s vision of collaboration means that it can be difficult to pin a genre on the band. Their compositions experiment with instrumental pieces that play with jolting time signatures and mellow slow-jams. “Clap with Me” is one of the band’s first forays into easily danceable music, and, judging from the audience reaction at their recent single release party, they seem to be on the right track.
Mostacho Xprmnt celebrated the release of “Clap With Me” with a party at Piano’s on a recent Sunday evening. On stage, singer Leala Cyr and guitarist Luís D’Elias’s flirtatious chemistry led the audience through the varied set. The band closed with their opener, “Clap with Me,” and with the first notes of its ear-worm of a hook the song had infused the Churning audience with a beginning-of-the-night energy. The band progressed into the dreamy bridge of broken piano chords and roaming vocals, and charged into the ambiguously undone ending. Audience members bopped along throughout it all, and when Cyr sang, “Clap with me,” they did.