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INside Story: Indiana’s music scene, Part 2

That Hoosier sound. No matter what form it takes, it has become a staple in the world of music.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — It’s a fusion of classic genres that have come together to create unique sounds. The Indiana-based bands known as “Forgotten Tribe” and “Huckleberry Funk” are using those sounds to pave their own paths in the music scene. “We’re more of a counter culture to help inspire those to think outside of that box,” Forgotten Tribe bass guitarist, Khaleel, “General Spazz”, Harrison said.

“[We are] going by ‘Forgotten Tribe’ for all those that feel like they’re forgotten in the world,” Forgotten Tribe lead singer, Khiry “Managan” Hollowell said.

Both bands use their diverse cultural and musical backgrounds to create their art and aim to share it with others. “We’re able to bring people with different styles of music together in one place, and the magic can happen there,” Forgotten Tribe guitarist Angel “Ocho” Ochoa said.

Brothers Khaleel and Khiry founded the group, but it wasn’t until the pandemic hit that they joined with guitarist angel, Omar Aguilera and drummer, Ray Sarmiento. The two groups decided they were stronger together.

“It shocked me because it was so good,” Ray laughed. “We always just enjoy each other’s company and each other’s vibe.”

Omar is the most multifaceted in the group, playing more than five instruments, including the conga drums, the accordion, and the melodica.

He believes his role in the group is to help “keep everybody together” and with his mellow demeanor and talent, it’s not hard to see how he makes their dynamic flow on and off stage.

The band picked the historic Melody Inn as the meeting place and back drop for their story. Khiry talks about why. “When others may not look your way, right now because we’re just kind of starting, Melody Inn gave us an opportunity,” he said.

Forgotten Tribe hopes to keep building their Afro-American and Latino fusion sound and get popular enough to “have a life making music.”

During their interview, Huckleberry Funk, another five-man band came up in the conversation. A group they draw inspiration from, they refer to them as their “big brothers” in music.

“I wouldn’t call us a trailblazer because the talent has been here,” lead singer, Dexter Clardy, said. “I feel like we’re in that new phase of frontrunners that are helping try to push the sound of Indy.” They’re band refers to their style as a funky soul and gritty R&B. “We all like to describe funk more as an attitude than a genre,” Clardy added. “We’re all very different individuals, but we make it make sense on stage and we want people in the audience to come and feel like that, like come as you are.”

When asked where they wanted to meet, without hesitation they chose the “Hi-Fi Annex,” a popular live music venue in Indianapolis.

“This is the place [where] it was very obvious. [We] actually done our video release here, and performed one of our most popular songs to this point here for the first time. Just the scene itself is evolving because people are realizing how much talent exists here. We’re just proud to be a part of that.”

They also commented on what they feel is a growing music community in Indiana, along with a newfound sense of competition to stay at the top of the list when people want to be entertained by a live band. “The more bands that are doing this and are fighting for one spot, one night, it makes everyone better,” saxophonist, producer, and keyboard player Alex Dura said.

“A lot more artists are starting to lean on each other and that comradery of just ‘I do something completely different from you, but I support what you do,’” Clardy said.

Although, members of Huckleberry Funk have their eyes set on performing in New York’s Madison Square Garden one day, both bands are fueled by dreams of touring and playing their music all over the world.