From the time he was a kid, Sam Huber had music as a main influence in his life.
The Helsinki-born singer/songwriter started playing piano as a 9-year-old boy and was trained classically, but as time went on his teacher started to introduce some different tunes to his repertoire.
“I had a really nice teacher who gave me boogey-woogey songs to train to, so that kind of was a gateway to rock and roll and blues and stuff like that,” said Huber. “My mother listens to a lot of music — The Beatles, Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones and all that. We had always those kinds of bands on at home. I listened to a lot of music, I like all genres. There’s no genre that is strange to me.”
Huber played in a number of bands growing up but started to pursue music professionally in his 20s in a band called Eternal Erection in 1994. The band had a funk sound that wasn’t initially intended by Huber or his bandmates.
“I didn’t plan it, it just went that way. The first music I played was rock and roll, punk, new wave stuff, we even did rockabilly. We just started jamming on funk music. I listened to Stevie Wonder or James Brown, but I never thought like that this is a thing I want to do,” said Huber. “A guy we knew said to us, don’t do the rock and roll stuff, do the funk stuff, you sound much better. We were like should we do that, can a white guy from Finland do that?”
Well, turns out they could — Eternal Erection’s funk sound made them blow up in Finland and have a sustainable music career for 24 years.
“It kind of became a thing and we got stuck in the funk and soul box for a while,” said Huber. “I noticed my voice fit that music really well, but I didn’t know that before, I just sang anything. My voice fits into this genre.”
Huber has since made a solo career for himself and signed on with New York City’s True Groove Records in 2016. After producing a few solo albums with the label, a new project came forward with the label: a double album that highlights Huber’s funk side and his soul side.
“Up” and “Down” are the new albums, with “Up” having a more soulful sound and “Down” featuring more funky numbers. Initially, Huber hadn’t intended on having the project be a double album.
“A Finnish PR person I work with said could you make it a double album to get more attention. We have one that is kind of funky in the making already, it should have a twin brother or sister,” said Huber. “It shouldn’t be funk but should be related — soul came quite naturally in that regard.”
“Up” takes a lighter approach to the funk sound, having ballads and more soul-sounding tunes. According to Huber, the songs are airy and danceable, like the ‘Up” single “Hot Summer Burning.”
“Down” takes a darker approach to funk music, and gives you more of an opportunity to get down on the dance floor. One song in particular, called “Hit It and Quit It,” puts a futuristic twist on the funk-filled sound we all know and love.
“It’s a landscape that happens on the dance floor, on the downbeat. You might say this album explores the darker side of Future Funk; it’s quite a bit heavier, musically and lyrically, especially compared to the more lighter and romantic songs on ‘Up’,” said Huber.
Huber hopes that those who give “Up” and “Down” a listen can enjoy the nuances of the album and bring some new life into funk and soul as a genre.
“Hopefully they really like that it’s like a time machine but with a modern twist. The ‘Up’ album is transitional in sound, but ‘Down’ is a soul album in a more modern way,” said Huber. “It’s a little darker, not so party party. It has a more Bowie-sounding darker tone to it, the thing I like to call future funk. I hope that we can kind of renew this genre and make something interesting that doesn’t sound like a copy of something.”
Both “Up” and “Down” are available for streaming on Spotify and Soundcloud. You can keep up with Huber by following him on Instagram @samhubermusic.