Picture this: you’re walking through Baltimore and you pass an ordinary-looking house that has a band playing what sounds like drum and bass. You trespass on to their property to get a better listen â€” sure enough, there’s full band in the steamy basement rocking drum and bass’ familiar fast breakbeat sound. The lead singer’s down-home vocal timbre along with the instrumentation give this live take on drum and bass a sound that has elements of funk, reggae, and jazz. You think to yourself, “who are these guys?”
You’ve stumbled across Fake Flowers Real Dirt’s home base on your Baltimorean stroll. Fake Flowers Real Dirt was formed in 2012 by Billy D William when he brought together a troupe of the DC-area’s music veterans to play jams that combine elements of funk, reggae, breakbeat, and jazz.
You stand on their property, taking in this subterranean song replete with an infectious bassline groove and alto saxophone, flute, and synth solos. All of a sudden, the music cuts and the lead singer comes out to ask you what you’re doing on their property. You explain that you heard the music and it reeled you in like the Sirens from Greek mythology. The man laughs, saying thatÂ often happens when they rehearse. He introduces himself as Billy and says, “That last number is called ‘Three Straight Days.’ The track’s my homage to the Baltimore and DC Club Kid days, particularly the hey days at Buzz and Fever. Scott Henry, Feelgood, and DJ Shadow influenced me big time, especially the danceable jazzy stuff. I always thought it would be cool to re-create that vibe with a live band.”
Billy invites you in for a drink and you listen through the rest of their practice, bobbing your head as Fake Flowers Real Dirt executes each track flawlessly. When they finish their practice, you thank Billy for inviting you in and head home thoroughly impressed. “What a find! I should go on walks through the city more often,” you think to yourself.