*en·dan·gered/enˈdānjərd/ Adjective: (of a species) Seriously at risk of extinction.

The changes throughout the music industry have been wide-ranging over the last twenty years; everything from how the music is purchased, marketed, and even created has undergone multiple variations over the course of the time. Chief among the changes has been the disappearing live instrumentation in the face of a lack of musicianship pushed to the edge of extinction by technological advances in drum machines, synthesizers and of course the art of sampling. Huddled around a table, grasping their instruments of choice, Nick Block, Gene Coye, Frank Abraham and Maiya

Sykes lobbed the first salvo against the declining state of musicianship and baptized themselves as The Endangered.

California Institute of the Arts alums Coye and Block had designs on creating a full-service songwriting/production house when they approached Frank Abraham to bring him into the fold. The trio wasn’t deep into the process when they realized a lyricist and performer was needed, instantly, Frank and Gene thought of Sykes who closed out the foursome and they commenced to putting together tracks to shop to established artists. However, a funny thing happened during those sessions, the comfort level was reached quickly, the vibe felt right and the quartet realized they were doing something special, something needed. Their love of music from the prospective of their various disciplines (Block: Guitar, Coye: Drums, Abraham: Bass, Sykes: Vocals) pushed the newly minted band towards the gaping void they perceived in music.

Based in the soul of Los Angeles’ diverse scene, the band describes their sound as a rock/soul fusion built on the influences of jazz, funk, blues and classic rock, a gumbo of musicality they call “alternative soul”. For three years they developed a chemistry in studio sessions that eventually travelled with them from stage-to-stage as they built a reputation beyond being a “cover band” and as a viable sound aiming to restore a sonic balance to the people.

The first step in shifting the balance was the release of their self-titled EP earlier this year, a five song set borne out of their initial sessions and cultivated by time. In working on the project, the challenge of maintaining the integrity of their live sound was presented, fortunately they were connected with Steven Miller through a partnership with Music 180. Miller, not only maintained the fidelity of their instrumentation, but was able to articulate their vision in a way that honors their vintage sound by making it crisp and fresh on record.

The Endangered look to the giants of eras gone by and admire the risks they took; The Beatles using Billy Preston, Berry Gordy borrowing from his family to start Motown, James Brown jamming on the one as more than an inspiration for their journey, but the template. These four individuals have formed a collective at a time when spotlights rarely come in sets, relying on instrumentation when trained ears have gone deaf and challenging the status quo when conformity is the norm. Yes, those qualities in themselves are bit, well…endangered.

Visit www.endangeredband.com to stay up-to-date on tour dates, new releases and more. Also, follow them on Twitter (@TheEndangered), Facebook (facebook.com/endangeredband) and drop by their YouTube channel (youtube.com/endangeredband).

–Al-Lateef Farmer

Between rhetoric and reality is where you’ll find Al-Lateef Farmer: Black man, husband, social documentarian, and slinger of Soul by the pound. His brand of social commentary rooted in independent thought can be found at http://worldaccording2teef.com, and on Twitter @wrldacrdng2teef.