Psycho Factor Records
Psycho Factor Records was started in New Jersey, USA in 1997 to expose the world to a new type of musical art conceived and put into practice in the 1990's by a small group of forward thinking collaborators, vocalist and Cornet player Joseph Vincent Riggio, Trumpeter Joseph F. Stahl III and Percussionist and Producer Joey Baron. It remains an amalgamation of many styles of music including (but not limited to) Rock, Funk, Jazz, Metal, Alternative, Avant, Punk, Progressive, Electronic, Soul, Big Band, Old School R & B, Dance, Rap, and Spoken Word. As these elements melded together some amounts of all of these styles would peek out at different times in varying degrees forcing it into its own genre - Psycho Funk Rock. Along with the sound came a rebellious spirit and attitude - aggressive in that “wake up from your day dream” kind of way, thought provoking and refreshing forcing you to think about things in radically new ways. Truly artistic in nature reaching down deep on levels felt more than expressed.
First in line was Freak Party, a 6 piece Riggio fronted, dual guitar, dual brass (Riggio/Stahl), ensemble w/ thunderous percussion (Baron) and slap grooving bass. Their debut 7 song 1994 EP “No Heroes!” had all an underground release could offer. Raw and angst filled, when angry for a reason (not just ambiguous aggression), gritty at times and refreshingly beautiful at others. The electronic spiced arrangements were eclectic as were the lyrical topics, tempos and key changes. Their follow up 1997 Full Length 13 song CD “Paint Yourself Green” rose the college radio ranks and was #18 add on the CMJ charts in Spring 1998. Now, less 1 guitar, a more stream line precision machine emerged. The songs were more progressive and poignant in tone and feel - both melodic and gripping with grooves that listeners hauntingly hung on to. Arrangements remained unexpected with parts challenging each other in a supportive grid lock, unbreakable “on the edge of too much” but never dropping off the cliff.
Their live shows remain legendary on the East Coast USA scene. Power charged, unexpected, razor sharp and unbelievably tight. In fact, for their second performance ever they crashed Woodstock 1994 and thru an unexpected (perhaps clandestine) chain of events commanded the stage for a 35 minute 8PM Saturday night prime time slot in front of thousands of fans who quickly became dedicated supporters. Known for stage and crowd banter that ranged from hilarious to confrontational, to come on stage dowsed in black light paint, morph arrangements to songs over time, use news reels for song intros, create industrial danceable outros, and arranging unique covers of both classic and obscure songs. The moment they entered a venue you knew they serious performers and unwavering comrades who put in countless hours of preparation for every moment on stage.
Technically disbanded (since December 10 th 1998), but never de-Funked, Freak Party continues to influence new generations of Alternative Rockers.
Next in the lineage comes Monkey Dancer a 4 piece Vocalist/Horn player fronted (Riggio) guitar driven crew with a powerfully thick rhythm section (drums again provided by Baron). More R & B soulfully funk oriented than its predecessor but equally grooving. The mood of the songs are up tempo juxtaposed to a dark melodic feel, delivered w/ a Punk attitude.
They set out to open minds and test new boundaries in music and explore new horizons. The release of their now sought after 3 song demo got a lot of attention and local radio airplay. Exploding on the scene they won over live crowds with their intensity and electric performances.
After a guitar player change a smoother line up completed an 8 song 2004 CD/EP entitled "Indelible" to both fan and critical acclaim. It quickly became an extreme sports podcast and website favorite used as a soundtrack for many a surf, skate and mountain bike video and interview. Due to some unavoidable geography changes Monkey Dancer lays dormant since the collections release. They will continue, now and forever, to leave a lasting mark upon the musical landscape while their deeply felt spirit opens new dimensions in music and beyond.
The next installment of Psycho Funk Rock was Honey Thick. With the return of Joseph F. Stahl III (he and Riggio playing alongside each other since their middle school days) the sound returns to the original tradition of dual brass now topped with thunderous percussion (Baron again), slick driving bass, huge melodic guitar and aggressive vocals (Riggio) the vision is fully realized.
Uncompromising the sound is smooth yet dark, melodic yet chaotic, intense yet inspiring. The attitude is focused, pointed and socially conscious, delivered honestly with hairsplitting accuracy. Seasoned performers all, they are a band not unaware of the fact that they are both artists and entertainers.
Their debut 9 song CD/EP “Who Does That?” is exciting challenging the senses with melody and rhythm overflowing. Beautifully produced by the band it runs the emotional and cultural gamut lyrically as well as in sprit. Equally beautiful in production and design is the follow up 7 song CD/EP “SPADAMN!” described by industry professionals as buzz worthy and innovative. Their song writing evolved giving even more unexpected diversity to this collection. Each track attaches themselves to the listener symbiotically, alternating between uplifting and unsettling this music truly moves the soul. Something spicy lurks in every bar bringing you back again and again discovering something new with every play. The viscosity know as Honey Thick remains settled currently but this type of energy can never be lost only used as potential fuel for the future.
Alas, to all families come the outsider, even to those already outside the box. This distinct honor goes to the project know as Green Grove Joint. An Avant, Free Form, Experimental Trio. Spontaneous, raucous and laid back all at the same time. Instrumental at its core with spoken word and poetry erupting at any time from any member. Legitimately Jazz influenced without forgetting they are, all three, accomplished Funk and Rock players for sure. Cornet (Riggio), Upright Bass, and Drums is all you will hear on this trip. Their live stereo recording “Mean 815” (just a few seconds short of 40 minutes) slides you into a melodic web that grips ahold of your psyche and takes you along for an inspiring and cathartic ride.
Each incarnation brings together all the elements of this enigma called Psycho Funk Rock in its own amazing and surprising way. It is the pinnacle of what art is defined as; the realization and true essence of a unique genre.
All Psycho Factor Records artists and collections are available on all streaming platforms, distributed exclusively through Virtually Atomic.
Stay Funky . . .
Joseph Vincent Riggio
President and Founder