Formula 5, made up of Joe Davis, Greg Marek, James Woods and Matt Richards, hail from the Albany, NY area. The band embraces a combination of jam, funk and rock influences to create unique performances of original and cover songs. They are preparing for a busy summer of shows across the Northeast, including a slot at next month's Disc Jam Music Festival.


Tell the 405 about the band (its beginnings, background, changes over time, etc.)

Formula 5 began when Greg Marek (drums) and Bill Shattuck (bass) waiting in line for tickets for Phish at Times Union Center in Albany, NY and shortly after asked Mike McDonald (keys), and then Joe David (guitar) to form a band. Over the next few years, both Shattuck and McDonald left the band to pursue other life goals. James Woods (bass) and Matt Richards (keys) joined the band, forming the current lineup, which has been active since January 2016.

Who does Formula 5 feel they are most influenced by musically?

Phish, Talking Heads, Grateful Dead, Moe., Aquarium Rescue Unit, and Pink Floyd are among many of the artists who have influenced the band the most. Our influences often change depending on each member's phase of "obsession" for any particular artist.

Does the band adjust when playing for a larger crowd at a festival versus an intimate show in smaller venue?

Yes, we do. Often times at smaller shows, either headlining or supporting another artist, we give more freedom to our setlists. We tend to plan ahead more for festival sets because they are often shorter and to new faces in the crowd and we want to ensure what we play represents us as a band. Our own shows are where we like to improvise more, try new ideas, take risks and push the borders of what sound we feel represents us.

If Formula 5 could play a show with anyone at any venue, who and where would it be?

Because we are a band based out of Albany, NY and Lake George, NY we would love to play a show with moe. at the Palace Theatre. moe. is a great influence of ours and they have a great history in Albany. We would love to play that show because it combines our influence, our close friends and a favourite local venue.

We also would love to play Red Rocks in Morrison, CO someday. It is an amazing amphitheatre and would be an honour to play our music there!

Where does the name "Formula 5" come from? Do you think an artist's name is a way for them to express part of their identity?

Shortly after Marek and Shattuck met at Phish, they formed a band "Chinatown Lights" with two friends. When McDonald was asked to join the band, they renamed their five-piece Formula 5. Since then, there have only been four members in the band but the name lived on. We see the fifth member now as a representation of the past members who have contributed to the band and everyone who supports our musical endeavours. Without them, we would not be the band we are today.

Musically (and/or personally), what would the band like to see happen for themselves in 2017?

We recently recorded and released our third studio album (first with Woods and Richards) titled All Points North. Despite recording and releasing the album this year, we do not plan on slowing down our songwriting process. We have already debuted two songs newer than the album and have many more on the way. We would also like to see shows in the near future where we open up for our favourite bands in the scene, such as Dopapod, moe., Twiddle, Turkuaz and Umphrey's McGee, among many others.

Will you be throwing any surprises for us at Disc Jam?

It wouldn't be much of a surprise if we told you! (Yes!)

Leave us with one song to listen to after reading this.

It is tough to choose just one but we are very partial to this live version of our song 'Pedro' from our first show in Washington D.C. at Gypsy Sallys. This is one of many tracks on that we upload SBD recordings and our albums to stream for free.

All tracks, albums, and merch can be purchased on their website. Tickets and information for Disc Jam Music Festival are available here.