Henry + The Invisibles
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Henry + The Invisibles

Austin, Texas, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2009 | SELF

Austin, Texas, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2009
Solo R&B Soul




"Glaring Invisibility: Why Henry Roland Is In Our Sights"

As a writer for Backbeat, I have had the opportunity to review a wide array of the movers and shakers that make up the local scene in San Antonio. Writing these articles has been something of an experiment in optimism for me; in order to do this job justice, you have to take the subjects for what they are and not set your expectations extremely hight. One doesn't throw back the diamond he just dug up because it isn't polished. After all, this is not Los Angeles, and I am certainly not writing for Rolling Stone.

That being said, I believe I may have actually found an artist polished enough to truly be called "great".
Henry + the Invisibles is the first act I have seen in quite some time that possesses that certain indescribable spark of rock 'n' roll excellence that is usually reserved for the national acts that we all love to jealously hate. The fact that Henry Roland and his phantom backup band isn't signed and famous at this point is beyond me. Maybe it proves that corruption has turned the mainstream American music industry into a fractured shell of its former greatness. If Jimi Hendrix were beginning his career today, would he even be given the opportunity to make his guitar cry for the world?

Let me rewind a bit and start from the beginning. Henry and his invisible troupe are the regular Friday night act at Rebar, a mediocre venue situated in the middle of the frat-fest that is popularly known as the Broadway strip. A quick Yelp.com search of Rebar reviews will serve to prove the theory I came up with after stopping by to check out the self-proclaimed 'onemanphunkband' out: The best part of the place is, in fact, Roland. The fact that I was one of two journalists covering Roland that night speaks volumes of the seemingly effortless talent the man is able to consistently demonstrate. He is able to draw people into Rebar, and, more importantly, keep them dancing and drinking into the wee hours of the night.

He achieves the feat, something practically unprecedented in San Antonio, by offering his own proprietary blend of genre-blending dance music. "There really isn't just one major influence for me. It's more like a smorgasbord of sound that I'm into," Roland explained. "I mean, I could say Prince had quite an effect on me when he performed 'Purple Rain' to a sold-out house at Madison Square Garden, Then again, that astronomical effect was similar the first time I ever heard Jimi Hendrix's 'Electric Ladyland'. I am honestly influenced by so many artists of all kinds."

Like the man behind the curtain in the Wizard of Oz, every sound, from bass thump to drum kick to each energetic vocal scream and rap lyric, is produced by Roland alone with a little help from his trusty DigiTech JamMan loop pedal. "There are many sophisticated pedals and programs on the market that I may be moving to in the near future, but I wanted to push the possibilities of the most simple and organic loop pedal I could find," Roland said. "In my humble opinion, it makes the looping more challenging. My keyboard sounds are generated through Logic Pro with lots of tweaking involved. Other than that, the rest is magic."

Free from the burden of compromise and conformity that results from being a member of a traditional band, Roland is able to experiment and improvise during his sets in a way that connects him completely with his audience. "That's the way the true art inspiration cycle works; it's like a symphony of bebop punk rock cosmic-slop, and then the filtering process spits out who you are, " Roland told me. That artistic energy and passion translates perfectly to the massive crowds that gather weekly to participate in Roland's orchestrated insanity. "You feel like he is partying with you as opposed to performing for you," Rebar regular and Henry fanatic Jessica Veltman, who had just finished participating in a conga line led by Roland, told me.

By sheer functional prowess alone, it's apparent that Roland started this vintage musical journey at a young age. "I was introduced music by my father. He had an absolutely mind-blowing record collection and an acoustic guitar. I'll never forget the first time I put Led Zeppelin 4 on the turntable and the feeling I felt. It was like, 'This is what it's all about. This is real. Grab that guitar,' " the artist reminisced. "Aside from my dad's record collection are my memories of the 'The Muppet Show.' What really blew my mind was an episode which featured George Harrison's 'My Guitar Gently Weeps.' I thought to myself, 'Wow. Such an emotional song written about an instrument. I want to know what that's all about."

Although he's been involved in the world of music ever since, it wasn't until two years ago that the idea for Henry + the Invisibles surfaced. "Well, it was kind of how the cards were dealt," Roland explained. "I looked around and didn't see anyone else. I've been in bands since I was a kid, and it always seemed to me every time good shit started to happen, there was some sort of drama involved." The drama-free performer puts one hell of a show and is a name worth remembering. In addition to his regular gig, Roland will perform solo as Henry + the Invisibles at SXSW. He is currently recording the follow-up to his critically acclaimed "Onemanphunkband" E.P. as well as the follow-up to the freshman album from Starchild, his Rock and Soul side project that features real-life band mates Justin Schneider on 8-string bass and Shawn O'Banion on drums.

Be on the lookout for the first music video from Henry + the Invisibles; the single 'My Love is 4 U' is slated to be directed by 'Powderkids' producer Buddy Calvo. - Backbeat Magazine

"'Henry + The Invisibles'; a sit-down with the local one-man, funk power group"

About four years ago I walked into Hemingways Pub and saw a guy setting up instruments on their venue stage. Little did I know, I was in for a show that I still haven't seen anything like anywhere else.
In his sequined shirt, oversized sunglasses and platform shoes, this one man funk/Latin/rock group played song after song overlapping or looping several instruments ranging from electric guitar to symphonic keyboard. By the second song people were off their seats dancing or grooving in their seats waving to whatever beat Henry created. Fast forward to today and Henry + the Invisibles are still keeping true to funk originality. Playing at Rebar (8134 Broadway) every Friday night at 10:00 p.m., Henry + the Invisibles, fronted by solo musician, Henry Roland, have been gaining a loyal fan base since their his first show. Before his performance last Friday, Henry and I were able to sit down and talk about his music and personal experiences as the Invisibles sat quietly and listened.

When you were introduced to music?

When I was about four, my father had an old classical guitar and there was this episode of The Muppets where George Harrison came out and played "My Guitar Gently Weeps" and he sang this song with such passion I found it amazing. Also listening to records in my father's collection like Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix and Santana.
Of all the sounds you incorporate in your music, which is your favorite?

The soul stuff, the funk stuff but if you asked me it tomorrow, it could be rock. Soul is really the biggest thing like Stevie Wonder, Curtis Mayfield and Al Green. Anything with a groove like disco which is really making a comeback in Europe. It doesn't have to be all about gold chains and open shirts and stuff but it's the mentality of dancing again. You look at old videos of Bob Marley and Sly and the Family Stone and it's undeniable that everyone is having the time of their life.

What have been your biggest venues?

I was the main writer in a band called the Gingerbread Men. We played at the 1996 Olympics in New York, opening for Tito Puente. We also sold out the House of Blues. I also played for the Parliament-Funkadelic.

Why the one man show?

The last major project I was in was trio called Starchild. We played for about four or five years and I looked around and didn't see any support or momentum so I decided to take a break from the band. I had a couple of shows booked and I didn't know what I was going to do. I purchased this loop pedal and started messing with it. I started doing more research and found a whole loop society.
On his first few shows…
The Hemingways gig was actually my fourth show after this place 1to1 in Austin and a show in Corpus. My first show was at Bar Fly, but I really couldn't consider it my first show. I had a water jug, a snare drum, and two guitars. At the time I was just jamming but around the third or fourth show I started developing songs and kept whatever got good crowd reactions in for the next show. I slowly got a repertoire of about two hours of music.

How did you come up with the name Henry + the Invisibles?

Originally, it was just called Henry and it was pretty boring. I was trying to think of something funny, clever, kind of witty and the invisible thing just popped in my head. I was playing around with a couple of names but nothing stuck. A lot of people at the time were saying it's too long but now people think it's kind of cool. I'm fronting a band of invisible musicians.
On his shows/parties…
When somebody first sees the show they really don't know what I'm doing. "Is he pressing buttons? Is he sampling?" I'm just one guy so if you walk halfway into the song it could look like I'm doing karaoke but if you know the show then you know there's dancing. I'm all about making people groove and move; lose a few calories.

Essential element

I look at it like a package deal. It's a spectacle, its fun, the music speaks for itself but if you took any on element I don't think it would come across the way it does. It's really essential for the audience to feel a part of it. It's about making people feel good even in a time of disparity and it heals me sometimes too. When I'm down I especially can't wait to play because it's reciprocal it's like I'm feeding the audience and the audience feeds me. Since I'm a one man band it's kind of like we're all in this together.

What's the message you try to communicate through your music?

Reminding people not everything is the way you want it to be but true happiness is acceptance. If everybody in this world stopped trying to tell people what to do or what to be or what mattered most, we'd have a lot more intelligent discussion. When you strip it all down we're only human. If people could get past the exterior we should be able to coexist.
- Paisano-online.com

"Henry + the Invisibles, The best band you’ll never see, debut at SXSW"

If you’re among the minority in San Antonio who still haven’t seen Henry + the Invisibles — the type heard to mutter, “I’ve heard a lot about them but I’ve never seen them.” — I have news for you: you never will.

Henry + the Invisibles are the brain-heart-lungs-everything-child of Henry Roland Gutiérrez, a one-man band from San Antonio who played with a variety of bands while living in Austin and New York before deciding he had to do everything himself.

“I’ve been in bands all my life but, for one reason or another it didn’t work out,” Henry told the Current. One day in late 2008, after spending nine years in New York DJing and making music, he was having “bass player drama, you know?” and instead of cancelling some dates, decided to take charge.

“I had a loop pedal and started booking shows, and that’s how the Invisibles started,” he said. We’ve all seen loopers and one-man bands before, but what Henry does is different.

“My experience with loopers is that most of them just play with harmonics or a beat and start working on some sort of ethereal music, very flowy or meditational, which is cool,” he said. “But I wanted to take it to an organic funk and soul level. When I’d listen to a hip-hop track and hear, say, a James Brown sample, I thought ‘That would be really cool to play live, only if I could pull it off.’”

Current readers chose Henry + the Invisibles as Best Music Innovator in the 2010 Rammy Awards, suggesting he is achieving his ambition. At the Current’s Rammy party at Boneshakers in December, Henry did his thing: he played guitar, keyboards, bass, drums and, yes, loops, but always backed by a solid song-based idea.

“I like to structure songs, to have some substance to the material, instead of just having a loop and let that be it,” he said.

His 2010 EP, Onemanphunkband, was a solid introduction to his obsessive nature in the studio, but he’s already started work on a full-fledged album and an updated sound. “I’m sort of a perfectionist at the studio, like, 100 takes on a guitar,” he said. “I’m happy with the EP but, you know, you gotta send the kids to college. So I’m working on a more conceptual thing from start to finish, instead of just a collection of songs, and yet another solo thing under Henry Roland that’s more psychedelic than indie.”

Besides the new albums, which will be released later this year, he continues playing guitar for rock ’n’ soul trio Starchild and hip-hop band Mojoe and serving as DJ-in-residence at Rebar, where he spins ’90s soul, hip-hop, and his signature New Orleans-style funk. “I love anything as long it has some groove to it, it takes me some place, and it has a positive message.”

Even though he has played South By Southwest with bands in the past, the March 17 showcase will be the first one with Henry + the Invisibles, and the invitation is already yielding some fruit. “I’m very excited, and [the gig is] already opening some doors for me,” he said. “I’m getting lots of phone calls.”

Besides his March 17 official SXSW showcase, Henry will play two other shows in Austin during the festival’s week: Tuesday, March 15, at Cheer Up Charlie’s (1104 E 6th St., 10:50pm) and Wednesday, March 16, on the March Mashup Town Lake Cruise (the yacht meets at 6 p.m. next to Hula Hut, 3825 Lake Austin Blvd., and the cruise is from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.).

But before all this happens, San Antonio fans will have a chance to say bon voyage at the Current-sponsored Rebar party on Friday, March 11.

“I just want to thank everybody,” Henry said. “All I want to do is put some funk and soul into the local scene. I’m always shooting for the stars, but I never really thought I’d get so much support from everybody. I feel very confident about [the Invisibles], but I know how life is, and you never know what’s around the corner. Maybe something very interesting will come of this. Whatever happens in the future, the Invisibles are in a very strong upswing now, and I’m loving every second of it.” - San Antonio Current

"Music Makers: Henry + the Invisibles"

For years, San Antonians have gushed about Henry Roland’s “one man phunk band” show. A standing Friday night gig at Rebar regularly makes converts out of those who doubted anything cool could come from a one-man band employing puppets. Roland’s performance blends dance, funk and comedy into impressive funk originals, with Roland quick changing from guitar, drums, synthesizer, bass and vocals. If you haven’t caught the act yet, get on it. In 2011 Henry + the Invisibles travels to SXSW, Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory and beyond. He’ll also record new singles, following up on the international success of his track “After All,” singled out by both British electro band Future Sound of London and Oasis’ Liam Gallagher for use in a compilation and film last year. But have they seen him live? - San Antonio Magazine

"SATX Follows Henry + the Invisibles"

SATX Follows will feature the best and hardest working musicians in San Antonio. To make your case for our next feature, email TIPS@satxmusic.com.

Henry Roland has been on the grind for years, mostly playing intimate shows at bars. On small stages across San Antonio, he made his name known with powerful pizzaz. Creative and funky, Henry is backed by his nonexistent (hence “Invisible”) band. He dances and sings while playing multiple instruments and showing off awesome electronic looping skills. And you will dance!

Formerly of local favorite band Starchild, Roland’s solo project is becoming even more widely acclaimed—he won a battle of the bands at Jack’s Patio Bar and secured a spot opening for Ghostland Observatory at LiveIn210’s Launch Party (December 2010). Henry + the Invisibles will also represent San Antonio at this year’s SXSW in Austin. Congrats, Henry!

One of H+TI’s tracks, “After All” is featured on the Future Sound of London’s compilation A Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble. The “group” released its debut album Onemanphunkband in 2010. - SATX Music

"210 SA - Look & Listen"

"Stomp meets rock meets funk and soul." "Worth checking out - Rotating between instruments, fusing and playing three guitars, keyboards, percussion and singing... " - 210 SA - Clint Hale


Henry and the Invisibles trips people out. This is not an opinion or overgeneralization; this is a fact. For one, the word "Invisibles” is to be taken literally, as any other band member is nowhere to be seen. Henry Roland, the lead singer/writer/guitarist/keyboardist/drummer (formerly of the San Antonio cult favorite/now-defunct band Starchild), heads into the studio to record and loop instruments for a sound that would have anyone believing that Henry and the Invisibles are a seven-man band. The funk/blues/soul/hip-hop/jazz fusion lets loose at his shows, where Roland incorporates coffee cans, pots, pans, water jugs, and anything other noise-conducing element he considers instrumental to his other instruments on stage (this—and the conga lines that often ensue—is the trippy aspect of the "band”).

Luckily for me, I got to see the magic happen both outside and inside the studio (where I ended up dancing to the music). Going from lead singer of Starchild to a solo project was quite a move, and Roland, who's toured with George Clinton (among countless others), explained that “…you just have to keep reaching for your dreams. Sometimes it"s easy to wonder where the magic is after putting in so much energy. All of a sudden the karmic levee breaks wide open and all that magic finally happens.” Currently wrapping up a CD, he plays at Rebar on Friday nights in addition to his out-of-town shows. Witness the magic and join in on the conga line by visiting http://www.myspace.com/henryinvisibles for a complete schedule. -AB - SA METRO


More notable for his live performances, Henry Roland, front and sole member of Henry and the Invisibles produces live loops on the spot to create a soulful, funk-tastic experience that guides the crowd through an orchestration of electronica and fusion. The one man band’s Prince like vocals suit the incorporation of looped guitar, bass guitar, percussion, keyboards, and household items such as pots and cans, coffee-cans, and water jugs well. With serviceable falsetto funk and glassy-eyed soul rock, Roland’s unhinged 1970’s nostalgia meets with non-stop dancing and grooving.

The self-titled 6 track-EP featured on Roland’s site, http://sonicbids.com/epk/epk.aspx?epk_id=14383, Sounding almost identical (with a more down-tempo element) to Jack Johnson’s intro to “Upside Down,” Roland’s “Power of Ten” transforms after a few bars of the recognizable beat into something more funky and fresh with Roland declaring that “it’s getting funky, it’s getting funky, it’s getting mother funky.” The second track entitled, “How You Livin’,” is a slower tune which recalls the ‘Purple One’s’ sexy sultriness. Roland’s originality and experimentalism entwined with a rhythmic element becomes more and more prevalent throughout the progression of the tracks. “Only Humans,” is resonant of alternative rockers the Pixies in its down-tempo alt. guitar riffs, vibrating bass and echoing vocals. “Sing a Song,” the standout track of the bunch is a live performance which includes tambourine jingling and soulful cooing. Almost like church, “Sing a Song,” list life’s importance’s “one world, one heart, one love” and asks, “If we can all sing a song, then why can’t we all get along?” Midway, Roland rips into a funky bass guitar solo. The last track, “LoveJam A.K.A. The Gospel” is also a live track and the longest at 8:21 minutes. The encompassing theme of Love is ubiquitous and central not only through Roland’s repetition of the word, but in the lyrics.

- Ashley Cass - SKY SAW

"Henry + The Invisibles Free Your Mind With Funk"

"Journey down a psychedelic causeway and free your mind with funk. The evolution of sound has reached the new nexus. One man standing on a mountain, blowing a bugle, beating on the earth, and changing the way we listen."

"There is not only substance to the tunes, there are unavoidable backbreaking grooves that make it hard not to get up out of yo' seat." - Study Breaks - Matt Guzman


'Onemanphunkband' EP
'Take it 2 The Tippy' Single



Having recently opened all sold out shows for Gary Clark Jr, Ghostland Observatory, Ozomatli, Peanut Butter Wolf and Lauren Hill Henry + The Invisibles is quite the exciting new one man buzz band. Henry + The Invisibles (Henry Roland) layers vocal harmonies, funk guitar, groovin' bass, soulful keyboards and powerful percussion to create original high energy dance music that sounds like a solid 5 piece funk ensemble! YOU don’t want to miss H+TI’s explosive live show!

With the recent release of the six song 'Onemanphunkband' EP, there is much excitement about this one-man show... a performance not to be missed!

Other News...

Henry + The Invisibles' 'Soul Shaker' is featured (track 4) on the 'On The Rise' CD Sampler in the April/ May 2011 issue of Relix Magazine.

This artist was recently featured on the Future Sound of London Compilation entitled "A Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble" - a two CD 40+ track compilation including artists like Donovan, Mahavishnu Orchestra and Miles Davis. The project was comprised by Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher.

Henry Rolands music is also featured in the recent Sundance Festival-bound film "the Powderkids" based out of San Antonio, TX.

Check back soon for frequent updates, new songs, photos and shows *

(512) 677.4084 that's (512) 677.H+TI


Venues H+TI has performed at:
The Apollo Theater - NYC
The National Underground - NYC
Bowery Ballroom - NYC
Joe’s Pub - NYC
Fez - NYC
Mercury Lounge - NYC
Tonic - NYC
Knitting Factory - NYC
Plaid - NYC
The Tribeca Grand Hotel - NYC
The Gershwin Hotel - NYC
Show Nightclub - NYC
Spirit - NYC
Arlene Grocery - NYC
CBGB’s Lounge - NYC
Sin-e - NYC
Piano’s - NYC
Don Hill’s - NYC
The Cutting Room - NYC
Makor - NYC
The Living Room - NYC
The Continental - NYC
Luna Lounge - NYC
The Bitter End - NYC
ABC Studios Grammy Party - NYC
Union Square Park Festival - NYC
The Parkside Lounge - NYC
Sidewalk Café - NYC
Brownies - NYC
Manitoba’s - NYC
The Pussy Cat Lounge - NYC
Apocalypse - NYC
The Lion’s Den - NYC
Nublu - NYC
The Hook - NYC
Under Acme - NYC
Baby Jupiter - NYC
B3’s Kitten Lounge - NYC
Manny’s Car Wash - NYC
Wetlands - NYC
Radio Perfecto - NYC
Red Lion - NYC
Le Bar Bat - NYC
Swift – NYC
Delancey – NYC
Antone’s – Austin, TX
Beauty Bar - Austin, TX
Beso Cantina - Austin, TX
One 2 One - Austin, TX
Flamingo Cantina – Austin, TX
White Rabbit – Austin, TX
Black Cat Lounge – Austin, TX
STUBB’S BarBQue – Austin, TX
MoMo’s – Austin, TX
The Saxon Pub - Austin, TX
Elephant Room – Austin, TX
Liberty Lunch – Austin, TX
Sunken Gardens Theatre - San Antonio, TX
Mix Lounge – San Antonio, TX
Sky Lounge – San Antonio, TX
Sunset Station – San Antonio, TX
Q - San Antonio, TX
Broadway Bar - San Antonio, TX
ReBar - San Antonio, TX
Revolution - San Antonio, TX
Broadway 50/50 - San Antonio, TX
The Falls - San Antonio, TX
White Rabbit - San Antonio, TX
Babcock Bar - San Antonio, TX
Barfly - San Antonio, TX
Medusa - San Antonio, TX
Josabi's - San Antonio/Helotes TX
Tantra Coffehouse - San Marcos, TX
Triple Crown - San Marcos, TX
Doc Rockits - Corpus Christi, TX
The House of Rock - Corpus Christi, TX
Revolution Room - Corpus Christi, TX
The Green Elephant - Dallas,TX
Trees – Dallas, TX
DaDa – Dallas, TX
House of Blues - Dallas TX
The Varsity – Baton Rouge
House of Blues – New Orleans, LA
Shubba’s – Chicago, IL
Fox Theater – Boulder, CO
Fly Me To The Moon - Telluride, CO

Henry has opened for several national acts on the road including:

Gary Clark Jr.
Ghostland Observatory
Peanut Butter Wolf
Lauryn Hill
Tower of Power
Maceo Parker
Pfunk – All Stars
No Doubt
Burning Spear
Mighty Mighty Bosstones
Tito Puente @ 96 Olympics
Medeski, Martin & Wood
Los Lobos
Taj Mahal
Screaming Headless Torsos
Buddy Guy
The Strokes
Widespread Panic