Something big, something bright and something as bold as brass is heading your way, once the lockdown is over.
Featuring 10 musicians, an awful lot of trumpets and at least one French horn, the Brass Machine are heading to a festival near you this summer.
The Brass Machine are a new group, formed last year, combining the traditional instruments of a brass band with the sounds and beats of contemporary jazz, funk, dub-step and hip hop. They take their inspiration from groups such as the Hot 8 Brass Band, Riot Jazz Brass Band, Young Blood Brass Band and Lucky Chops.
They were formed during last summer towards the end of the first lockdown by John Wood, an international professional tuba player who has performed with brass bands and orchestras in the UK and South Africa.
A former student at the Royal Academy of Music, in London, John returned to the island to live after performing with the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra in South Africa, where he played as the principal tuba.
He said he was moved to create the Brass Machine when he noticed a gap in the musical ’market’ in the island.
’It was something that I have wanted to do for a long time, before I moved to the island, really,’ said John.
’I am a classically-trained musician, and I also like a lot of electronic, dance music.
’It’s great that I have found a way of bridging both of these things.
’I had already talked to Jay Young, a friend of mine who played the drums, who was really keen on the idea.
’During the first lockdown, I thought I might as well start to get the band together and I started to find the players I was after.’
Joining John, who also plays the sousaphone, and Jay are trumpet players Matt Creer, Dave Karran and Ryno Potgieter, trombonists Juan Wright, Garry Reynolds and Greg Halliday, Sian Karran on the flugelhorn and Chris Weeks on the French horn.
’We are very lucky that there are so many wonderful and talented brass players over here, and also so many great brass bands that have done so much to teach people from an early age,’ said John.
Contemporary dance and funk music played by brass bands is a concept that has rapidly grown in popularity over the past few years, bringing together the infectious sound of brass instruments together with the spectacle of seeing a large group of musicians performing catchy dance music, generating a real sense of mardi gras carnival spirit.
The group have only managed to perform once live so far before the lockdowns hit this year, but have many appearances lined up over the summer, including a spot at the Dark Horse festival.
They also intend to hold their own night at the Peel Centenary Centre later on this year.
l More details are available on The Brass Machine Facebook page.
by Mike Wade