The Brow Horn Orchestra are one of the most exciting bands coming out of Perth right now. They play a pretty eclectic blend of music with everything from Ska to Hip Hop, with a whole host of other genres chucked in for good measure. They are a band becoming fast renown for the intensity and electrifying nature of their live shows.
Here we speak to band member Nic Owen to see what makes this band tick, plus his thoughts on the burgeoning music scene here in WA.
For those out there that haven't heard you yet, how would you describe your music/sound?
Big bad mad party bombs! We like to make infectious upbeat hook driven danceable pop songs that draw heavily from elements of our favourite musical genres which include hip hop, funk, ska, dubstep, African, electronica and beyond.
Who would you consider to be your influences?
Musically, for me individually – this is a hard one – people like Herbie Hancock and Roy Ayers. The Funk Brothers and all the motown singers they backed and also a lot of contemporary beat and horn based music like Quantic, Mr Scruff, A Tribe Called Quest, The Herbaliser, Dap Kings & The Menahan Street Band. Non-Musically, my parents, friends and family are huge influences on my character and life experiences which is where I’m really at as a young songwriter.
How do you approach the song writing process? which comes first the music or the lyrics?
Most of the time the music. I like to start with a simple idea or hook and expand on that into a song and I find words come much easier once this is in place. Our emcee Rezide will have a lot of open verses written down in his spare time and if the song has no specific story or direction to tell then he can often try adapting these verses to the music as well.
When did you make the decision to make music your full time job/goal?
Unfortunately in this climate, you’ll even see some of the really big local Perth bands still working in the fish and chip shops on their nights off until they step over that border into a high rotation triple j / or complete commercial realm. Before that it is merely a full time goal and a full time investment. Believe you me, it feels like a fulltime job and you make it become that way. Why? Because there is something so electrifying, something so immediate about being about to step onto a stage, sing a few words, play a few notes and have an instantaneous connection with an audience; an instant reaction. A lot of other creative fields I’ve invested time into don’t provide the same level of immediacy and with all this comes an intoxicating high words cannot described. To be able to play in front of a vibing happy room full of people you can really connect with and share something special even if you don’t know them personally is an addictive experience.
What has been your greatest/favourite moment in music so far?
There have been so many great and favourite moments this year alone through amazingly memorable gigs along with those special moments where you really feel yourself bouncing off one another in the band. But something unique that will always stay with me is from years back when the trombonist Karri and I were slowly evolving into The Brow Horn Orchestra in its earliest most primal form as a Fremantle street busking duo. I remember playing along the café strip and a trumpeter who must have been sound checking at Kulcher club started jamming along with us off the balcony down to where we were below on the street. People driving past in cars were stopping to get out and throw money in our hats, causing all sorts of traffic jams as everyone was transfixed in the moment. It was just one of those special moments where everyone around us got caught in this wonderful moment together which will always be one of those profound moments.
What should someone going to a Brow Horn Orchestra gig expect?
Hopefully a hell of time! We’ve worked hard and been very conscious about developing a high energy show that becomes the band’s selling point and if you like signature. Our emcee vocalist Rezide is always an unknown quantity, even for us; without hesitation normally ending up in the thick of the crowd; with big horns and just so much sweaty moving stuff to look at you can’t get board. When Angelique (our youngest member) finishes all her school exams; we’ll also happily welcome back a bit of poi and juggling into the mix.
What are your thoughts on the WA Music Scene?
It’s a wonderfully over talented city for music with some really strong amazing support networks through WAM, RTRfm, Drum Media, etc. Most importantly, though, WA’s music scene is just filled with really great wonderful supportive people who want to work together and create identities in their niche markets; people who are happy to share drum kits and bass rigs as backlines at gigs, help you out with leads or pedals if there’s a hiccup on the night; and this all comes from a strong mutual respect we have for one another.
You have released a few songs via Triple J etc, can we expect an album or EP coming from you soon?
Yes we’ve got a debut LP on the way for a tentative March next year with a split single with two tracks off the album to be released in December this year.
What are your plans for the future? Touring? Recording?
We’ve just applied for a grant to take our music on a industry / public showcase to Melbourne early next year so hopefully fingers crossed the panel appreciate all the hard work our management and the band have put in to get the application ready! Other than that, we’ve got a mammoth task ahead of us making an executive decision to go LP over EP, but there’s a lot we want to say! We’re almost half way through the recording and will just keep the ball rolling steady whilst continuing to write and have fun and keep things alive in Perth. We’re always going to be first and foremost a live band and that’s why we’re taking our time with the record so we can continue to balance both and work around ways to transform this live vibe onto record.
You can catch The Brow Horn Orchestra on tour around WA, check out their Myspace Page at http://www.myspace.com/thebrowhornorchestra for more information.