Monday, 07 October 2013 11:47

Bullhorn: Hard-Hitting Brass

Built on an energetic live show and equally hard hitting songs, Bullhorn are about as far from an atypical brass band as possible.

“As far as brass bands go, we've been compared to a rock band because it's all modern material, we're playing a lot of hip hop, drum & bass, funk and soul. It's all just upbeat, high energy shows,” sousaphone player Stevie Buchanan says.

An eclectic group formed in 2011 from various other Brisbane bands, they've proven to be a dynamic force bringing a modern twist to a traditional style of music.

“We all played in a lot of Brisbane bands over the years, old bands such as Darky Roots, we've got members from Dubmarine and Pelusafunk. So we have a lot of experience playing in these line-ups. [But] it takes a while to adjust and really understand everyone's different role in the band.”

With most people typically expecting a classical performance when they picture brass instruments, the recent addition of Roman MC to the group has helped dissuade that perception. 

“It's hard because people can be a bit standoffish just because of the instrumentation. It really helps having Roman MC. He's just great at communicating with crowds. He's really good at warming the crowd up and getting them comfortable with the idea of this weird instrumentation, but then by the end of the set we've always sold everyone.”

Bullhorn are not a band afraid to experiment; alongside the inclusion of Roman MC they also play with sample pads and different amps.

“Our drummer Joel often works with a sample pad that we put different samples in and I run my sousaphone through a bass amp with just bass pedals. So definitely we're open to anything, that's been the real concept of this band, just being open to any instrumentation and any tools that are at our disposal.”

Despite not being together for an extensive time, their sound has already begun to evolve significantly.

“Definitely it's evolving, it's just as everyone gets used to it, it is a strange instrumentation to work with so it takes a while to adjust and really understand everyone's different role in the band and how to write for that. Also Roman the MC has only been an addition to the band this year so it's been adjusting to writing with him.”

While most bands find a formula that fits and keep it, Bullhorn attempt to change their style every time they record.

“When we come to the studio we usually take a different tactic in and are always keen to get some guests in and do different things when we're in the studio. We're fairly prolific writers so it's constantly changing and evolving.”

Bullhorn's latest offering, 'Roll Off The Top', highlights their tremendous stylistic diversity over two tracks. 'Roll Off The Top' is a heavy R&B piece, with vocals from Roman MC and Laneous, which is highly contrasted by the second song 'Beach Party'.

“They could not be more different, 'Roll Off The Top' has some R&B style vocals over the chorus. Then the second track is completely different, it's like an instrumental old school sort of soul tune called 'Beach Party', it's just upbeat, catchy, good times sort of old school soul tune basically.”

Subverting the traditions of the stereotypical brass band, Bullhorn are quickly making a name for themselves as a band anyone, no matter their genre of choice, can enjoy.

“Most of it is just sort of hard hitting upbeat tunes so we've never failed to really get people dancing, so it's just all about the material you work with. It shows you can work with nearly any instrumentation, it just depends on the tunes you're playing basically.”

Set to launch their single next week, the band will embark on a tour to promote it throughout October and November.

“We're touring for the rest of the year and then we're looking at releasing another single in March next year and then dropping the album halfway through the year.”

Bullhorn perform at The Zoo Oct 11, Solbar Oct 12, The Great Northern Nov 15, West End Block Party Nov 17 and Sound Lounge Nov 29.

Published in Urban
Wednesday, 02 October 2013 18:16

Bullhorn Tickets

Brisbane's own dynamic nu-wave brass band, Bullhorn, are their launching their new single next week.

Bullhorn are an acoustic force of nature with a line-up including seven hard hitting horn players, one bossing drummer and one monster MC.

The new single includes two Bullhorn originals; ‘Roll Off The Top’, a catchy hard hitting hip hop tune featuring Roman MC and Laneous, as well as ‘Beach Party’, an upbeat good times instrumental old school soul tune.

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Published in Competition
Wednesday, 08 May 2013 10:35

Bullhorn: Neo-Brass

Local brass ensemble Bullhorn are about to embark on an east coast tour for their new single, ‘Resonate Right’.

Founding member Steve Buchanan says the group was born from his desire to create a horn band with a modern edge.

“I'd always played horns in roots, funk and reggae bands. I was just really keen to put a band together that was all horns to show they could form a band in their own right, and where we could play modern material as well. There's a lot of brass bands that play New Orleans beat and Eastern European gypsy stuff, but what we're playing is more funk-soul reggae hip hop. We're working with MCs to create a more modern sound.”

With the release of 'Resonate Right' and their sophomore album due out later this year, Steve says the recording process this time around has been about refining their signature sound with an emphasis on quality.

“We've been working with Roman MC who wrote some of the lyrics and we've got Laneous of Laneous & The Family Yah as a guest vocalist on the chorus. We've been recording the new album at The Burrow in Clayfield. The first album was fairly low budget but this time we've spent a lot more money and time getting a good recording together. We're really happy with the single and the tracks from the album are coming along really well, but we've still got a long way to go.”

Steve says Bullhorn is excited about their upcoming shows with Sydney hip hop trio True Vibenation.

“There will be an upbeat party vibe. I'm really looking forward to it and I think we will work well together. It’s the same sort of funk hip hop stuff with a lot of horns. I think it will be a great night.

“We're really wanting to push more national touring, especially in Sydney and Melbourne for the album launch. We're doing Village Arts festival up in Yeppoon later this year. At the moment we've got a lot of festival applications pending  for the second half of the year.”

Bullhorn play The Joynt May 10, Solbar Maroochydore May 11, The Brewery Byron Bay May 26 and Mandala Arts Cafe, Gold Coast, June 1.

Published in Jazz/ Fusion
Wednesday, 22 August 2012 15:17

Bullhorn: Island Brass

Hip hop is not often associated with an eight-piece brass ensemble.

But Brisbane group, Bullhorn, are challenging people’s perceptions of brass music and hip hop. In less than two years, they’ve not only established a unique sound combining brass, jazz and contemporary dance music, but have also toured and released their debut self-titled album.

“It’s all happened really quick,” says Steven Buchanan, the group’s sousaphone player. “But we've been amazed at the response from it so far. In just a year we've been able to pull some really good gigs and tour, and some great opportunities have come our way.

“We've done a lot of shows at The Joynt and that's a classic example of our shows. It's always packed and [we have] a lot of people dancing.”
But according to Buchanan, live crowds are sometimes unsure of how to digest Bullhorn's musical offering.

“Sometimes people are a bit stand-off-ish ... when we first get up [because] they don't know how to take it. You'll see people for the first one or two tunes maybe clap lightly, sort of treating it like a concert, but they always change their minds by the end of the set,” he says.

And Bullhorn's self-confessed “party-vibe” will no doubt benefit the group when they play Island Vibe Festival in October. “Island Vibe is a great festival. A lot of the guys in the band have played it in other bands before but Bullhorn has never played it. It's always such a great energy at that festival and has a great party vibe as well.

“There's always a Brisbane crew at Island Vibe and I reckon even if I wasn't playing I'd be there just attending to check it out. It's an awesome festival.”

Bullhorn play Island Vibe Festival, which takes place at Pt. Lookout, North Stradbroke Island, October 26-28.
Published in Jazz/ Fusion

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