Formed in 2008 out of a desire to play music that appealed to the feet as much as to the ears, the Hackney Colliery Band is east London’s unique take on the brass band. Featuring trumpets, trombones, saxes, sousaphone and marching percussion, the band are totally acoustic and yet able to blow the roof off any room.
Hackney Colliery Band’s members have hugely diverse musical backgrounds, ranging from work with cutting edge jazz groups to the Royal Opera House, and from Jarvis Cocker to major international orchestras. This breadth of musical talent is clearly on display in their eclectic repertoire.
Mining nuggets of funk, hip-hop and high-octane rock from the musical coalface and throwing in a few chunks of Balkan brass, electronica and contemporary jazz for good measure, the Hackney Colliery Band’s setlist is as diverse as the London borough that gave them their name.
Add the fact that the band stays true to its roots by bringing the tradition of mobile marching bands firmly into the 21st Century and you know that every gig’s sure to be unique. Whether playing to a global audience of hundreds of millions at the Closing Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics or to a few hundred in a club,though, you can be certain of one thing: this is high-energy, good-time music that’ll make you want move your feet.
Since the release of Hackney Colliery Band’s eponymous debut in 2011, this brass juggernaut have blown their way into the public consciousness with their catchy original recordings and cunning cover versions. Mixing rock, afro-beat, hip hop, Balkan beats, contemporary jazz and soul, the new album ‘Common Decency’ (released in September 2013) is a uniquely British take on the modern brass band sound. The opener, ‘A Bit Of Common Decency’, builds from a delicately brooding intro to an almost punky rock groove, and with its imploring whispers and shouts for “a bit of common decency” sets the tone of the album: by turns polite and forceful, mellow and fiery, energetic and, well, even more energetic. By the closing track, ‘Prodigy Medley’ the listener can be left with little doubt that HCB’s time has come.
Engineered by the appropriately-named Tristan Hackney (Katy B, Bjork, U2) and mixed by Luke Buttery (Mark Ronson, Alice Russell, Noel Gallagher) at Ray Davies’ Konk studios in North London, ‘Common Decency’ was recorded almost entirely ‘as live’ with the band all playing in the same room at the same time; a rare and high-risk method indeed, but the only one that could hope to capture the energy and passion of one of HCB’s live shows.
Fortunately, with musicians whose credits include the likes of Bonobo, Cinematic Orchestra and even the Royal Opera House, there was no danger of this compromising the quality or detail of the performances. Add a little extra honk from Melt Yourself Down and Acoustic Ladyland head honcho Pete Wareham on the track ‘Superhero Disco’ and there is no shortage of virtuoso playing. Which is lucky, because HCB aren’t a simple ‘brass n beats’ groove band. Writers Olly Blackman, Luke Christie and Steve Pretty have between them penned unquestionably the outfit’s strongest material to date – powerful original compositions that sit alongside unexpected drum n bass, soul and hip hop covers; a tour de force of screaming energy and masterly writing. As intricate as it is energetic, as virtuosic as it is passionate, ‘Common Decency’ marks HCB’s arrival as a leading light in the global brass band scene.
Radio support from Gilles Peterson (BBC Radio 1), Lauren Laverne (BBC 6Music), Jason Pulaski (Kuci 88.9FM, USA), Markus Milz, Further In Fusion, Ennio Styles (3RRR, Australia), Pete Isaac, Jelly Jazz (Phonic.fm), Phil Lvene (Eclecticjazz.com), Tiago Santos (Radio Oxigenio 102.6FM, Portugal) & Enrique Domenech (Fusionova Radio)[one_third first][iconbox title=”Website” icon=”go-home.png”]Visit the Hackney Colliery Band website[/iconbox][/one_third] [one_third][iconbox title=”Listen on Spotify” icon=”multimedia-player.png”]Listen to all the Hackney Colliery Band releases on Spotify.[/iconbox][/one_third] [one_third][iconbox title=”Shop” icon=”big_tag-orange.png”]Buy music from Colman Brothers[/iconbox] [/one_third]
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