Combining eight horns with two percussionists, scratch DJ and live MC, the Renegade Brass Band is a tight ensemble, playing with a raw brass sound, mixing the best of funk, hip-hop and jazz into the ultimate party band.
The Renegade Brass Band have already established a big live reputation as a headline act, and have appeared alongside Homecut, The Correspondents, Jehst, Kidkanevil, DJ Vadim and The Electric, East Park Reggae Collective, Ms. Dynamite, The Nextmen, and First Word Record founder Andy H.
NIJI: Who makes up Renegade Brass Band?
Andrew: The Renegades is made up of usually seven horns (Andy and James on trumpets, Jamie on tenor sax, trombones Nick, Christina and Tim, and Matt on sousaphone), Rory and Dan our two percussionists, scratch DJ Ehi and our MC, V3xation.
Dan: We’re all just gigging musicians around the north of England – with guys based in Newcastle and Manchester, we’ve spread out a bit!
Andrew: We’ve also got people we can call on when we need, like if we’re short of horns for a show or something.
NIJI: What does the band name represent?
Andrew: I really like the word ‘renegade’ anyway, it’s really enigmatic, it conjures up different ideas for different people, and I guess I felt it reflected how the band would appear – we’re doing something a bit different…
Dan: Creativity and unity, all that sort of thing, kind of independent from doing what other people are already doing…
Andrew: Yeah, but also that it meant people could kind of access the sound in different ways – if you’re used to listening to hip-hop, you’ll probably like the decks and MC, if you’re more of a jazz fan, you’ll be listening to the horns initially, but then begin to appreciate the other parts of the sound. I guess it’s something people can feel kind of part of in a way.
NIJI: Who came up with the idea to combine horns with percussionists a scratch DJ and a live mc?
Andrew: It was all by accident really – lots of us play in loads of different bands or knew each other from different places, and have different musical interests that we thought it’d be cool to bring together.
Jamie: Brass bands have used rappers and DJs before, but we wanted to make it a really integral part of our sound.
Dan: We just all began kind of collecting together – I think I was head-hunted in a salsa club by Nick (trombone); it was something a bit different to try.
NIJI: How would you describe your sound?
Andrew: We try to combine lots of different elements of jazz, funk, hip-hop, Latin music, all with a really live sound, and the energy of a full brass section – as much as the sound, I’ve always felt Renegade Brass Band is about the live experience, and just the weight of sound that 12 performers can give you that you just can’t get from amplified music.
Jamie: It’s a big sound, when I used to watch the band before I joined it was just really exciting to watch.
Dan: People have described as being really addictive, and I think there’s something to that – it’s just really good fun! And the dance drive you get from it is amazing.
NIJI: How have you established a great live reputation?
Jamie: A lot of people come to a Renegade show not really knowing what to expect, but I think, whatever your taste in music, you’re going to find something that you can latch on to and enjoy in our sound – jazz fans like the arrangements and solos, hip-hop fans like the interplay of the decks and MC, and we’re also pretty easy to dance to, and just have a good time.
Andrew: Hard work initially!
Dan: Lots of practice as well.
Andrew: Lots of local gigs and we seemed to quite quickly build a good fan base – it’s pretty accessible stuff, and I don’t think you can take yourself too seriously listening to our music!
NIJI: Where can we find you performing?
Dan: We tend to perform at clubs and outdoor festivals –we’ve been doing jazz and hip-hop clubs, and some fairly bizarre festivals.
Jamie: We’ve got a few gigs coming up in Leeds, Newcastle and Nottingham, as well as a few shows in Sheffield. In terms of festivals, big one this year will be Soundwave Festival – a small stage on a Croatian island, sandy beaches, blue ocean, and De La Soul headlining.
Andrew: We’re pretty excited about that one!
NIJI: You have appeared alongside the likes of The Correspondents, DJ Vadim and Ms Dynamite, how did you get the opportunity?
Jamie: In part, we earned it I guess! Hard work and being willing to take on some other, less prominent, gigs.
Andrew: A lot of those shows have been hometown support slots – we’ve been really supported by a few local venues and promoters, and it’s been nice that they see RBB as a really good support for loads of very different acts.
Jamie: We’ve built a good reputation as a support act; it’s been ace to see our name alongside those sorts of guys.
NIJI: After spending 2011 hitting the festival circuit, what was your most memorable moment?
Andrew: At The Secret Garden Party, a girl shinnied up one of the marquee tent poles, right to the top, and a good 30ft off the ground…
Dan: We were like “is this our fault if she falls?!” That Sooty and Sweep ice cream van playing techno was pretty good too…
Andrew: Yeah, no donut-frying techno-performing one-man band like that French festival though.
NIJI: How would you describe your EP Radio Rebelde released last year?
Dan: We wanted the EP to reflect the sort of tunes you’d hear in our live show – some more Latin, some jazz, some hip-hop, solos, good lyrics and a lot of energy. Chris and Nick who did the recording and mixing got it spot on, we were really lucky with that, and we’ve pretty much sold out which is nice for a debut release. We were really proud of it when it came out, but it’s nice to hear how we’ve developed from there as well.
Jamie: We’ve just been back in the studio recently, so we’ve got a few more tunes ready to release very soon.
NIJI: How did you hook up with producer Phrij of Lifestyle records?
Andrew: He’s a school friend of mine actually! I used to play in a band with him, but he’s also developing a really good (and much deserved) reputation for production. We were looking for someone to put a new twist on the Renegade’s sound, and he was really keen to try something a little different.
Dan: We’ve got a remix competition for another track over the next month, be cool to see what comes out of that as well.
NIJI: What can we expect from you in the future?
Andrew: Lots more shows! We’ve not really got any big plans in mind; we’re enjoying playing alongside some really cool artists, playing new places and building up a fan base.
Jamie: Hoping to build on 2011 for a really good festival summer, and see what happens with releases.
Dan: Yeah, lots more shows, seeing new places and new bands, and bringing the Renegade sound to new people and new dance floors.