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Bands @ The Brooklyn: Busty and the Bass

Bands @ The Brooklyn: Busty and the Bass

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Making the trek through Kingston’s icy, and snow-covered sidewalks to The Brooklyn last Thursday night was undoubtedly worth the experience of seeing Montreal’s high energy, electro-funk band Busty and the Bass.

The band’s nine members: Nick, Chris, Scott, Eric, Evan, Mike, Milo, Louis, and Julian, are in their fourth year at McGill University’s Jazz Performance program. The members met back in first year, and started playing together when the band’s guitarist, Louis, invited the other members to bring their instruments to his house party for a jam session. Starting off by setting up and playing at house parties, to playing at the campus bar almost every weekend, Busty gained exposure.

In October 2014, Busty won CBC’s Rock Your Campus contest and got the opportunity to release their first music video (you can watch it here). Soon after followed their EP, Bustified, and an opening performance for Arkells in Montreal (!!!!!).

Currently on a North American tour, Busty stopped in Kingston and gave a performance that lived up to their promise of a show that will make you dance your a#% off. With The Brooklyn at capacity, the crowd was feeding off the energy that Busty brought to the stage.

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MUSE got the chance to speak to Busty’s bassist, Milo Johnson, and keyboardist, Eric Haynes, before their show about managing perspective, and staying sane in a nine-member band.

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What made you guys want to form Busty and the Bass?

Milo: It just sort of happened. It was cool because in our year there is a lot of interest in music outside of jazz. Like, our alto player came from a pop-world, our drummer is an electronic producer and I was in a punk band before I came to school, so it was really the only place that we could not do jazz.

 

How would you describe your sound?

Milo: We find that genres that have stupid combination names work, so like: electo-jazz, disco-house, acid-jazz.

Eric: It’s an extremely varied thing… It’s difficult to put us into a box. We’ve sort of been experimenting a lot more with electronic sounds but we still have four horns playing with us, so our roots are definitely in funk music. I mean when it comes down to it, we just want to play music that people can dance to.

 

How has your sound changed since the band started?

M&E: It’s been a HUGE change.

M: Part of it comes from experience together; I would say we’ve incorporated more of our individual members’ backgrounds.

E: We’ve gotten better at working in a group of so many people. It’s really unusual to have a band of nine people because it’s a huge challenge, but once you get over that learning curve there’s unlimited possibilities.

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So you guys try to keep it even, and include everyone’s backgrounds into your music?

E: We’ve come up with a way to make our composing and arrangement processes as collaborative as we can.

M: Yeah, we’ve done that a lot by developing the personal relationships so that people feel comfortable enough to focus on the idea rather than the person. If there’s trust and social awareness, we know that if one of our ideas gets rejected, it’s not rejection of the person but just us trying to find the best idea.

 

So are you guys are all best friends?

E: I would say these are my best friends. It’s like travelling with a party now. Even though there’s so many of us, if one person is missing it seems empty.

M: Absolutely. I would say the only way we could have gotten this far is that we’re able to synthesize all the different experiences that everyone has had. We are the nine most different people you could ever imagine, and everyone bringing their own skills and perspectives is the only way to stay sane!

 

All that perspective seems to create a very unique sound.

E: Yeah, it’s not always easy but it’s always rewarding.

M: Yeah and even our working environment is unique, on stage but even more so behind the scenes.

 

Do you guys draw on your jazz studies at all?

M: I would say musical proficiency is the benefit of our studies. Everything that we’ve done musically is branching outside, taking what we’ve learned in school and trying to apply that to a band. I would say that having to deal with the limits and commercial realities has made us more creative. In school they don’t really teach us how to do anything original. So that’s the exciting thing about this group and doing this style of song – it gives us flexibility that they didn’t really teach us at school.

 

What do you hope audiences experience at your shows?

E: I just hope people have a ton of fun. I hope that our energy is infectious and that anyone coming to see our show will leave really excited.

M: People generally don’t associate live shows as something that people would go dancing at, so that’s what we’re trying to bring back.

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If you missed out on Busty and the Bass this time – they’ll be back soon. But for now, get your Busty fix and download their EP here.

Yours Creatively,

Lauren Luchenski, Entertainment Editor

Photography: @natvineberg, Hailey Ji, Obed DG Cundangan, @sohyypark, Will Hunter

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