Stomptown Brass have come of age in 2016. With the release of their debut EP, a hugely popular Irish tour, and a headline show at The Sugar Club, which sold-out days in advance, the 10-piece urban street-funk band have outgrown their superficial image as merely a fun festival act, and revealed musical ambitions far loftier in scope.
With Locomotive (EP) Stomptown Brass capture the natural energy of their raucous live performances, while simultaneously doing justice to the rhythmic complexity and precision of their compositions. Critics heaped on the praise: "Locomotive is concerned with the essence of sound, the incommunicable feeling that music can give us when the right notes are played at the right time, and all the harmonics gather into one whole being...throughoutLocomotive you can feel the energy and power that Stomptown Brass hold over their music...Locomotive is a boisterous carnival of music that comes across fully on record" (The Last Mixed Tape).
Stomptown Brass, two years old now, began when a group of like-minded brass players, known to each other from crossing paths with the likes of Trinity Orchestra, Hozier, The Riptide Movement, Kormac's Big Band, Tandem Felix, Attention Bebe, among others, decided they wanted to do something different: find a way of merging the direct energy of street-performing New Orleans brass bands with the subtle complexity of contemporary compositional arrangements.
The intention to break down the formal barrier between audience and performer means Stomptown Brass use a split kit (separate snare and bass drummers) so they can bring music right to the streets, not limited by the need to plug in. This has led to impromptu street parties all over Ireland - including a traffic-stopping march down South Richmond St. after Canalaphonic. Stomptown Brass can turn a post-work drink on a sunny evening along the canal into a New Orleans Mardi Gras festival.
The brain-child of composer and arranger James O'Leary (who taught himself the trombone for the express purpose of starting a street-funk brass band) the band has an almost-exclusive focus on original material. The songs draw on the rich tradition of funk and blues, creating a universally accessible, funky, up-beat kind of music, but with layers of rhythmic and dynamic complexity.