'The band is a wild mixture of feelings'

'The band is a wild mixture of feelings'

'The band is a wild mixture of feelings'

All-brass German Band 'Erpfenbrass' has an unlimited and diverse repertoire and when combined with outfits as colourful as their music, it is no wonder they are in demand all across the globe.

The award-winning outfit has performed more than 1000 shows and workshops till date.  Recently in the city to perform at Shangri-La Hotel for the 'Oktoberfest' celebration, the band members, which comprise Sebastian Jäger, Christopher Schneider, Andreas Schmid, Alexander Parzhuber, Jan Jäger and Christian Grässlin, spoke to Rajitha Menon about their musical journey.  


How was the band formed?

Sebastian: The band was formed in 2009 by my brother Jan and I and our friend, Andi. We started by playing at shows and so, even before we began our professional careers, we became famous in the scene. At University, we got the idea to unite the crème de la crème  of young professional musicians from Germany. This is how 'Erpfenbrass' was born.

How would you describe your music?

Christopher: Funk, brass, pop, jazz, party - there is no way to describe 'Erpfenbrass'  in a single word or style. Like the members, the band is a wild  mixture of feelings, emotions, moods and energy.

It is said you differ your line up according to the needs of the occasion. How does that work?

Jan: Imagine a summer night at a beach club with relaxed music and a view of the sunset.  It  calls for bass and saxophone and smooth vocals. But  a traditional jazz brunch or a swing night  will need different music. Distinctive styles of music require something   unique from the  musicians and we try to cater to that.  


So the original band...

Jan: The original 'Erpfenrass' consists out of a six-musician lineup.  Most shows are played with this lineup. But here in India we travelled with a  four-man lineup and traditional old German instruments. This  was to fit the travel needs and play in the streets as well.
Favourite performance venue so far?

Alexander: We played  at a professional firefighter's wedding. Lars loved his job and so we played on top of a rolling firefighter truck at the  local fire department. Apart from that, we loved playing at the 'Woodstock of brass music' in Austria,  in front of 40,000 people. That  was a one-of-a-kind experience as well.  

Thoughts about India music?

Christian: Indian music represents the spirit of the people here. What we heard so far  was done with passion and perfection.  


Have you heard the works of any Indian artiste?

Andreas: We have heard the songs of Ravi Shankar and loved it. And of course, 'Best Kept Secret', the band we played with at Shangri-La.  


What do the band members do in their spare time?

Sebastian: What we really do is preparing for the shows.  Sometimes we just like to relax and get some rest whilst drinking beer.  Sometimes we look at old buildings,  chill at the pool,  visit museums, read books and so on.


Any  mishaps on stage?

Alexander: During a concert four years ago, a cable broke and the guitar stopped working. Hence, Andi had to switch from guitar to quetsche really fast and play the songs in another key with another instrument. The audience loved it though. Since then, we always double-check our cables before starting.


How do you handle goof ups?

Andreas: I think every musician will have many such stories to tell. We took all those lessons seriously and learned from mistakes on stage - whilst performing spontaneously so the audience doesn't recognize it.


What do you like the most about India?

Jan: We love the culture and the people here. As far as our tight schedule allowed, we went  outside. We visited a lot of places and talked to some nice people. Lal Bagh was  amazing and so was the food. We are definitely coming  back.

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