An Interview with Riot Jazz member Sam Warner

Riot Jazz Band_-_sea_shot_2_3The raucous sounds of Riot Jazz comes to the Albany on Saturday 11 April, and in preparation for this twisted mix of funk, soul, hip hop and wild jazz we asked band member Sam Warner a few questions. Here’s what he had to say:

Who and what are your musical influences?

When Riot Jazz first began it came out of the brass band movement over in the states which was going in a new direction due to bands like Youngblood brass band and Hot 8 brass band. We took this sound and developed it based on the varied musical influences of people in the band. I would say now our influences range from different styles of electronic music such as drum n bass to funk, hip hop, balkan brass and afro beat. The list goes on and on as we’re always trying to incorporate new sounds within the brass band format.

Do you think the Manchester music scene varies from the London music scene? How so?

The Manchester music scene is much more compact but stills offers a diverse range of different genres. As long as you know where to look you can find most things the London scene offers. It really is an incredibly musical city with lots of great bands and musicians doing some amazing things. We’ve been playing at The Riot Jazz night regularly up there for the last 4 or 5 years. This is a night that strives to put on good live music and so we get to hear some great acts coming through.

What was your first experience as a musician?

My first experience of performing to a lot of people was when my school jazz group won our music for youth competition and we performed at the Royal Albert Hall during the proms. An experience I’ll never forget and one that really gave me the drive to become a trumpet player as a profession.

Who’s the messiest person on the tour bus?

We’re all pretty good to be honest although Nick (one of the trumpet players) does enjoy taking his shoes off at any given opportunity which can sometimes be quite pungent! We’ve all grown quite accustomed to each other due to sharing beds and spending a bit to much time together.

Who in the band has the weirdest musical background (any death metalists)?

Unfortunately no death metalists although that would be a great style to explore! A fair few of the guys come from classical or jazz backgrounds like myself. Our sousaphone player is actually an excellent jazz piano player! Steve our drummer has a masters in composition and writes regularly for orchestras (check out his other project Kaleidoscope Orchestra). One of the greatest assets of the band is the fact everyone has such varied musical tastes which I think really reflect itself in our music.

How did you all meet?

The band came together thanks to two doctors (Tom and Axel) who were studying at Manchester University and wanted to start a student night called Riot Jazz. Nick, one of our trumpet players was approached and asked to put together a brass band for the night and so The Riot Jazz Brass Band was formed! A lot of the band already knew each other from playing in the Manchester uni big band or other ensembles. We’ve lost and gained various players along the way but essentially the core of the band has stayed the same since the beginning.

To hear more from the Riot Jazz guys come along on Saturday 11 April, 7.30pm (doors) for a night of the funkiest brass you’ll ever hear – get your tickets here. Check out their song Corn on the Cob for a sneak preview:

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