By Vanessa Tam
VANCOUVER – Deep under the surface of New York City lies an underground network of tunnels known as the New York Subway system. Embedded within those tunnels is a specific type of energy that can be found in every single person that has ever busked on one of those platforms.
“The sound that we created in the subway was very important because it had a natural reverb,” explains Leo, baritone saxophone and one of the founding members in the New York based band Too Many Zooz. “The way the bass drum rang out through the hallways was a big part of our sound.”
In partnership with Matt Doe on trumpet and David “King of Sludge” Parks on drums, Too Many Zooz originally formed as a busking trio in 2014 coining their one of a kind sound inspired by elements of EDM, house, Cuban and Caribbean music as “brass house.” Gaining the majority of their fanbase when a video of one of their high energy performances went viral online, the band continues to remain humble and contribute all of their success thus far to their roots in the subway.
“We still play in the subway occasionally,” adds Leo. “One reason [why we still do it] is [because] it still pays. We can play our new material, sell CDs and promote our shows all at once. The more important reason though, is that it gives us the ability to rehearse in front of people without having to go through all the annoying parts of playing a show. No promotion, sound check and very little travel time. We rehearse in a rehearsal studio too, but nothing compares to playing for [actual] people.”
Currently working to finish up two EPs at the moment, the trio continues to open themselves up to the seemingly endless instrumental possibilities within their self-defined genre. “Brass house doesn’t [always] need to be bari sax, trumpet and drums; it also doesn’t need to be three instruments,” Leo goes on to explain. “[For example, on] our album Subway Gawdz I play clarinet, bass clarinet and tenor sax, Matt plays some piano and Sludge does some narrating. It’s kind of complex to explain, but [brass house] is kind of like the genre jazz; there are big bands and small combos, etcetera. [As] the first in our genre, we are basically the piano trio of brass house. Yes it is sort of restricting to only have three instruments, but we haven’t maximized our full potential yet. Once we do that, it will be even more crazy awesome.”
Too Many Zooz performs at the Biltmore Cabaret May 19th.Brass House, David Parks, King of Sludge, Matt Doe, New York, New York City, New York Subway, Too Many Zooz