This Valentine’s Day, the seven brothers that make up Hypnotic Brass Ensemble are playing for one night in James K. Polk Theater. Sons of the late jazz legend Phil Cohran, they were instilled with a passion for music and strong work ethic from an early age. Their song “War” was featured in the blockbuster hit movie, “The Hunger Games” and they have played everywhere from Europe to Australia. We sat down with the seven brothers to discuss what audiences can expect when they come to see the show this Valentine’s Day.
Q: What was it like growing up in such a music-centered family?
HBE: Growing up in a house with 13 children is a bigger question. But being raised around music set a tone for our thinking. We became astute in all forms of art which always gave us an edge amongst our peers.
Q: Did your Father’s profession influence you to pursue a musical career? Was there ever a time when you didn’t want to follow your Father’s footsteps?
HBE: Our father’s success as a musician on a broad and popular platform came before we were born. His influence on our professional career came by way of mentor, teacher, originator, and inspiration. When we decided to write, record and perform professionally, we definitely used his experience as guidance.
Q: How did growing up in Chicago influence your sound and music?
HBE: Our music reflects and embodies our entire life’s journey. From the spiritual, creative, and traditional to the painful, reflective, confrontational aspects our environment engulfs daily. Then mix that with having a great time onstage watching people light up to our original music.
Q: Who were your greatest musical influences growing up?
HBE: Overall, each one of us were heavily influenced by 90’s hip hop. We had varied taste in music and definitely learned to appreciate a good artist. But if it was hot in the 90’s, hard core and official we gravitated towards it as kids.
Q: How do you choose titles for your music? Each composition name feels surprising and unique.
HBE: With each song thats created as a collective it’s called “new song” until we agree on a name. Sometimes it comes easily and other times we may friendly fight over a name. But we always wanna invoke thought with our titles.
Q: What is your favorite thing about performing live?
HBE: My (Hudah) favorite thing about performing live is the initial reaction to people hearing new music for the first time and going crazy for it. To hear people say this is the best, or one of the best concerts ever is always motivational.
Q: While in town you are playing shows for students here in middle Tennessee. Is it important to expose children to the arts? Why?
HBE: We as artists definitely feel the need for arts for youth. It opens and fires up our creative energy which could lead to anything. The person who created the light bulb was tapping into both their scientific and artistic side. Creating something so magnificent, is essential to our daily operations.
Q: What is one thing you want audiences to take away from your show?
HBE: We expect the audience to take away inspiration. Because that’s what music does; it inspires.
Q: Have you ever been to Nashville before? Is there anything you’re looking forward to doing while in town?
We performed years ago for a FedEx event. And we also performed with Gorillaz at Bonnaroo Music Festival a few years ago. Since there is a huge music scene in Nashville we’d definitely like to get out and check out the local live music. If we ate meat, I’ve heard that there is terrific BBQ there. But we’ll figure something out. Just looking forward to chartering new territory.
If You Go:
Hypnotic Brass Ensemble
February 14, 2018