The Hot 8 Brass Band
"Hot 8 music is feel good music... music with a message. It's life music." - Band leader, Bennie Pete
New Orleans' Hot 8 Brass Band (nominated for a Grammy for their album
'The Life & Times Of... The Hot 8 Brass Band') was founded in 1995 by
tuba player Bennie Pete, Jerome 'Bay Bay' Jones (trombone) and Harry
'Swamp Thang' Cook (bass drum) to play brass band music professionally.
Although many of the members began playing together in high school, over time the line-up has naturally shifted and changed. But any incarnation of Hot 8 Brass Band will boast eight or nine players of the highest rate, bringing passion and noise through a bevy of trombones, saxophones, trumpets, snare and bass drums, all buoyed up by the immense tuba basslines of band leader Bennie Pete. These musicians have been inspired by artists such as Tuba Fats, Leroy Jones, Louis Armstrong, JJ Johnson, Stevie Wonder and Jackie McLean, and have variously recorded and performed with some of those mentioned and more. They also cite each other as influences.
Robert Luis and Paul Jonas of Tru Thoughts first heard Hot 8 Brass Band when Quantic (having got his hands on a rare copy) played their cover of 'Sexual Healing' in a New York DJ set. Witnessing the unprecedented round of applause that sprang up, they knew this band had something special, and they had a scout around for more of Hot 8's music. The band had previously been signed to Louisiana Red Hot, which had been, along with so much else in New Orleans, all but wiped out by Hurricane Katrina, and much of their material had been taken with it.
Tru Thoughts signed Hot 8, and released 'Sexual Healing' as a limited
edition single in 2007. All 500 copies were snapped up immediately,
making it the fastest-selling single in the label's history. It was
given a wider release, and the acclaimed album 'Rock with the Hot 8'
followed shortly after. With its elegant jumble of jazz and soul,
boisterous brass band music and unmistakable hip hop attitude, this
music could only have come from New Orleans. The band's first UK live
dates came in 2008, with a sell-out tour which won an army of new fans.
The second single, 'What's My Name? (Rock With The Hot 8)' - a Snoop Dogg cover - was a huge crowd-pleaser.
Hot 8 believe in contributing to their culture by playing in traditional Second Line parades, expressions of freedom and community through music and interaction. They have earned a reputation on the streets, with seemingly boundless work ethic and energy, and have been known to pack in nine shows in a single day. Having survived one of the worst natural and political disasters the USA has ever known - Hurricane Katrina - Hot 8 have thrown themselves into relief and awareness projects to aid their community's redevelopment and recovery. They were a key band in "SAVE OUR BRASS!" a local grass roots project that brought music to evacuee shelters and temporary trailer parks; and reached out to displaced New Orleanais via "Finding Our Folk". As well as the devastation of Katrina the Hot 8 Brass Band have faced more than their share of adversity. Four band members have died (two of them lost to violent acts on the streets) and the band are now active in the anti-violence campaign group 'Silence is Violence,' founded after the 2006 murder of Hot 8 member Dinerral Shavers.
Following their first album, the band's profile rose to such a level
they were invited to support the likes of Mos Def, Lauryn Hill and Mary
J Blige, and they played several international tours taking in
Glastonbury, the Big Chill (where they were chosen as the highlight by
the UK's Observer newspaper), Roskilde and London's Scala among others.
Highly respected among fellow musicians, they guested on albums by the Blind Boys of Alabama and Basement Jaxx. The band and their story were also featured in Spike Lee's documentary 'When the Levees Broke', and the follow-up 'The Creek Don't Rise'; and HBO's hit television series 'Treme'.
November 2012 saw the long awaited second LP, 'The Life & Times Of... ', itself the first in a two album set designed to showcase the two sides to the band. Preceded by a double A-side featuring 'Ghost Town', a poignant and rambunctious cover of The Specials classic, and original storytelling cut 'Let Me Do My Thing', the album showcased the band's party side and gained four and five star reviews and worldwide radio support. The next instalment followed in Spring 2013 in the shape of 'Tombstone'; still with the emphatic Hot 8 groove, but lyrically and thematically more reflective, it is an emotional tribute to fallen band members and the funeral parades which centre on this music. "These records celebrate the times we have had both before and after the storm. Burying our dead and letting their spirits soar, celebrating our city and the lives that our band mates have lived individually and collectively as Hot 8," explains Bennie Pete.
This brace of LPs came to life with 2013 festival sets including Fuji Rock, and major tours of the US, UK and Europe. True to Hot 8's universal appeal, they found themselves in great demand wherever they went, with sessions and interviews for diverse media including Guardian Music, The Wall Street Journal, Cerys Matthews, Craig Charles (BBC 6Music), BBC 1Xtra Breakfast, BBC World Service, and The Sunday Times.
A magnificent year was capped by a Grammy nomination for 'The Life & Times Of... '; early 2014 saw Hot 8 playing celebratory shows and attending the LA ceremony, where they were narrowly pipped to the award but honoured to be recognised for this landmark LP and its contribution to the heritage and culture of New Orleans.
Their return in 2015 with the phenomenal third LP, 'Vicennial - 20 Years of the Hot 8 Brass Band' was highly anticipated; fronted by a funky double A-side single featuring the Second Line and street parade favourite 'Papa Was A Rolling Stone' and a buoyant version of the gospel track 'We Shall Walk Through The Streets Of The City'. It toasted their 20th Anniversary, exemplifying Hot 8's ability to honour their city's musical traditions while forging their own powerful legacy. The year also brought a mini-documentary - 'Hot 8 Brass Band: 20 Years In The Making' - which tells the story of this indefatigable musical and cultural force at a pivotal point in their evolution, as well as a new video for Hot 8's world-renowned version of 'Sexual Healing', which has gained over 2 million YouTube hits.
In spring 2017, their most recent LP 'On The Spot' was released just in time to satisfy fans ahead of their busiest year of touring to date. Set in motion by the double A-side single 'Working Together' / 'Keepin' It Funky', the record had its roots firmly in live performance, and in true Hot 8 style paired hard-hitting, heart-on-sleeve sentiment with party-fuelling beats, hooks and grooves which were met with adoration by all that listened, watched and felt the vibrations of their charismatic MC-ing and phenomenal beat-heavy brass.
Since their release these two glorious LP's have procured an international following including notable press and praise from; The Observer, Songlines, Billboard and The Independent; radio sessions for BBC 6Music Morning Show, BBC Radio 4's Loose Ends, Jazz FM, BBC Radio Scotland and BBC R3 adding to in-depth interviews with Mary Anne Hobbs (6Music) and BBC World Service's Outlook programme.
Touring consistently between albums, Hot 8 Brass Band have sold out headlines and played major festivals including BST Hyde Park (supporting Mumford & Sons), North Sea Jazz, Secret Garden Party and WOMAD. At Madness' House Of Common event, they delighted thousands of revellers with a New Orleans-style parade around London's Clapham Common (led by Craig Charles, a big fan). Packed full of milestone events, their busy schedule also included a roof-raising sell out show at London's Roundhouse, invitation to perform at the Brighton Festival curated by Kate Tempest, and an unforgettable set opening Glastonbury Festival's West Holts stage which drew one of the biggest crowds of its time.
One of the funkiest groups from the New Orleans scene, Hot 8 Brass Band continue to win over audiences and deliver on every release with their old school street brass approach, fusing it with some harder, funkier currents in the process.
22 Jan, 2020
BBC Radio 6 Music Festival
The BBC Radio 6 Music Festival takes place at various venues in Camden from 6th-8th March, and features Primary Talent International artists:
...Mike Skinner (DJ)
...The Hot 8 Brass Band
16 Oct, 2019
The Hot 8 Brass Band: The 'Mardi Gras Tour'
The Hot 8 Brass Band bring their 'Mardi Gras Tour' to the UK & Europe during February & March 2020.
15 Apr, 2019
Truck Festival 2019
The Truck Festival takes place at Hill Farm, Oxfordshire from 26th-28th July and features a whole host of Primary Talent International artists, including the headliners.
...Two Door Cinema Club
...You Me At Six
...The Hot 8 Brass Band
...The Japanese House
...Gaffa Tape Sandy
26 Mar, 2019
The Hot 8 Brass Band: George Ezra European Tour
The Hot 8 Brass Band will be the special guests of George Ezra on his European tour throughout May.
22 Feb, 2019
George Ezra ft. The Hot 8 Brass Band: 'Shotgun' (Live at the BRIT Awards)
The Hot 8 Brass Band joined George Ezra onstage at the Brit Awards this week, to perform 'Shotgun'.
16 Jan, 2019
Hot 8 Brass Band: 'Take Cover' Australian Tour
The Hot 8 Brass Band have announced details of their 'Take Cover' Australian tour.
Tickets available from the link below.
07 Jan, 2019
Hot 8 Brass Band: Jools Holland's Hootenanny
The Hot 8 Brass Band were featured on Jools Holland's 'Hootenanny' to welcome in 2019.
30 Oct, 2018
Hot 8 Brass Band: European Tour 2019
The Hot 8 Brass Band will tour the UK & Europe, during January / February 2019.
See their artist page for full details.