‘Reinventing the brass band format for the 21st century’
‘One of the greatest live bands we have in this country’
BBC Radio 2
Hackney Colliery Band have had a simply phenomenal few years. From playing a 45 minute set at the Closing Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics and sets at the MOBO, Brit and Mercury Awards to live sessions on BBC Two, BBC Radio 2, Jazz FM (UK) and worldwide airplay from many more, from collaborations with the likes of Amy Winehouse and Jamie Cullum to selling out clubs across Europe and a tour schedule even taking in the Faroe Islands, these east London musicians haven’t stopped.
Part of the great appeal lies in their set list, which is as diverse as the London borough that gave them their name. With influences as much from the world of contemporary rock and electronica as from jazz and global brass, they stand out in a music landscape increasingly populated by brass bands. A New Orleans-style line up of trumpets, trombones, saxes, sousaphone and two drummers, and a name which pays homage to the British brass heritage demonstrate that Hackney Colliery Band are rooted in tradition, yet sound thoroughly modern.
‘HCB throws the knockout punch in a heavyweight bout of brass bands fighting for the title! 5/5’ KCRW / theLIFT, USA
Able to be both a powerful acoustic ensemble as they parade through the crowd at the beginning and end of their shows, they’re also up-to-the-minute contemporary when on stage, with carefully crafted washes of electronics and drum machines adding to the raw power of brass and drums
Delicate one minute, powerfully energetic the next and always concluding in a huge party, they have enormous appeal across the age and genre spectrum, as evidenced by their tour schedule, which goes from 1am rock festival and club party sets to mid afternoon main stage shows at Cheltenham Jazz Festival, Field Day or Love Supreme (sometimes in the same, exhausting weekend).
‘HCB are a great party band, but a more musically and emotionally complex beast lurks behind these crowd-pleasing fanfares of high- energy hedonism’ The Times
Combined with a relaxed stage presence and thoroughly British sense of humour which frontman Steve Pretty has developed through his solo work with many high-profile UK comedians, their live show is able to have extraordinarily broad appeal without dumbing down, presenting sometimes challenging music to a general audience with admirable dexterity.
Following the success of their 2013 album Common Decency and 2010’s eponymous debut album as well as a remix EP in 2014 featuring dancefloor-friendly cuts by the likes of The Reflex, they are set to release their highly-anticipated third album Sharpener on 22nd July 2016. While remaining tight-lipped about exactly what it might contain, HCB hint towards some truly unique sounds which they hope will transcend the listener’s notion of what a ‘brass band’ can sound like.