An amalgamation of heavy grooves, ambient dub and otherworldly sounds, Elephant Wrecking Ball transports listeners into familiar yet uncharted musical territories. A tight and disciplined drum and bass combo provide a ground shaking foundation on which an effect-laden trombone applies layers of ethereal mayhem, spinning audiences into a state of submission and head-nodding satisfaction. The word “unique” understates what awaits when you float into the aggressively nurturing, deliberately comic soundscape created by this Boston-born trio.
Elephant Wrecking Ball is the brainchild of Scott Flynn (Pretty Lights, John Brown’s Body) and his desire to make a monophonic, trombone-driven trio sound as big and dynamic as any other power trio. With powerhouse drum and bass duo Dan Africano (Zongo Junction) and Neal “Fro” Evans (Dopapod), Flynn found the perfect fit. A wide variety of influences, ranging from heavy metal, punk rock, avant garde jazz and dub reggae, were melded into the innovative sound that took shape over three years, during breaks in their primary projects’ busy touring schedules. The trio‘s third recording and first full-length studio release, Barren Serenade, came out on Ropeadope Records in the Summer of 2014. A grounded sense of discipline and integrity, coupled with exuberant and joyful exploration, experimentation, passion and expression permeates both the recordings and the live performances.
We sat down with the band prior to the show at Cosmo's on Saturday, December 13th!
Give us some background on Elephant Wrecking Ball…
Scott (trombone) had the idea of making a power trio featuring his trombone as the lead instrument, instead of a typical guitar or piano, and wrote songs that revolved around the sounds he was getting from playing his horn through guitar effects pedals. Dan (bass) and Neal (drums) were playing in a funk rock band called Cashed Fools and had already established a great rapport, so we all got together and started playing Scott's tunes. So that's how the band formed.
It's a little atypical to have a monophonic trio, that is: a band without a chordal instrument, so theres a lot of wiggle room for exploration with new sounds and spontaneous bursts that could suggest new harmony.
What can one expect at a live Elephant Wrecking Ball show?
Well, first there's the aspect of a trombonist playing on stage with noises that sometimes don't quite sound like a trombone coming from the speakers. So there's that. Additionally, there's a big range of dynamic within our shows. Some songs are pretty and serene and some songs are loud and boisterous. Mostly though, our songs are heavily rooted in groove music and are very danceable.
What prompted you to start a career in music?
We all started playing music at an early age and very early on realized that music would always be with us in life, no matter what. So it seemed logical to pursue a life with music being a strong focal point.
What is next for Elephant Wrecking Ball?
We've got some touring coming up next spring and a new record in the works. We've got a couple of friends who we'll be collaborating with, doing remixes for the next couple recordings we release, just like Barren Serenade, our 2014 album. We're also continuing to write and perform new material, cause that's what it's really all about.