My Son the Hurricane is a fourteen member hip-hop brass band from St. Catharines with a sound that will make you rethink live music. After touring with U.S.S. and D-Sisive they released an EP last month, Cashing a Dead Man’s Cheque, and will be partying with Canadian Winter in Hamilton on Friday at This Ain’t Hollywood. Check out all of the details on our events page.
I caught up with their drummer and co-creator Danno O’Shea on the phone while he was enjoying his lunch a la Frostie.
Q: Starting at the beginning, the story goes that My Son the Hurricane, was imagined by yourself and saxophonist Nelson Beattie who then recruited your dream-team of horn and rhythm players in 2010. What did your first vision of the band look like? No vision at the time. Most of our careers Nelson and mine are spent backing up other people. We just wanted to make something for ourselves, and so we called all of our favourite side-men and to our shock and awe, everyone said yes. We didn’t really have any plans. We wanted to play a show or two. We had no plans of recordings; no plans of touring. We got out there and within a short period of time we were getting such a cool response that we decided to pursue it a little more full time and this has grown into what it is now.
Q: The hip-hop-horn combo is one of our favourites at Cut From Steel, and we’re really excited to see that you’re fronted by a great MC, Jacob Bergsma. When you were collecting musicians, how he come into the fold? The idea was if there was going to be a front man, and we hadn’t even thought that far ahead, that we were going to need someone with a personality that’s going to shine through. And I would say that Jacob Bergsma is the Jack Russel Terrier of hip-hop. You now he’s hyperactive, he’s crazy: spouting 90’s trivia and howling a Pantera song at the same time. One of the reason’s I’ve loved his style from the start. Our band isn’t full of gangster guys, it’s band nerds so we wanted someone who was going to have fun with the style and play around with it a bit
Q: Often the lead singer or MC can overshadow the other musicians in a band. How do you maintain a balance? I don’t now that we do. I just think that by sheer size that doesn’t happen. At a Hurricane show, usually this is what I’ve noticed: the first two songs is everyone standing completely still gawking at the band, just taking it in; usually by the third song they have decided that they are going to dance their asses off and that’s how it goes from there.
That’s awesome and it makes me really excited for Friday Oh, it’s going to be a huge dance party, don’t you worry.
Q: Speaking of how huge your band is, what’s your process for writing originals? Are there a few people who do most of the grunt-work or do you do it as a team? Is it improv-based? How does that go? Hurricane is complete communism and I completely mean that. Nelson and I write all the music and do all the bookings and the tour plannings and tour managing. We create our music in sheet-music form and hand it to the guys. So it’s not like most bands. When we rehearse it’s not about coming up with ideas. Nelson and I have already poured over a case of Milwake and come up with all of the ideas. It’s more about getting all of the finishing touches, the dynamics and the little things, then getting some whoop-ass dance moves on top.
That’s not what I was expecting. That’s really interesting. I know. I could never go back. Just like jamming with three guys in a room, I would die.
It’s probably a lot more efficient with so many people And everyone gets a long better. You get too many ideas flowing around the air, it’s counter-productive.
Q: St. Catharines and Hamilton aren’t exactly considered to be the music capitals of North America (or at least not yet). How does being based out of St. Cat’s influence your music? To be honest, I know there doesn’t seem like there’s a lot of music coming out of here, but there is. I can walk around St. Cat’s… and know there’s music going on. St. Catherine’s is full of awesome bands. In Hamilton we’ve only worked with a handful of bands. We’re actually working with a singer-songwriter Sarah Beatty from Hamilton. We just put out a really dope album. She’s going to be doing a couple songs with us. Canadian Winter obviously (is a great band they’re playing with).
Even just for side-men. There are some really great side-men who have come out of our area. Just within a few blocks of my house there are fellows who have played on Conan, Letterman, things like that. And I’m fortunate. I get to play for some bigger names at work. Ya, I can understand we’re not Toronto. Toronto’s like the pretty girl. You know what I mean? Like at highschool, she doesn’t have to work for it. Just after a while you’re tired of the pretty girl. You want a girl with some substance with some meat on her bones. That’s Hamilton-Niagara.
Q: You mentioned that you’re going to collaborate with Sarah Beatty and I noticed online that you have some pretty stellar names going onto your EP including Ash Buchlotlz from U.S.S. And D-Sisive. Ya we’re pretty fortunate there. It’s just a series of people who we have performed with who we are just pretty into the sound. It’s mostly about friendship. We just know most of those guys. U.S.S. Has been awesome to us over the years. We’ve played lots of shows with them. D-Sisive actually contacted us about being his backing band for a while which we did. We played an awesome show with Salt’n’Peppa last year. And on one of our earlier tracks we got Nigel Williams from the Pocket Dwellers who was a huge influence for me. On another Hamilton note I can think of bands that we were talking about when we started Hurricane. One of them was a Hamilton band, Warsaw Pack, who is now defunct as I understand it. Them and the Pocket Dwellers were really bands that we looked up to.
Q: Is there anyone on your wish-list that you’d like to collaborate with next? Oh you know I could go on all day. And I’m talking about different genres too. If I could have my top-five I would have Michi Mee, I would have Liam Cormier from Cancer Bats I always loved his voice. There’s just so many and you know how as a person you go in and out of styles of music. There’s certain times when there’s some soul-singing chick I want to collab, and then the next day I’m listening to something really heaving and thinking it would be awesome to throw something like that onto one of our tracks.
It will be really interesting to hear what you come up with next.
Ya it’s all about meeting people. When we go on the road, we like to throw people on stage and sometimes see what happens.
So that’s it for the questions I have. Thanks so much for having your lunch with me. Friday will be a blast!
Ya it’s gonna be a big ‘ol dance party.