NYC’s premier brass funk band LUCKY CHOPS released their self-titled studio album on September 27th, produced by Nic Hard (Snarky Puppy). The dynamic, horn-based collective, known for their infectious live performances, first gained viral fame and millions of engaged views, busking in the subways, amassing more than 1.5 million subscribers across social media.
Lucky Chops’ new album showcases the band’s high energy, genre-fusing signature sound, introducing modern production techniques and catchy sing-along hooks to best pair with their epic live performances.
Check out their latest video for “Traveler” here-
Lucky Chops first broke out after a 2014 video of their subway performance mash-up of Lipps Inc.’s “Funkytown” and James Brown’s “I Feel Good” went viral. The group built a global audience, which led to recording and touring in more than twenty five countries, across several continents. Check out the video here.
The quintessential NYC band first connected at Manhattan’s famed Fiorello H. LaGuardia High school and officially formed in 2006, on a mission to share the inspirational and healing power of music. The band is also dedicated to supporting music education and regularly perform at clinics and educational outreaches to help train and inspire the next generation of musicians. New album Lucky Chops follows the band’s 2018 EP Virtue and Vice Sessions, Vol. 1.
Upcoming Tour Dates:
11/01 – Bierhübeli, Bern, Switzerland
11/02 – Jazznojazz, Zürich, Switzerland
11/05 – Sala But, Madrid, Spain
11/06 – Razzmatazz, Barcelona, Spain
11/07 – Le Tube – Les Bourdaines, Seignosse, France
11/08 – New Morning, Paris, France
11/09 – Technikum, Munchen, Germany
11/11 – Im Wizemann, Stuttgart, Germany
11/12 – the Roma, Antwerpen, Belgium
11/13 – Gloria-Theater – Köln, Germany
11/14 – Melkweg, Amsterdam, Netherlands
11/16 – Poppodium Metropool, Hengelo, Netherlands
11/17 – O13, Tilburg, Netherlands
11/19 – Fiddlers Club, Bristol, United Kingdom
11/20 – O2 Academy Islington, London, United Kingdom
11/21 – Manchester Academy, Manchester, United Kingdom
11/22 – Button Factory, Dublin, Ireland
11/23 – Cyprus Avenue, Cork, Ireland
12/5 – Denver, CO (Bluebird Theater)
12/6 – Ft. Collins, CO (Washington’s)
Spring Tour Dates (2020)
2/6 – San Francisco, CA (The Independent)
2/7 – Los Angeles, CA (Teragram Ballroom)
2/8 – San Diego, CA (Casbah)
2/13 – Seattle, WA (Neumos)
2/14 – Portland, OR (Wonder Ballroom)
2/15 – Vancouver, BC (Rickshaw)
3/3 – Montreal Quebec Canada (Le Belmont)
3/4 – Toronto Ontario Canada (Lee’s Place)
3/5 – Detroit, MI (El Club)
3/6 – Chicago, IL (Lincoln Hall)
3/7 – Minneapolis, MN (7th Street Entry)
3/8 – Milwaukee, WI (The Back Room at Colectivo)
3/17 – Athens, OH (University Of Ohio)
3/18 – Cincinnati, OH (Ballroom At The Taft)
3/19 – Cleveland, OH (Beachland Ballroom)
3/20 – Pittsburgh, PA (The Rex Theater)
3/21 – Richmond, VA (The Broadberry)
3/27 – Brooklyn, NY (Brooklyn Bowl)
3/28 – Brooklyn, NY (Brooklyn Bowl)
4/1 – Pawling, NY (Daryl’s House Club)
4/2 – Hamden, CT (Space Ballroom)
4/3 – Boston, MA (ONCE Ballroom)
4/4 – Syracuse, NY (Syracuse University)
4/10 – Philadelphia, PA (The Foundry)
4/11 – Washington, DC (Union Stage)
Learn more about Lucky Chops in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! Now that we are well into the 10th month of the year, how would you say that 2019 has treated this band? What have been some goals this group has had this year? How close are you to reaching them? What are you already excited about for 2020?
Thanks for the interview! 2019 has been pretty epic thus far. We released our first ever full length album of original compositions and we’ve gotten to tour across India, Indonesia and Europe. One of our goals this year was to use our large social media presence to draw attention to and unite different brass band cultures from around the world. We’re filming a YouTube series entitled Brassworld where we’ll be showcasing these unique musical traditions – coming soon! 2020 will see the release of our next album and we’ll be delving deeper into YouTube content creation as well. Very exciting : )
Can you recall the moment when you thought you could be in this group together? Was it hard to think of a name that you could all agree on?
We originally started the band in high school 13 years ago. It was a lowkey project just for our own amusement and we would play in the parks, parades and streets of NYC. The name was the result of a completely random word association brainstorming session by our original trumpet player, Daniel Rutkowski. It wasn’t until years later, whilst in college, that we decided to take a leap of faith and become a full time career brass band (every parent’s dream come true). We’re actually extremely grateful to have parents who encourage us to be musicians, thank you mom and dad!
How do you think your hometown has influenced the sound and how you all carry yourselves in this group? How has the music scene there changed over the years?
Growing up in NYC exposes one to a never ending kaleidoscope of different cultures from a very early age. This intense exposure to different cultures has made me view the world as one big canvas, filled with different beautiful colors to learn about and paint with. We look at music the same way, sounds from all over the world filled our ears growing up in NYC and now our music is a genreless fusion of all the musical flavors we love. Music seems to be not quite as exciting in NYC these days unfortunately, it’s a very strange recent phenomenon. It could be due to NYC’s ever increasing rent prices, forcing musicians to take whatever high paying corporate gig they can find and not leaving much time for creative artistic vision projects. Hopefully this trend changes soon – NYC is in need of some revolutionary artistic excitement!
Let’s talk about your newest and just released self-titled debut album. What was it like putting this collection together? Did anything surprise you about the overall process?
In the past we’ve just walked into studios and recorded our songs all together with no editing or production work. For this album we wanted to take our time and craft the musical visions in our head using post production techniques and technology. The result is a completely different sounding record from anything we’ve done in the past. We wanted to use the tools of the recording studio to create organic sounding music, stemming from a somewhat inorganic approach. Our producer Nic Hard (from three-time Grammy winning act Snarky Puppy) really challenged us to think outside the box and achieve our grandest musical visions. It was an amazing experience and we’re very pleased with the results!
How did you celebrate the release of this collection last month?
We wanted to go back to our roots so we did an album release show in the Times Square subway station! It was super fun to return to our old stomping grounds, the connection with the audience while playing in the subway is unlike anything else, spontaneous and magical.
Can you talk about the inspiration behind some of your favorite songs on this album?
The songwriting duties were split up between different members of the band, so the songs are all very personal in that regard. We like our music to evoke images, scenes and emotions for the listener. Since our music is all instrumental, we depend on this imagery to drive home the power of each song. We also like to leave the meanings and inspirations very open ended, so each listener can have their own very unique listening experience, conjuring up colors specific to that person.
Generally, how does this group go about writing your music? Do you write together or separately? What is the first step in your music-making process?
In the past we’ve tried all sorts of songwriting methods: full band input, a couple of band members teaming up, spontaneous jam based composing etc. For this album though we all wrote the songs individually. I like this approach as it leads to more variety in the song styles and moods, since they are all reflections of different band members.
I always like to ask bands if you all hang out socially apart from the music? In other words, when you aren’t working on music, do you guys enjoy hanging out for fun?
It’s hard to answer that since we see each other most days out of the week while we’re home and every day while on tour. That doesn’t really leave much time to not be seeing each other!
How do you feel that this band has grown through the years? What has remained the same?
We’ve definitely grown from a group of classmates just messing around after school into a full time career band. That was a shift that many original members were not expecting or planning on so over the years as our career has grown, we’ve seen many band members who had other career plans for their lives come and go. In many ways that has been a blessing since it’s allowed for the entity and identity of our music to become solidified and bigger than us as individuals. It’s very humbling to be a part of a group where the mission is bigger than ourselves.
Where do you think you are all happiest- in the studio recording new music, on stage performing or elsewhere?
Hmm that answer will vary based on the band member you ask! I think it’s healthy to have a variety of passions and personalities in a group. Some of us prefer being on stage and on the road, others prefer the world of the studio. It’s great to have both types of personalities represented in our music.
What do you think makes for an ideal show for this band? What have been some of your favorite shows and venues lately?
A combination of excitement, love, attentive listening and exuberant dancing! Our shows are truly surreal, sweat turning into steam around the room and energy levels through the roof – we are so grateful to our fans for being absolutely incredible audience members! On this tour we’ve had particularly memorable shows in Oslo, Copenhagen, Berlin and Hamburg. Our clothes are still trying to dry out days after these shows!
How has social media impacted this band? How often are you all on your different sites interacting with fans? How have you been able to utilize it through the years?
Social media is an independent artist’s greatest tool in this day and age. Growing our social media presence organically through the use of video posting has allowed us to develop a worldwide fan-base and has led to our global touring career. Artists have all the tools of a record label, management service, and PR crew for free at their keyboards. It’s an amazing resource and we’re very grateful that social media has allowed us to live our dreams while maintaining our full independence and freedom as artists.
We are currently living through a very trying and politically charged time right now so I am curious to know how you all think being musicians and in this band still gives you the most joy in life today? Do you find that your music is an escape to all the current events?
We all believe that music can provide healing to hatred and division, we aim to make our music a conduit for that healing power.
What musicians have really been inspiring you all since you first started making music?
We all have very different musical influences and backgrounds, which we all like to draw from in various ways. Some influential artists for various band members may include: Eric Dolphy, The Beatles, Joao Gilberto, Elton John, German techno DJs, Omar Suleiman, John Coltrane, Jim Croce among countless other artists of all genres.
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?
We hope people listen to our music and experience the power and joy instrumental music has to offer. We aim to inspire the next generation to discover the fulfillment of playing an instrument at a time where music programs in school are getting less and less attention. Thanks for the interview!