Soul Rebels' Julian Gosin talks about the band's eclectic influences
Latest News | June 29, 2015
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Source: nola Julian Gosin of The Soul Rebels. (Photo by Kathleen Flynn, NOLA.com l The Times-Picayune)
The Soul Rebels, the New Orleans brass band that dropped the "brass band" suffix from its name a few years ago, has – even in a generation of local brass bands that is in lots of ways defined by musical hybridity and genre eclecticism – made a name for itself as a go-to experimenter and collaborator, performing with acts likeMetallica and Eurythmics' Dave Stewart, and recording work like a cover of Daft Punk's "Get Lucky," with Big Freedia, which appeared alongside Kanye West and Nicki Minaj songs on the band's 2013 mixtape collection of popular rap covers "Power = Power."
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The relationship between New Orleans brass and hip-hop, in particular, is mutual and arguably beneficial; an ear to the streets or the charts, or both, keeps the sound of heritage vital and electric. Drummers Derrick Moss and Lumar LeBlanc, who co-founded the Soul Rebels in the early '90s, both marched in parade bands in high school and honed their traditionalist chops as members of the Young Olympia Brass Band. Moss, also, was a drum major for the famed Southern University marching band; in his online bio he notes he snagged the prestigious role "as a freshman!"
Earlier this year, the Soul Rebels played a three-night stand at New York City's Brooklyn Bowl, a blowout of matchups with hip-hop heavyweights including godfather Afrika Bambataa, Rakim, Pharoahe Monch, Black Thought and a tribute to the music of Marvin Gaye and D'Angelo in collaboration with special guest Roy Hargrove. This Friday (June 26), they return to New York to host the Rebel Jam, another revue (this time at the Blue Note) that will feature Rakim, Slick Rick, Mobb Deep's Prodigy and other guests.
The Soul Rebels also have played behind Joey Bada$$, the critically acclaimed indie rapper from Brooklyn, most recently at Brooklyn Bowl on a bill with Jean Grae and Prodigy in August 2014 that featured a powerful dedication to Michael Brown, the black teen who had just been killed in Ferguson, Mo., by a white police officer. As recently announced, the Soul Rebels and Joey Bada$$ will share the stage at the 2015 edition of New Orleans Voodoo Fest, the last weekend of October in City Park.
watch video here: http://bit.ly/1GokTYs
"The Soul Rebels have definitely been implementing hip-hop since they first started in 1991," said Julian Gosin, a newer addition to the Soul Rebels, while flipping through albums at Euclid Records in Bywater on a recent afternoon. Like Mystikal, who spent most of a recent promotional video for the Essence Festival at the shop's newer North Peters Street location, Peaches Records in Gentilly was Gosin's shopping spot as a kid.
"I bought a DJ Jubilee cassette there in the fourth grade. 'Get It Ready,'" he remembered. Nas's "Illmatic," released three years after the Soul Rebels formed, is his favorite, he said. The record store is out of copies of the 20th-anniversary reissue, from 2014.
Gosin, who plays trumpet, also played in marching band, for F.W. Gregory Junior High School, while studying as well at the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts. The shop is only a few blocks from NOCCA; in the jazz section, Gosin is greeted by one of his former teachers.
The marching influence is also strong, he said, pulling out an LP by Earth, Wind & Fire, whose songs are often arranged for big marching ensembles. Wynton Marsalis, he said, is "a guru. I listen to him and try to learn as much as I can, technically." He lingers as long over a Clark Terry LP as he does a 12-inch single by Master P.
The Soul Rebels bring tradition and innovation to New Orleans Voodoo Fest this coming Halloween weekend, in City Park. Watch Julian Gosin talk about his influences in the video above.