Ellis Ludwig-Leone, the brain behind Brooklyn band San Fermin, sat down with Richie T before their show at Salt Lake's Twilight Concert Series. He explains what San Fermin means, (how to pronounce it), and if Richie can join the band as the 9th member.
--- Classical Music Training ---
I was a music/composition student, classical music mostly…Most people in the band have the similar sort of thing going on...I think there’s a lot of different ways to write music and they’re all equally valid as long as you’re being honest. For us, there’s a lot of training, there’s a lot of intention in how we go about writing.
--- From One Man to Full Band ---
I wrote the record right when I graduated and then I took a while to record it. I just got my friends and random people to play on it. We got a record deal before ever really playing…We played one show with 15 people or something at Pianos, this tiny place in New York. Once we got that record deal suddenly it was like, “Oh, this has to become a band”…Allen and I, Allen’s the singer - the male singer, he and I have been best friends for years, since we were really young. Everyone else it was word of mouth or people maybe I went to college with or just, if you’re a musician in New York there’s a lot of through-the-grapevine sort of recommendations.
--- The Band Name ---
It’s the name of the running of the bulls festival. It’s the patron saint in Spain…I liked the idea of people putting themselves in danger for really no reason. It sort of feels like performing...["San Fermin"] was a lyric before it was a band name. So it was in the song “Torero” I think. Torero is Spanish for bullfighter as well. I was thinking about that and once I finished the record I was like, “Well, we gotta have a band name.”
--- Coordinating an 8-person Band ---
There are upsides and downsides for sure. I mean getting 8 people to Europe is a pretty costly endeavor. But when I wrote the record it was for like 20 something musicians, so I figured if you go any lower than 8, you’re starting to do a disservice to the music. Honestly, I chose the musicians as we were putting the band together such that I knew that they were good enough players that they could actually each do a number of things, in terms of the sax lines now sort of encompass sax and trombone and tuba. I’ve sort of smushed them all together into one player. It was an interesting compositional exercise to do that.