Magnetic Ear is a New Orleans pocket brass band whose members include Martin Krusche (tenor sax), Michael Watson (trombone), Wes Andersonn IV (trombone), Dan Oestreicher (baritone sax), Jason Jurzak (sousaphone), and Paul Thibodeaux (drums). Rooted in the brass band tradition (in particular the New Orleans second line tradition), the band incorporates an eclectic host of musical influences in its dynamic, danceable sound. It has recently released its third CD, Aliens of Extraordinary Ability (see the Voice review here), and has embarked on a tour of the US and Europe.
Recently Martin Krusche?the band’s leader, tenor sax player, and composer? took the time to talk with Wanda Waterman about music writing software, eclectic musical edification, and a cat called ?Maus.? (See the first part of the interview here.)
I’ve written music all my life by hand, but I’ve been using music writing software since being with this band. Just copying out the charts eats up a lot of time. I couldn’t do this without Sibelius; It’s too much work. I’ve handwritten so much music in my life that I can really appreciate the difference.
Feeding the Creative Mind
I listen to everything. You can tell from listening to the record that there’s barely any genre that we have not been interested in in one way or the other. I listen to a lot of different stuff: I listen to Balkan brass bands, African brass bands, New Orleans brass bands . . . I listen to rock, pop, rap . . . I guess there’s very little music that I have no interest in. House music is pretty much the only music that doesn’t do anything for me. Everything else is interesting in some way.
I guess generally as an artist you want to keep yourself as open as possible and take your inspiration from as many diverse places as you can get it from. All of this listening might come out as an influence one way or the other? It’s always hard to tell about yourself. But ?exclude nothing? would be the motto.
Maus was the name of a cat of mine that I had for a very long time. She was born in my storefront apartment when I was living in Brooklyn, and she was with me for 12 years. I have a little sailboat on the lake That’s named after her.
The [song] describes a sail along the south shore here on Lake Pontchartrain. The poem is about this sailing trip, and Moose [poet Raymond ?Moose? Jackson] wrote a poem about it. So if you think of it that way, maybe the poem becomes more clear and accessible. But something that can’t be completely deciphered at first remains interesting; sometimes when you can’t catch a word, a poem remains mysterious to you and so keeps a certain attraction.
On the Horizon
We made a lot of headway last year locally because you almost have to reintroduce yourself to your audience if you change your sound somewhat.
If you listen to Live at Saturn Bar and our last record, you can clearly hear the difference between jazz band and brass band music. So we really needed to get out there and show our new stuff and get a larger audience and fan base, and we’ve managed to do that. We went up to Philadelphia and Baltimore in the middle of May and we would like to continue to tour nationally and hopefully again internationally and go to Europe next summer. We’ve been to Berlin and did a whole bunch of playing in Germany.
we’re trying to increase the time we’re on the road. In terms of music production this record is going to serve us well for the near future. we’re going to be touring off that record for a little while because It’s very dense and has a lot of music on it, and It’s going to be our general direction for quite a while.