Too Many Zooz, an American music group based in New York City, is ready to rock Majestic Tuesday evening. The three-piece band features sounds of the baritone saxophone, trumpet and drums. The talented musicians Leo Pellegrino, Matt “Doe” Muirhead and David “King of Sludge” Parks are each equipped with their own instrument and bring a unique talent to the group’s unforgettable energy and sound.
They immediately gained fame when a video of one of their subway performances was recorded by a passer-by at Union Square station and went viral on YouTube in March 2014. Their music is now popping up in commercials and spreading on social media. The group’s sound couldn’t quite be placed in an existing musical category, so they curated their own genre termed “brass house.”
Muirhead, trumpeter, took time to comment on some of his personal experiences with music and what it is like being in such an eclectic group. He stepped out of rehearsal with the band to give me some insight and talk a bit more about their upcoming tour.
While a Boston native, Muirhead noted New York City, in particular, has influenced him and his bandmates as they started creating music together.
“[New York City] is inherently a really special city … the best place on earth in so many ways …” Muirhead said.
Muirhead emphasized the importance that the city and its culture have on each of them. He discussed the idea of this “fight or flight mentality” that artists may have when they move to New York City. In the long run, all of them just want to make a name for themselves and inspire others.
Simply put, everyone is trying to do something grand and spectacular, but everyone is also doing their own thing.
“You’re either going to start working or start making money … or you’re going to become homeless,” Muirhead said.
In particular, the New York City Subway provided them with a diverse space to experiment with their music. With a new audience trickling in every 10 minutes, the applause and feedback the group received was almost always from a new set of ears.
This subway story is quite unique to Too Many Zooz, and I couldn’t resist from asking the burning question of where their band name came from. He was honest with me and said there is no true meaning to the odd title. But, he did get a little help from some friends of his who were coming up with names for their own band.
They all decided that they loved the name “Too Many Zooz” because it sounded different and didn’t really make much sense.
“We are also pretty bad at naming songs so it makes sense,” Muirhead said. “We added a ‘z’ and called it our own.”
With names aside, Muirhead explained what recording in the studio looks like for them being merely an instrumental band. He explained that over the years, they have created their own formula to use their different instrumentation to their advantage.
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While most bands and musicians follow a specific pattern in the studio, he emphasized that this process is mostly based on finding the best way that voices can be used.
“The record-making process is totally based in formula but also totally random,” Muirhead said.
Too Many Zooz is constantly fishing to find new ways to create a different sound from the base layer of trumpet saxophone and drums, but all love the beauty of having something great come out of being spontaneous.
Muirhead is a huge fan of improvisation, which the band loves to dabble with at shows, and loves the surprise aspect of doing his own thing.
“It is tastier,” Muirhead said. “It is a new musical flavor every time.”
The group heads out for another segment of tour this month. Muirhead expressed his love for touring across America due to the familiar nature of things. It is easy for the band to feel comfortable and to focus primarily on putting on good shows for their audiences.
The group will still feature many tracks from their latest project, Subway Godz, but also has countless unreleased songs that they are excited to experiment with. Looking ahead, they will work with their label to find the right single to release and have a lot of other new music planned for the future.
The Too Many Zooz show is sure to bring energy, funk and jazz to fans of every genre and are truly claiming their own style and sound putting on a different show at every stop. The Madison show is sure to feature Pellegrino’s characteristic dance moves.
Too Many Zooz plays Majestic Theater with Kainalu Tuesday, Feb. 12 at 8:30 pm. Tickets are $18.