Big Mean Press Photo 2014 Taken before the SOLD OUT Contraband Release Party Ithaca, NY
(left to Right: Dana Billings, Lucas Ashby, Kyle Oestreich, Remy Kunstler, Bobby Spellman, Alicia Aubin, Angelo Peters, Andrew Klein, Ray McNamara, Jamie Yaman, Bryan Davis, Dan Barker)
Big Mean Sound Machine formed in 2009 in Ithaca, New York with one goal: to create music that stimulates both Body AND Mind. Today, BMSM’s collective of over 15 analog artists spread out over the East Coast United States bring together musical languages of West Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and North America to create a lush bed of rhythm and harmony that embraces even the most hardcore fans of both Traditional Funk and Avant-Garde Jazz – and everyone in between! Anyone who has witnessed Big Mean Sound Machine live knows that their performances are among the heaviest and the sweatiest. Those familiar with BMSM studio releases also knows that they can refine the complex sonic force of over a dozen individuals with style and clarity. The Big Mean Sound Machine maintains a busy performance schedule, captivating cities all over the United States. For those like us who are tired of the status quo, there is good news: THE BIG MEAN SOUND MACHINE HAS OFFICIALLY ARRIVED.
With the release of their 3rd full-length studio effort, “CONTRABAND,” Big Mean Sound Machine adds more critical acclaim to that garnered from the release of “Marauders” (2012) and “Ouroboros” (2011). Recorded live in two sessions in 19th Century churches - including Grammy Winning studio Electric Wilburland, which also served as the setting for Big Mean’s 2012 DVD, “Dr. Iguana: Live in the Studio” – Contraband pushes the band even further into uncharted territory. Working with outside engineers Matthew Sacuccimorano (Johnny Dowd, Jennie Lowe Sterns, Black Castle) and Grammy-winner Robert Hunter (Branford Marsalis, Raven) also provided a unique dynamic. Hunter’s mastery over analog technology, specifically the 1970’s-era Triton console (originally built for Elvis Costello, and frequently used by legendary Zydeco outfit Donna The Buffalo) and the 2” reel-to-reel tape machine it feeds, brings a whole new human dimension to the sound- especially on vinyl.
In addition to studio efforts released under the name Big Mean Sound Machine, 2013 saw BMSM collaborating with Ghanaian vocalist Yao Foli “Cha Cha” Augustine, along with members of his reggae band Mosaic Foundation, under the name Cha Cha & The Ndor Band. The Ndor Band released the record “Food For Thought,” to raise funds for the Ndor EcoVillage, founded by Augustine in his home village in Ghana, which teaches permaculture and other sustainable farming practices to local farmers. In 2012, BMSM also released “Warrior,” with vocalist Jay Spaker a.k.a. J-San (John Brown’s Body, J-San & the Analogue Sons) under the name J-San & the Big Mean.
In 2015 Big Mean is embarking on the most extensive national touring in the history of the band, supporting our new album ‘Contraband’. With shows booked all over the United States and kicking off the new year with a Sold Out show in Ithaca, NY, expanding the Sound Machine family is on the immediate horizon. This summer we are scheduled to release a 45” vinyl single of Peace and Rhythm Records out of Boston. We are excited to see where the future brings us…. the grind continues…
The Band is:
Angelo Peters: Bass/Synths/Organs/Guitars/Percussion
Andrew Klein: Drums, Cymbals, Percussion, Effects
Dan Barker: Lead & Rhythm Guitars, Moog Synth, Effects
Ray McNamara: Lead and Rhythm Guitars
Dana Billings: Moog Synth, Organs, Percussion
Lucas Ashby: Congas, Percussion
Bobby Spellman: Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Melodica
Alicia Aubin: Trombone
Jamie Yaman: Baritone and Tenor Saxophone
Tyler Burchfield: Baritone Saxophone