TEM 52: Sam Pilafian of Boston Brass on the legacy of Prince, Developing your voice on stage and becoming an "overnight success" after 20 years of work (Part 2)
Here is Part 2 of my incredible conversation with Sam Pilafian of Boston Brass.
- Sam's thoughts on the passing of Prince and the hilarious story of when Empire Brass ran into him while waiting for an elevator
- How Prince was able to surround himself with the best musicians in the business
- How preparing to become the first brass quintet to ever win the Naumberg chamber competition helped to shape empire brass
- The importance of developing your voice (either as a group or an individual) on stage
- How winning the 1976 Naumberg Chamber Music Award led to a contract with Columbia Artist Management, which in turn led to some of the members quitting gigs like the Boston Symphony to go all in
- How good the powers that be at Columbia Artist Management were at "creating careers" and how they helped to steer the Empire Brass brand and sound
- The connection that's made with an audience when every member of a chamber group is individually developed and the audience gets to know them
- How some groups become "overnight successes" after 20 years of work
- How great a group plays live after they make a recording
- How valuable having string playing coaches was for the group
- How they modeled their sound after the Borodin Quartet
- How a banjo player he played with over a decade earlier in Your Father's Mustache led to him playing on Pink Floyd's The Wall
- How the Empire Brass Seminar at Tanglewood enabled them to network with the next generation of great brass players
- The importance of developing your own repertoire
- How Empire Brass became so popular in Japan
- How he has found himself in a number of "second careers" like developing The Breathing Gym and producing
- The brand new Boston Brass album, Reminiscing, which was inspired by the late, great Rolf Smedvig
- "If you work that hard, you can come up with (Pink Floyd's The Wall). That was good math. I needed to see that. No corner-cutting. No gifts. These guys did it uphill the whole freaking way until they were happy with it. And no settling."
- "We used to have a saying that 'every night's Yankees Stadium.' We'd be in Devils Lake, North Dakota having a big fight about how something should release after the concert. That was always a good sign to tell you the truth."
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