With celebrity fans including Chris Evans and Frank Skinner (the latter described them as ‘f*cking brilliant’), it’s little wonder that we’ve snapped them up for the TNT Travel Show on March 1.
We were curious to get a glimpse of life in an oompah band, so we sat down with Oompah Brass founder Nathan Gash to get some insider gossip…
Where’s the weirdest place you’ve played?
We’ve done gigs all over the world, so we’ve played in some odd places – on top of a building on a street in Mayrhofen, Austria to the docklands in Bermuda, but I think the weirdest thing we’ve done was a late night street performance at the Edinburgh Fringe festival where we had to dress up as robots – except our costumes were in fact cardboard boxes covered with tin foil. The show itself was terrible and halfway though the police stopped us because we were making too much noise!
What the oddest audience reaction?
Audience reaction is always positive – pop classics in a Bavarian style played on brass instruments by men wearing leather – what’s not to like about that? We’ve only been booed once, and that was because I decided to make the band play the theme tune to Jim’ll Fix It – turns out it was a bit too soon. We haven’t played it since!
If you blow too hard, does it make you fart?
No. The diet of our trombone player does that.
What songs do audiences tend to go mad for?
It can vary depending on the age of the audience, but you can’t go wrong with a mixture of Michael Jackson, Queen, Bonnie Tyler and Led Zepplin. Bohemian Rhapsody will always be the greatest pop tune of all time. I don’t think One Direction pose too much of a threat there.
What’s the strangest request that you’ve ever had?
Justin Bieber. After an hour of playing pop classics. I think I jokingly asked the bouncer to throw the chap that asked for it out of the bar. When I explained why, I think the bouncer was quite keen to do so! Our horn player, Sam, has been asked if it’s possible to play upside down which was a very strange question, but because it was asked by a child, we dutifully picked him up, turned him on his head and presented him with his instrument. Turns out it is possible but not for very long!
When you get together at parties, do people always ask you to play?
We do – I try to keep my tuba hidden to avoid such issues but we did give a quick five-minute impromptu performance in a curry house in Leeds as our waiter was so intrigued by what we do. When I went on an orchestral tour of China, the security in an airport were utterly bemused by my tuba (I think they were concerned it was a weapon of some sort) so I had to play to them, and a few thousand other people trying to pass through security, to demonstrate I wasn’t a threat! Very surreal.
Do you have anything special up your sleeve for the Travel Show?
I think our mix of high-octane pop tunes will will make this fantastic event into even more of a party – we’re really looking forward to it and hope everyone that hears us sings along – everyone knows the words to Take On Me, right?
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