Sunday, September 19, 2010


 Night of the Living Hipsters, or it's official title, the Saturday edition of Ferndale's DIY Streetfest, featured one of the tightest live shows this blog has seen in years. We were in the crowd for the 'Millions of Brazilians' performance and though several entertaining, and sometimes curious, acts played throughout the day, no band came within ten miles of the raw live energy exhibited by this extremely talented group of musicians. We don't throw the word electrifying around the DRB office often, but there is no disputing this group is a musical powerhouse. After the set, DRB spoke with Nicky Ciccheti, Chris “Zozzy” Gruse, and Augie Visocchi to discuss the band, expectations, and what Detroit means to them.

 Nicky Ciccheti: guitars, vocals.

  What does the recognition the band is receiving in the Detroit media mean to you ?

 It's fantastic. I think it has a lot to do with a bit of a love thing. I think there are a lot of bands that are a lot better than us that maybe should garner more (attention). But I am just going to go with it, you know. Were just trying to write the best songs we can and put on the best shows we can.

  What do you see as the long term potential for Millions of Brazilians ?

  I feel like I'm going to repeat a lot of 'Red Wing 'Quotes' here. (In his best Canadian accent) 'Oh you have to give 110%' and 'The Sky's the limit' I really think if we stick together and keep writing songs that we can do great things and hopefully do something positive for the city.

  Describe the energy the first time this group of guys got together to write songs and play music together.

  The very first time it was actually Derek (Dorey) and I, who's no longer in the band. Derek and I just had an idea, instead of creating a band based around songs or style, we tried creating a band around a sound. After a couple of years, we've refined that to where were comfortable with it. And, obviously it made enough of an impact from when we first got together for us to stick with it. I'm just glad it worked out.

  What does Detroit mean to you as an artist?

  Oh, man, that's a heavy question. Detroit is . . if good art, honest art, is going to come out of anywhere, where else would it be? After a town that has suffered so much? I've lived down there for only a few years now, but it doesn't take long, just takes a drive through it, to feel the pain and suffering people have went through there. And, if you cant take something away from that you don't have a heart.

  Chris 'Zozzy' Gruse: Drummer

  What does it mean to you to be playing in Ferndale tonight?

  Right now, I feel like we had a lot to prove. We've been trying to cut back on our shows in this area, not trying to overdo it, just playing the bigger shows. We wanted to prove tonight, that were still here and about to record this new album. This show meant everything to us to (say) 'this is the past', 'THIS is what we've been working on'. We only played one old song, everything else is brand new. We felt like we had a lot to prove to friends and fans that we haven't been slagging off, we've been hard at work.

  Is it difficult playing with an artist who is already an established name in the Detroit rock community ?

  Not at all. We've played with Augie, we played the release show, out of town shows. We've always been friends with them, they helped bring us up. Were still a relatively newer band. Augie's very proficient, he has a great ear, and he's a great musician. Working him in was like he'd always been in the band. It was easy. If anything it's only benefited us and will continue to benefit us.

  What is the element this group possesses that set you apart from other bands current in the Detroit music scene?

  I don't think anyone puts on a better live show than us. And, it's not just the live shows. The musicians in this band are all great players. So, it's the live show and the musicianship within the band. There's so many bands that we love like 'Zoos of Berlin' ( who are so fantastic. I look up those guys, but were comfortable playing with anybody and we'll be bringing it every single time we play, regardless of the situation. Every night we want to play the best show we possibly can and most nights we accomplish that.

  What does Detroit mean to you as an artist?

  There's so many great bands here, it's kind of troubling that they aren't getting the recognition they should, like Lightning Love, Zoos of Berlin, Jessica Hernandez & the Deltas. I think were at the precipice, where we're about to just kick the door down. Big things are about to happen. We've released one EP and were about to go in and do a full LP. We're gonna discuss hitting the road again with some bigger bands. We did a thirty six day tour with the Electric 6 and we've just been working on these new songs. I think there's a few bands here,  ready to blow shit up.

  What's your dream cover song to play with Millions of Brazilians?

  ELO's 'Telephone Line'

   Augie Visocchi: Guitars, vocals

  You've already built an established, successful band in Detroit. What's it like to also play with Millions of Brazilians?

  Its a blast. I've always played in bands, but for the last five years, The Hard Lessons have been on the road nonstop so it was impossible. I'd been playing guitar in Mood Elevator, but that's been few and far between. After the last record with The Hard Lessons, we came off the road for a little bit, still gigging a ton, but not being gone from home for two months at a time. I've been friends with the 'Millions' dudes and they opened a bunch of shows for The Hard Lessons. They had this opportunity to come up to play, I love their band, and it was a good fit. So I started playing with them about six months ago, and it's been awesome. We're really starting to gel, we're writing songs together, the shows keep getting better. I like being able to bring whatever I have from the Hard Lessons, and smash it into a band I already really dig.  And, hopefully bring over some of our fans as well. It's cool and it's a good fit.

  How is the creative process different with this group than with The Hard Lessons ?

  With the Hard Lessons, I wrote our first record in our dorm room. And, that was just the record. Later on I've been collaborating with Korin, my wife, who's in The Hard Lessons. But, for the most part it's not really a collaborative thing, it's sort of like, my wife will come up with an idea or I'll come up with an idea and we'll just kind of run with it. With 'Millions' we're sitting in a rehearsal space and we're kind of hashing it out. It's been great. The song we played tonight, Comet Catastrophe, Nick brought in three quarters of the way done. Zozzy and I just smashed out this bridge that I think Nick felt it needed but couldn't quite get to. That's a band right there, that's how it should work. We compliment each other. We fill in whatever voids that we have, whether it's in the moment or whether it's longer term.

  Who came up with the name?

  How do you come up with any band name? There's a lot of bands. Especially in the Internet age, there's fuckin' ten bands that just got started in Michigan, in Ferndale, since we started this conversation.

  Describe the feeling when you first received press as a musician?

  Oh dude, I was a kid. I was barely old enough to drink, going to college. Any time my band was even mentioned in the paper, I would flip out. And you don't want to lose that feeling, but eventually it just . . . I would cut out one word about my band when we first started, and now were not even saving full page (articles). Its like 'what's the point?' Once you get a room full of newspaper and magazine clippings, what are you going to do with them? Yeah, it was fun at the time, and you can't forget that initial feeling you had when you're playing in band, that excitement. Once you lose that, it becomes a job and what's the point? At the same time, it's not what's important, to have people say nice things about you in press. I mean you should do it! (Laughter)

  What does Detroit mean to you as an musician ?

  Freedom. Total abandon. You can do whatever you want. I guess abandon in more than one sense. It is abandoned in a lot of places. But, I mean 'reckless abandon'. Just kind of lose your mind and there's gonna be a group of people to support you, no matter what you do, and that's cool. Freedom. I want complete freedom in whatever I do. If I wanted somebody to tell me what to do, I can work at a gas station. You start a band to follow what you feel is rock and roll, what you feel is what you want do. And that's what this band is about.

  What do the next two years have in store for Millions of Brazilians?

  Lollapalooza? Reading? I never know. I been in this business of music long enough to know there's no sure bets. Were gonna keep writing great songs we feel really strongly about and keep putting on tighter and better live shows. Our fans can decide what they're gonna do with it. Like I said about the press we don't set out a five year plan. Who wants to hear someone say 'Were gonna be fucking selling out the palace!!'? Were happy being the underdog.

for DRB

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