OUT NOW “Love Will Tear Us Apart” is the latest single from New Orleans’ Hot 8 Brass Band to follow the release of their compelling fifth album On The Spot, which dropped last year to high praise from the likes of The Observer and Songlines to Billboard and the Wall Street Journal. Coinciding with some new European tour dates, the Grammy-nominated group have put their iconic cover version skills to work on this Joy Division classic.
“We fell in love with this song a long time ago” the band explains, “it has a deep emotional meaning. Although we do listen to a lot of funk, jazz and rap, we listen to British music all the time here in New Orleans and love England’s punk scene.” Beyond the band’s affection for 1970s Britain, the parallels between the tragic stories of Ian Curtis, previous Hot 8 members and young creatives across the industry anchor the Hot 8’s attachment to “Love Will Tear Us Apart”; “love tears us apart as we see friends pass and go, but of course they’re still part of us and the love we feel collectively.”
Known for channelling the joy and feel good sensations of their music into transcending any differences, this release is no different. Though a personal choice for Hot 8 Brass Band, much of the arrangement came from the reactions of New Orleans crowds. “The more we play it and see people reacting, the more we add pieces to it,” they confess. “Sometimes we play it on the streets people dance on a particular spot in the song and we realise that’s what we want to emphasise to be able to give something back to the crowd. In America today it’s so important to bring people together.”
Having initially considered filming in New York, Berlin, London or Paris, the band continue to pay tribute to New Orleans in their video for “Love Will Tear Us Apart”; the perfect addition to their gift to a place where “if you visit and don’t fall in love there must be something wrong with y’all!” Wanting to portray the love and the loneliness experienced by Hot 8 Brass Band members and by the people of New Orleans, director Maria Zbaska creates a heart-warming tribute to a resilient city.
With the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, the separate deaths of five band members, and trumpeter Terrell “Burger” Batiste losing his legs in a car crash, these men have been tested by a barely imaginable series of trials. Their tragic yet life-affirming story has been featured in the Spike Lee documentaries When The Levees Broke and The Creek Don’t Rise, and David Simon’s HBO series Treme; 2016 interviews with Mary Anne Hobbs (6Music) and BBC World Service’s Outlook chimed especially intensely with listeners in the midst of the Black Lives Matter movement. Transcending genres and trends, Hot 8 have performed and collaborated with artists from Lauryn Hill and Alice Russell to Mos Def, The Roots and Blind Boys of Alabama, and featured in a hugely diverse spread of media. Honouring their city’s musical traditions while forging their own powerful legacy, their story continues with each new and exciting release.