Premiere: Brunswick drops new video for “Fire Circle” filmed at Round Two on Broad st. – catch them at the VMFA for First Fridays

by | Oct 4, 2016

It might appear to be a normal business day at RVA’s Round Two with hip kids picking up kicks and jerseys, but it doesn’t take long for the kick drum to slide in followed by some of the smoothest horns you’ll hear this side of James River.

It might appear to be a normal business day at RVA’s Round Two with hip kids picking up kicks and jerseys, but it doesn’t take long for the kick drum to slide in followed by some of the smoothest horns you’ll hear this side of James River.

We’ve been on a John Hulley kick for a bit – as shown with my long form profile of the local jazz musician published last week.

Hulley might have spent the summer touring the US with Sufjan Stevens, but he was still hard at work crafting a full length album for his 13-piece band, Brunswick. And now, as a sample of what’s to come, he’s released a video for “Fire Circle” off a soon to be released but currently untitled LP:

“I hadn’t made some new music for Brunswick in a while and I was home trying to work some stuff out on the keyboard,” Hulley said about where the track came from. “It had a basic idea, but when I added a line, that swirling trombone, kind-of-thing (starts around :30), where the brass are passing the arpeggio around, I said ‘wow, now I got something.” And I figure this is something I could work with.”

Sure enough the track unfolds just over five minutes with an elegant but modern mix of jazz and indie stylings.

“It’s tough to describe,” he said. “It’s one foot in, one foot out of jazz – how could you not call 13 dudes playing together with all horns and no vocals ‘Jazz,’ but its about as far away as you can get and still call it jazz.”

The video was shot over three live takes by local photogs Craig Zirpolo and Joey Wharton, though the one seen is one solid live take. The audio was recorded by Zach Fichter.

Zirpolo said Hulley had approached him about the idea of shooting in Round Two and he loved it, but it was his responsibility to work out the logistics.

“We just had to figure out how to fit a 13 piece band, a 6-man camera crew and an engineer with a giant mixing board into that space,” he said. “Honestly, I wasn’t sure that we would physically all fit in there until it was all actually set up.”

Zirpolo said the Round Two folks were particularly accommodating and the space turned out to be easier to work in than expected – once they got everything set up.

And, according to Hulley, the Round Two folks were that accommodating from the get-go.

Hulley, whose sneaker collection is only matched by the number of people in his band, has been close with the folks there for some time. When he started to get “Fire Circle” together, he reached out to people here he knew, co-owner Lucas Fracher and employee Justin Esposito (a former Brunswick member himself,) and ran the idea by them.

“They were way psyched,” he said. “[Round Two is] the big reason I’ve gotten into sneakers… but they are also a real Richmond small business and there’s a lot to be said for that. Those dudes make me super proud, both as people from Richmond and people my age doing stuff.”

But Hulley still has plenty to be proud of as well. Beyond “Fire Circle,” we should see the first full length Brunswick record by early 2017. He said they just finished tracking and all that’s left now is mixing.

Until then, you can catch Brunswick live this Friday at the VMFA for their First Friday’s happy hour event.

“The VMFA is quite lit,” Hulley said, straight faced. “It’s got a very fancy vibe to it, but people just start to party and it takes a left turn quick.”

Catch some of the turnt-ness for yourself this Friday at 6 PM and keep up with Hulley and Brunswick on facebook here.

Brad Kutner

Brad Kutner

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