It’s all about that Busty & the Bass

The band Busty and the Bass onstage at The Ale House.
The band Busty and the Bass onstage at The Ale House.

The energetic and soulful band Busty and the Bass, a Queen’s University favourite, revisited Kingston this week in support of Queen’s Engineering Society’s Movember campaign. 

For the second time this semester, the energetic nine-piece used their characteristically passionate stage presence to pack the Ale House. 

The band has come a long way since their early beginnings at McGill University, when they had to learn to navigate the music industry and their own studies. 

Before their performance, saxophone player and vocalist Nick Ferraro and bassist Milo Johnson spoke with The Journal about the band’s humble beginnings.

They said they began their careers by performing covers before they started writing their own songs.

“We were really good at taking covers and putting our own arrangements to them and injecting them with energy,” Ferraro said. He describes this process as “bustifying” the song.

Although they had limited experience with song writing, their first original song “Tryna Find Myself” won a university-wide competition, launching the band into the national music scene. 

They said that due to several of their band members possessing different areas of expertise, the group collaborates on song-writing. This lets them create more unique and intricate material. 

“With our songs, it’s not so much one big idea, but the context of a thousand different ideas,” Johnson said. “But that means when someone has a creative vision, you have to give them the space and patience for that.”

Ferraro and Johnson said they have to balance the energy of live performances with the focus and precision required in studio when producing their debut album. 

“For the live show, people come to get hyped, so we play a lot of really hype shit with a lot of bass, but for the album it’s more about headphone music,” Johnson said. 

“We understand we’re known for our on-stage presence, but we want to hold ourselves to a higher standard of song writing, and hopefully people will accept that,” he said.  

Before he joined Busty and the Bass, Ferraro played in the well-known Toronto band Thunder Monks. Ferraro said the experience involved playing in bars “in front of drunk people” and “a lot of contagious energy”. Johnson, meanwhile, grew up in the jazz church scene, but says he emerged with many of the same values as Ferraro. 

“Despite the difference in dancing, the energy was the same,” Johnson said. 

Johnson had a blunt and simple piece of advice for aspiring musicians.

“Stay humble and always remember that you’re nothing and there’s always somebody better,” he said. “The takeaway message is that no one cares. Work harder.”

 

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