Buffalo Brothers are a Manchester nine-piece who are breathing new life into the funk scene. With blazing horns and a formidable rhythm section, they write tunes to make your body move and your ears melt.

Both their high-energy gigs and their studio material have been met with critical acclaim. They’re clearly in it for the love of music, playing live tirelessly just to make people get up and dance. Their newly released album, Fresh From The Horn, has received rave reviews from Craig Charles and showcases the band’s versatility. From the laidback jazziness of ‘String Theory’ to the soulful belter of ‘Mama’s Comin’’ and the brass-fuelled stomp of ‘Metric’, the good vibes extend from track to track.

Joe Stevenson (trombone), Ryan Hayes (bass) and Paolo Fuschi (guitar) told it like it is.

How did the band start out?

[Ryan] We were friends a long time before the band started.
[Joe] It was just going to be a one-off gig, wasn’t it, because you guys were rehearsing a load of tunes, and then you got the horn section in to do two or three of them.
[Paolo] There are nine of us, and when we first started jamming funk songs it was just five of us, more like the rhythm section. We put a gig on just for fun once, and we asked Joe…
[Ryan] Joe’s been responsible for putting brass parts together for all sorts of things, so we went to Joe, because he’s a mate, and asked him, ‘What do you think you’d do to this?’ It just ended up being the biggest band we’ve ever been in.

You recently played at the Craig Charles Funk and Soul Club. That’s quite big, isn’t it?

[Joe] When we first started, I was thinking, ‘I’d love it if we got to play the Craig Charles Funk and Soul Club.’
[Ryan] Craig Charles has been such a massive support. When we did our third gig, in a pub up the road, we recorded it and stuck it on the internet, just as a clip, and Craig Charles and his team put it on air the next weekend. We’d been a band for six months and we were just like, ‘Woah!’ So inspired. It gave a lot of drive to think that maybe this was worth pursuing if Craig Charles was taking an interest in it so early on. So, yeah, it was a big deal doing the funk club.

Was that one of your best gigs?

[Joe] Yeah, I think so.
[Ryan] We’ve had a great year. We got asked to open Manchester Jazz Festival, which was a real honour. There’s lots of guys playing in bands who deserve to be doing that type of gig, so when we got asked to do that, only being a band for 18 months, it was insane.

I was at that gig and, even though it was seated, everyone got up at the end and started dancing. It was great. And you deserved people dancing.

[Paolo] I think so. We do deserve people dancing. We’ve been going to a place called the Blues Kitchen in Shoreditch. We shared the bill with Huey Morgan [Fun Lovin’ Criminals]. It was great because he really liked the band and it was another stamp of approval from someone who we believe, heart and soul, knows a lot about music.
[Joe] We’re back in London again this weekend, playing with DJ Format. I was a big Fun Lovin’ Criminals fan, and DJ Format is one of my favourite hip hop DJs.

So you’re living the dream?

[All agree] Yeah

Do you get really knackered doing the gigs?

[Paolo] We do, but we’re very happy. And we sweat a lot. The live show is very intense for us. We try not to stop in between songs. We just want to make sure that people dance and that they don’t stop dancing.
[Ryan] It was always the first thing we were after, to be one of those bands that makes you literally dance from the moment it starts until the end. So we can’t expect that from the audience without dancing all the way through the set ourselves. That’s why there’s a lot of sweat.

Do you really love performing?

[Paolo] Yeah. The thing is, as a musician, when you play in a band with nine people, you get such a strong boost of energy, because the sound is huge. And we are trying to get a bigger and bigger sound all the time. This is a band that pushes the music quite a lot. The performance is really important to us. We never compromise the performance. So whether there are ten people watching us or a thousand, we deliver exactly the same performance, because we love what we play. I think it goes back to the fact that first and foremost, we are all friends. When the band is on stage, it’s fun. It’s always a laugh. We’re very lucky in that respect.

You work with guest vocalists, don’t you? Notably Martin Connor (Bugalu Foundation) and Charlie Cooper.

[Ryan] Martin’s a hidden gem of the soul world. He’s got one of the best voices. Charlie’s awesome. Again, a very close friend. This is the big thing about Manchester. There’s just so much talent, so many good singers. We thought it would be really fun to ask these people to come and sing. And it’s become a bit of a feature now. We’ve been really blessed to have the company of these people.

Is there anyone specific who you want to work with in the future?

[Ryan] I’d love to work with Hannah Williams [who sings with The Tastemakers]. She’s a fantastic vocalist. And Jenna G [from Manchester band Jenna and the Gs].

Which other Manchester bands are you in to?

[Paolo] The list is pretty big. I’m a number one fan of Family Ranks.
[Joe] Ben Williams, Thingamabob and the Thingamajigs.
[Ryan] We love Extra Love. Two of the Buffalo Brothers, Chris Stevens (trumpet) and Rachel Lasham (percussion) play in that band too. We like Lauren Housley, Shunya, Jon Kenzie – he’s on our album – Age of Glass. Charlie Cooper – she’s been there from the start, so she means a lot to us.

You’ve just recorded your first album. What will people get from listening to it?

[Ryan] I think it’s going to be good for you to listen to the album. It’s going to make you shake your ass and that means you’re working, and that’s a good thing. But if anyone hurts themselves dancing to it, we can’t be legally responsible.

What’s your favourite track from the album?

[Ryan] I think ‘Tycho Strut’. It’s a big, uptempo tune which sounds great on record. Everyone’s really happy with how ‘Tycho Strut’ sounds.

If Buffalo Brothers were an item of clothing, what would you be?

[Ryan] I’d have to be a headband. I’d like to provide anti-sweat services.

That would be quite handy for people dancing to your music.

[Paolo] Maybe we should add it to the merchandise.
[Ryan] Buffalo Brothers’ headbands.
[Paolo] With horns attached…

Fresh From The Horn is available now.

Anna Tuck