"We don't look at ourselves like a DJ group," declares Danny D'Brito of Brass Knuckles. "We look at this as a band."
Truthfully, the Miami trio—D'Brito, Tony Livadas, and Anthony Pisano—is unlike any other outfit in electronic dance music right now. Fusing together elements of traditional house, electro, pop, nu disco, and even a little rock, they come out of the gate swinging with irresistible vocal hooks, staggering drops, and live instrumentation. Once Brass Knuckles hits, you'll feel it.
After years of playing in bands together and collaborating on a myriad of musical projects, D'Brito and Livadas hooked up with Pisano in 2009. Instantly bonding, the three musicians decided to start laying down original material in addition to doing a bevy of remixes including Michael Jackson’s celebrated "Get On The Floor". They turned heads across the blog-o-sphere and in clubs worldwide when they dropped "Lie to You" in 2011 though. Highly successful global touring followed with a full jaunt through Asia and Europe including a Croatia gig in front of 10,000 people supporting genre legend Fatboy Slim. However, their debut EP for Ultra Music immensely ups the ante across the board.
First single, "Bad Habits", careens from propulsive handclaps and bombastic guitar into an instantly unforgettable refrain from singer John Ryan about something we all share in common.
"Absolutely everybody out there has bad habits," smiles Pisano. "That's why people can relate to the track almost immediately. It catches their ear, and that's what we hope every song does."
Further separating themselves from the pack, live piano drives the soulful and sexy "Alive", while a tribal stomp fuels the torrential energy of "Hurricane". Pisano goes on, "We did a show in Missouri in front 5,000 people. The next day, Danny and I were on the plane and we wanted to come up with a concept that would work for a large audience. We got the idea for 'Hurricane' on the plane.
Livadas explains, "We're three different people, and we bring more of a party and a bigger energy than just one DJ might. We like to incorporate as many of our influences as possible. There aren't any boundaries to what we do. A good song is a good song."
In some ways, their impact remains encapsulated in their very moniker. One day, Pisano was wearing a shirt with Brass Knuckles on it, and the image just clicked for D'Brito. "I'm thrilled Anthony wore that shirt on that particular day," he laughs. "The name represents us so well. The music is often tough and in-your-face. It makes an impression."
That impression will stick with listeners for a long time to come to, whether they hear the band live or on tape. D'Brito concludes, "We want people to relate to our music, understand it, love it, and be able to party to it. We want them to feel good. Hopefully, they can escape from reality and get lost in it."