Too Many Zooz brought their “Pug in a Tub” tour to the Urban Lounge on Oct. 1.
The self-described brass house band formed when Leo Pellegrino and trumpeter Matt Muirhead met at the Manhattan School of Music. They teamed up with drummer David Parks in 2013 and started busking in the New York City subway.
The band climbed in popularity using YouTube. They went viral due to their defining brass house genre and Pellegrino’s characteristic dance moves.
Too Many Zooz opened up about how social media and touring have influenced their sound and their lives.
Muirhead explained negative comments under posted videos are common, but he doesn’t let them affect his work. He doesn’t see any value in responding to trolls.
“To me, that’s just toxic,” Muirhead said. “There is nothing good that comes from that.”
However, not every member of the band is able to write off the comments this way.
“I’m obsessed about what the audience thinks, all the time,” said Pellegrino, the saxophone player and choreographer. He constantly scrolls through Too Many Zooz’s Instagram page and reads the comments.
The trio are living out their dream of traveling the world playing music, and they even played backup for Beyonce during the 2016 CMA Awards. However, they said the music industry and touring have their drawbacks.
On tour, the artists have regulated bathrooms breaks, limited food choices and no alone time.
“There are so many similarities between touring and jail,” Parks said.
Performing in Europe was once a dream, but became a partial nightmare as transportation problems multiplied with each trip.
“We show up and break the airport,” Muirhead said.
The band had to purchase countless additional tickets for their instruments to ride in the seats next to them.
The downsides to traveling are just one aspect of touring. The trio recalled having to practice in bathrooms or narrow hallways before shows.
“As fun as it is, there is a lot of personal sacrifice that goes into it,” Parks said.
The trio had moments where they had to redefine where their lives were headed, and reconfiguring their personal goals and expectations. Now, they embrace errors.
“We are the masters of mistakes,” Muirhead said. “When you make up as much stuff on stage as we do, you have to learn to adapt and be willing to not just make a mistake, but then dig into it and repeat making it until it’s no longer a mistake.”
Though touring can be exhausting, there is nothing else the trio would rather be doing.
Since Pellegrino started playing the saxophone at 13, his dream was to do it for a living.
“I just love grinding hard, and that’s what I’m getting paid to do,” Pellegrino said.
Too Many Zooz were forged in the fire of viral videos and had to break out of YouTube to make their dreams a reality.
“The internet chose us,” Parks said. “Nothing was going to stop us.”