– A long, tall drink of water. As he strides you can almost hear the iconic theme from The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly playing in the background, but his skinny jeans, suede zippered boots, and his dark hair swept to one side tell you he has a more modern sound.
As does his band.
This is Oliver Tingey, lead singer of Brumby — a new band to rise from the Henderson area. His cousins, guitarist Tyler Tingey and bass guitarist Spencer Tingey, make up the group along with drummer Dylan Self, a longtime friend the guys consider family.
Considered alternative folk-rock by some, their sound might be best described by what it’s not: not entirely rock, not particularly folk, really not pop, and not twangy enough to be called country, though not not western. The group is gaining popularity locally and impressed Imagine Dragons management enough to land Brumby an opening gig for the international charts-topping band last December.
Brumby released its first album in March 2014, an extended play album (EP) of original music produced by indie artist Joshua James. They frequently tour throughout the western states and can be seen locally on such scenes as The Beauty Bar, First Friday, and The Hard Rock Café, where they are scheduled to play in September at the venue’s 25th Anniversary Mini Festival.
As the group paused their touring schedule early in the summer to come home and focus on writing new music, Oliver met with Inside Henderson to discuss the musicians’ experiences from growing up in Henderson to becoming a professional band.
iH: How did Brumby come about?
Oliver: There wasn’t really a moment, I wouldn’t say, as much as a natural progression. We all just grew up together and happened to learn the right instruments. We were always playing together and at one point asked ourselves, “Are we in a band right now?” We gave ourselves a name and just went with it.
iH: How did you choose the name Brumby?
Oliver: We grew up watching The Man from Snowy River. It’s my favorite movie, and I love horses. So that’s where the name comes from, the Australian wild horses in that movie.
iH: The word Brumby brings to mind the classic scene from the movie where Jim Craig steers the herd of wild horses down the impossible slope. Do you see yourself in that scene?
Oliver: My uncle has horses on the west side of town and we go out riding once a week around Red Rock. I love it! Every time we run into wild horses there it’s the most majestic thing! It really does make me feel like I’m in that movie. It’s very surreal — wild horses running around you. Makes me feel like a man!
iH: Brumby’s music has been described as Western, but this isn’t a twangy kind of country music.
Oliver: No, not at all. The Western thing just kind of happened. People started describing us as having a western flair, and we realized they were right. It was very natural. We’re also influenced by groups like U2, Coldplay, the Beatles and Radiohead.
iH: Do you feel like your sound is a blend of these influences?
Oliver: Sort of. I’d like to hope that we bring something new to the table, but it’s hard to think of things that Paul McCartney didn’t already think of.
iH: So what do you feel sets you apart from other groups?
Oliver: We have good chemistry, and that’s something you can’t really throw together with Simon Cowell. We have a natural energy as a band.
There’s something about music that seems to carry more than just sound waves. People can hear sincerity and authenticity in music. I don’t know how it happens. But you can tell when somebody really means something in a song. It really comes through live. That’s where it comes together for us — we’re a live band. When people see us I think they feel like they’re really part of the show, and that’s what we want for them. They feel like they’re a part of something cool and fun — and new and exciting.
Oliver: It usually starts out with Tyler. He comes in with an idea, then he and I will work with those things and as they progress the whole band starts adding parts, and everyone gets involved. It’s very much a group effort.
Tyler and the others are very technical musicians. I really don’t know musical theory like they do. We try to incorporate not just the science of the music, but the feeling of it all. That is more important to me, so we get a good combination.
iH: Will we see a full-length album soon?
Oliver: We’re focusing more right now on the live industry stuff. We’d like to eventually put out an album. We’ll probably do another EP in a little while, but I’d rather wait on the album until it can be released on a much larger scale.
iH: Tell me about the video for “High Waters” that was released last December.
Oliver: We tried to bring in a local element to it. A lot of it was filmed on Mt. Charleston. It was freezing. There’s snow coming down in the video. That was actual snow! We were out there for hours and hours and hours. There are things in the video, like you can see our breath. That was all real. It was literally the coldest night of my life. But it was worth it. It turned out all right!
iH: What is it really like to be a musician in this area?
Oliver: I think this area is the place to be right now for us. It has become quite a musical hub just in the last couple years, spearheaded by The Killers. Then Imagine Dragons came along and that really brought everybody’s attention to Las Vegas, whereas before that it was not really known for (its musicians).
Especially being locals, people like coming together behind these bands that have been born here. It was very obvious at The Joint last year (when we played for Imagine Dragons).
Being the opening band, people don’t always want to listen to you. But people really got behind us. It was like they wanted to see us do well, and they were very responsive and rallied behind us.
iH: Do you feel like your upbringing in Henderson contributed to your success?
Oliver: Music Programs at Green Valley and Coronado High Schools played a huge role in our future as musicians. I sang in the choir at Green Valley, Tyler sang at Coronado and Spencer played in the band at Coronado.
I’d really never sung before, but in 2005 I saw Green Valley’s choir perform and thought, “I need to do that.” Watching them sing really taught me what kind of impact music can have on people — even a 13 year old kid. So I joined when I was a freshman and chased that feeling, only to find it was magnified 10 times when I was the one on stage.
Over the next four years I invested myself entirely into Green Valley’s music program and became the biggest choir nerd I could be. . . I loved it.
There’s a lot of fun and excitement that comes with playing in a rock band — feelings you can’t find anywhere else. . . . But the same can be said for that feeling I was chasing as a freshman kid singing in choir for the first time — The kind of feeling when you hold your breath because the moment is so fragile that by simply exhaling you might blow it away.
I’ve never found that anywhere other than in those brief moments of silence after the choir finishes a piece and the audience feels it too, so they don’t clap just yet. Those are powerful moments.
My time with music programs at Green Valley ended up being one of the most important and influential experiences in my life. It completely redirected my path for the future and formed a lot of the closest friendships I maintain today. | iH