Interview and article by: Michelle O. Cutler for The Desert Pulse
Band Name: Brumby
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 the alternative/Western rock group Brumby. 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 definitely not twangy enough to be called country, though not not western. However you describe their sound, the group is gaining popularity.
Brumby released its first album in March 2014, an EP produced by indie artist Joshua James. Their most recent releases are two back-to-back singles titled Leave a Light On and Peace. Both were recorded at the legendary Battle Born Studios owned by local heroes and fellow Las Vegas rockers The Killers.
Brumby frequently tour throughout the western states and can be seen locally on such scenes as The Beauty Bar, The Bunkhouse Saloon, and Vinyl at The Hard Rock Hotel.
Oliver met up with us to discuss the musicians’ experiences from growing up in Henderson to becoming a professional band.
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.
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.
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.
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. So I think there are some British arena rock sensibilities mixed in there, too.
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 do.
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 that really comes through live.
Oliver: I think this area is the place to be right now for us. It’s becoming 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’s encouraging.
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.
To keep in touch with Brumby, look them up on any of the usual suspects – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – and be sure to listen to their new singles wherever you stream your music including YouTube for their official music video for Leave a Light On, High Waters and more.