The Infernal Noise Brigade is a 15-piece mobile sound ensemble, a hybrid marching band and drum corps, internationally active in the furtherance of popular liberation for five years. First organized in 1999 to provide the soundtrack for actions during the World Trade Organization meetings in Seattle, the INB marched through clouds of gas and hails of rubber bullets without dropping a beat. Not a year later the group visited Prague in grand style, followed by both BBC and Dutch VPRO film crews. The group prevailed through the violence that marked that event.
"Injuries are mounting," read a 10/04/00 Village Voice article on the band, "ambulances wail. Seattle's Infernal Noise Brigade drowns the sound of concussion grenades with their drums."
In addition to participating in these international landmark events, INB members have inspired and organized similar ensembles in Sao Paulo, Quebec, Paris, Berlin and Buenos Aires.
Since its inception, the Infernal Noise Brigade has been committed to free, public performances. It should be noted that the group doesn't lean on radical currency, and has the musical competency and the versatility for a number of venues--street, nightclub, or festival. The ensemble has a less visible history of ongoing performances, including years at the Burning Man festival, club dates, raves, art events, fundraisers, and even prisons.
"The idea is to create an experience ... the result, I think, is not only liberating for the band, but also something more raw for the audience, something truly interactive." (The Stranger, 1/11/01)
The INB sound combines elements of drumline, taiko, Mughal and North African rhythms, elements of Balkan fanfares, breakbeats, and just about anything else. Some songs feature vocals and, between or during songs, noise. ("The virgin experience of the Infernal Noise Brigade in action can be adrenaline boggling. The music explodes the senses like a thunderstorm." -Clamor, 05/01) All instrumentation is mobile; the bateria employs traditional marching band instruments like bass drum and snare, with some more obscure metal instruments like the Moroccan qarqabat or Chinese opera cymbals. A small horn section holds down the melody, assisted by vocals and layered with sound collage. Amplified sound is delivered via reverse-engineered car stereo amplifiers and miniature FM transmitters. The same DIY philosophy is applied to all Infernal craftwork, from custom-welded drum harnesses to uniforms fashioned from appropriated reflective roadsigns.
The first Infernal Noise Brigade recording, Insurgent Selections for Battery & Voice, was edited from a live radio show and has sold out of both pressings. Subsequent recordings were tracked on location immediately following major actions. Vamos a la Playa documents the Infernal Noise Brigade at manifestations in Cancun, Mexico, where the group played daily as crowds stormed the police barricades that separated the city from the beach resort zone, site of the 2003 WTO meeting. The newest release, on orange 7" vinyl, features two songs recorded just hours after release from the jails of New York City, following a brief incarceration during the Republican Convention.
The Infernal Noise Brigade traveled across the ocean this past July for tours through England, Scotland, and across the continent. A CD of recordings from that tour is forthcoming.