The French horn is a bit of an illusive instrument in that its origins lie in Germany, not France, and that in today’s contemporary soundscapes, it is rarely seen or heard. French Horn Rebellion are changing that through their infectious mix of dance tunes and improvisational abandon. Their roots may lie in classical music but the band is anything but tired and dusty.
Brothers Robert and David Perlick-Molinari first began raging against the classical machine by picking up their computers and spontaneously crafting beats. Robert acted as the main instigator of the uprising after years of playing French horn in orchestras and going as far as studying French horn performance in college.
“When you’re pursuing classical music, you have this dim hope that maybe you’ll get to be, say, first horn player in the Chicago symphony or something. After a while, I just couldn’t stand not being a part of the modern world. I felt like I wasn’t using my creativity in the best possible way,” Robert Perlick-Molinari tells The Appeal.
Electronic music gave the duo the type of freedom they craved through what felt like a very natural means of expressing themselves. They soon realized that composition alone was not the driving force of the band but more an aid towards perpetuating their message of simply doing what you love.
“The challenge is making people realize that our music is a real thing; that we’re not being facetious and that there’s a message to it. It’s been a fast and furious journey. There’s just so much content and we’re doing it all ourselves. We’ve been doing little pieces at a time to keep things going and it’s a fun way to release music,” Robert says.
As French Horn Rebellion continues to evolve, they’ve distilled their core message into quintessential track “Dancing Out”. The accompanying video is a nod to ’80s rom-com cheese, though you’d never see reminisces of a digitized French horn make the final cut in a movie. Then again, “Dancing Out” isn’t your typical nostalgic video, either.
Robert describes the aesthetic as “the culmination of so many tracks and the video really is the ethos for what French Horn Rebellion is as far as us as individuals. We didn’t have to tap into that – it just came about naturally – because it’s more of what we’re doing. I feel like it’s one of our best songs with the best lyrics.”
That same spirit of earnest freedom is a hallmark of French Horn Rebellion’s live show. The duo treat their performances like a party, commanding audiences with grooves and, at times, ridiculous instructions. Robert promises to bring back early gimmick “dance like your favorite animal” for their SF set at the Rickshaw Stop.
“There’s something really liberating about playing dance music: you just do what you please,” says Robert. “French Horn Rebellion is a combination of that. We have dance beats and funk and uptempo songs with a lot of live improvisation. None of our French horn parts are rehearsed; they’re all improv.”
The city not only inspired a return to some of their performance roots, but is set to be the backdrop for their next music video featuring an unreleased song that has yet to be named. We’ll actually be shooting it the day before our show and there will be live footage from our show at the Rickshaw Stop,” Robert says.
“I think SF is a beautiful city. It’ll be great to be back.”