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New Orleans, LA | Established. Jan 01, 2012 | SELF

New Orleans, LA | SELF
Established on Jan, 2012
Band Americana Rock




"Baton Rouge band Burris discusses tour, upcoming album"

‘225’ sits down with the local jazz rock ensemble after a rehearsal
Seven musicians, ten instruments, eleven shows and one van.

“It was an experience,” Chris Hochkeppel says.

Hochkeppel is the lead singer/guitarist of Burris, a local jazz-rock band that completed its first tour in July.

The tour included 11 stops, starting at Artmosphere in Lafayette and ending back in the Capital City at The Roux House downtown.

Along the way, the group traveled to Orange Beach, Alabama, Nashville, Tennessee, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia.

The show at Connie’s Ric Rac Room in Philadelphia may have attracted the largest and most enthusiastic response. But each show was a blast for the band.

“[The shows] are all learning experiences,” violinist Anton Zholondz says. “Whether you are playing for five or 500 people, it’s about the energy of the people, not the amount of people.”

Now back in Baton Rouge, the band is preparing for the release of its debut full-length album, Meant to Be. The album has 10 tracks, including some from its previous EP titled Listening.

The band wanted to emphasize its on-stage sound on the new release, recording each song live at Evangeline Studios. The result is a more authentic sound, Hochkeppel says, capturing harmonies between Zholondz’s violin and Kevin McMann’s saxophone and blending guitar riffs with Hochkeppel’s bluesy voice.

What started as a duo of just Hochkeppel and drummer Scott Graves has grown into a seven-man group with loads of national and international flavor. There’s auxiliary percussionist Matt Murray of Austin, Texas. McMann hails from Philadelphia. Zholondz was born in Russia.

The band has even incorporated a few local players, including Minos the Saint multi-instrumentalist Ben Harrington and Captain Green bassist Bob Kling.

Now all seven musicians reside in the Red Stick. As music majors at LSU, they met through school ensembles and various outside gigs.

“With more members, we have more ideas, and we challenge each other,” Hochkeppel says. “Everything is collaborative and more interesting.”

No matter their hometowns or the instrument they play, collectively the band members are proud of Burris’ Baton Rouge heritage.

“There isn’t camaraderie other places like there is here,” Murray says. “We all try to help each other out. Local bands go to other local bands’ shows, and we help each other gain a following.”

Burris’ current goal is to create a bigger regional reputation. Once they establish themselves in the South, Hochkeppel says, they can start traveling farther beyond the Capital City.

“Hopefully we’ll be touring more and playing at bigger venues,” he says. “But I see us always coming back here.”

What’s in a name?
Lead singer Chris Hochkeppel planned to enter the music industry as a solo artist, emulating Jason Mraz, Gavin DeGraw or Jamie Cullum. Instead of using his full name, he chose to go by Burris, his middle name—a family name passed down for generations. As the band formed, variations of the name included The Burris Trio and The Burris Band, but Burris made the final cut.

See them live
Burris will celebrate the release of its debut album, Meant to Be, next month. The band performs Friday, Oct. 2, at The Spanish Moon. Daria will open. Concertgoers will get a free copy of the full-length album with the $10 cover. Ages 18 and older. - 225 Magazine

"Burris: Meant To Be"

MUSIC IS ECLECTIC. It gathers sounds and tones and tings and zings to make one beautiful rhythm. There are few rules to music - it can be as happy as you want it, as sad as you want it, as intense or as soft as you want it. All of this relates to the band Burris, a musical group of zany eclecticism. Not one member looks or dresses the same - each embodies their own love of music in incredibly different ways. However, the rhythm they produce is not only unique, but inspiring.
The band began with just two. In 2011, Chris Hochkeppel and Scott Graves performed acoustic shows together in Baton Rouge while earning their music degrees at Louisiana State University. The first time I realized their talent was at a tiny Mexican eatery. While all were noshing on chips and salsa and sipping margaritas, Chirs' smooth rasp rang out across the restaurant patio as Scott Graves complemented Chris' vocals with a drum. Many people dropped their guac and turned to listen - his small stature was quite the contrast to the power in his voice.
Chris and Scott's infectious energy grabbed hold of fice other musicians, creating the seven-piece band it is today. "Year after year, more and more members were added," Chris explains. "I always loved big bands with a full horn section and plenty of auxiliary instruments. Summer of 2014 we added our final member, Ben Herrington. Now I'm satisfied and the band is killing it."
Chris owns vocals and guitar. Scott Graves is on the drums. Matt Murray heads auxiliary percussion and vocals. Bob Kling jams bass. Ben Herrington strikes the keys. Anton Zholondz on violin and Kevin McMann on sax. Yep, that's all of them. The crew of talents convened in Baton Rouge when the band began, but they originate from Texas to Philadelphia to Russia and back. I'll let you guess who's from where.
Regardless of origination, each member was born with an ear for music. "Burris' sound is hard to pinpoint," Chris says. "With seven guys in the band from all walks of life, there is so much inspiration involved." Their sound, described as a "gumbo of music." blends a cup of jazz with a cup of soul with a sprinkle of funk and rock. With the release of their debut album, Meant To Be, the band is hitting music joints from New Orleans to Lafayette before a tour through Texas in January.
The album was recorded live at Evangeline Studio with Jerry Lejeune giving an authentic peek into a live performance. All 10 songs were recorded as a full band in one weekend. "Since we're all classically trained musicians, we thrive under pressure. Live performances are our forte, so we wanted to showcase that on our first studio album."
The 10-track disk gives a sampling of their funk, rock, jazz and a little lagniappe. Two songs, Burning Rays and Alone, give a fine example of Chris' bluesy cry and the band's natural funk. Burning Rays even has a sexy tone that shows a side of Burris many may have not heard - they never cease to surprise.
Any saucy surprise is their track Dance. Incredibly upbeat and fun, it makes you want to, well, dance, mamacita. With flares of Hispanic flavor, oozing out with daring lines like "you move so smooth and slow, sends a chill right through my bones, I cant love you but I'll always want to dance."
On a serious note, one song on the album is near and dear to Chris and the band's hearts. "Glow is a special song. Recently, I have had life experiences and emotions that have made me a better, more genuine songwriter. Glow is about constantly yearning to be on stage - it's about wanting my music to influence others and to live the rest of my life passionately playing music! The last verse of the song describes the feeling of finding six other guys that share my dream and are ready to tackle the music industry with me."
Tackling is exactly what Burris is doing. So before you stand (or dance) in the crowd at one of their shows, Chris wanted to share some insights about the men behind the instruments.
Band Breakdown as told by Chris:
Scott Graves: "Drums from Austin, Texas. Scott was the first person in the band with me. He has a huge heart and a funky groove. he recently discovered thieves oil, and probably knows your birth date."
Ben Herrington: "Keys from Baton Rouge. He plays keys and trombone, and melodica, and accordion, and guitar, and mandolin, and organ pedals, and everything else. He is our mad scientist - his glasses and hair fit the part."
Bob Kling: "Bass from Baton Rouge. He is one of the finest bass players I've ever met. He can stand on his head for an absurd amount of time and lives on a farm out in Prarieville."
Kevin McMann: "Saxophone from Ambler, Pennsylvania. He is a beer aficionado and cooks better than your Italian grandma. He has a master's degree in jazz performance from LSU."
Matt Murray: "Percussion from Austin, Texas. Back in the day, Matt and I used to grab a Chipotle burrito and head down to New Orleans to busk on the streets. That's how we started playing together. He's colorblind and loves directing his middle school band."
Anton Zholondz: "Violin from Voronezh, Russia. He studied music all his life. Anton has two master's degrees and is working on his doctorate in classical violin." - Inside New Orleans


Meant To Be Tracklist

1.   Mother Nature
2.   Dance

3.   Glow

4.   It Hurts

5.   Burning Rays

6.   Morning Light

7.   A
8.   I'm Alright

9.   Alone

10. Come To Me


Something New (June)

I Dont Know How (July)

You Were Lying (August)



Burris comprises

founding member and vocalist, Christopher Burris Hochkeppel,
along with a rotating cast of collaborators. Originally formed in Baton
Rouge, LA at the LSU School Of Music, the group is now based in New
Orleans, and has spent the past year gaining the attention of locals and tourists alike by performing regularly on the legendary Frenchmen
Street. The nationally touring band has performed at
French Quarter Fest, Festival International, Bethlehem's Musikfest,
Northgate Fest, Live After Five and
more. Following the release of Burris' debut album "Meant To Be" in 2015
the group has since swept the south with new and innovative sounds stemming from jazz, rock, funk, and soul.
Collectively, members of Burris have shared the stage with George Porter Jr., Rebirth Brass Band, Snarky Puppy, FORQ, The Revivalists,
Louisiana's Leroux, Grace Potter, GIVERS and many more.

Band Members