By Callie Pederson
Von Disco is a Boulder band that can be best described as an upbeat, progressive jazz, hip-hop jam band. The band consists of three members: Tyson Bennett on keys, Eric Imbrosciano on drums and Jesse Hunter on guitar and vocals.
Frontman Jesse Hunter has a lot to say when it comes to music. Along with being a part of Von Disco, he also teaches private music lessons, runs the front desk at the local Mapleton YMCA and makes guest appearances with other local bands. It’s no question that his passion is music and entertaining others.
We spoke to Hunter about his favorite types of music, who inspires him and how he became interested in music. Here’s what he had to say:
How and when did you first get into music?
My parents got divorced when I was about 14. … Roughly two years later, my mom started dating again. One of her first serious love interests was a heavy metal guitar player named Hector, who actually bequeathed my first guitar to me. It was a subpar electric called a Striker and only had three strings on it when he gave it to me: the A, G and the high E strings, which aren’t even consecutive. Nevertheless, I’d practice for hours and then assemble all of my family members into the living room for unamplified concerts debuting anything I felt was of merit.
Who are some of your favorites/who influences you?
Hector listened to copious amounts of shred-metal while he was around, so I’d be blatantly lying if I didn’t mention players like Yngwie Malmsteen and Eddie Van Halen, although I’m more of a jazz guy: … Pat Metheny, Al Dimeola, Joe Pass and Wes Montgomery, to name a few, although I like to study horn players the most. … Players like Coltrane, Miles Davis and Charlie Parker offer quite the arsenal of arrangements for the aspiring jazz guitarists to pick apart. That briefly scratches the instrumental surface. However, I also listen to a considerable amount of hip-hop, which is quite apparent when you attend a Von Disco show. Emcees like Logic, Chance the Rapper, Slug, Q-Tip, etc.
Describe your personal musical style.
Personally, I like to traverse the lines between jazz, classical, blues and honestly, everything in between.
Describe the musical style of Von Disco.
Our style is undoubtedly an interpretation of our individual proclivities, however, the true brilliance is conveyed when everyone has the opportunity to speak through their instrument in “the moment.” Hip-hop becomes jazz and vice versa. Improvisation turns to exploration. Ultimately, our on-stage observance of each other’s voice unveils a platform for uninhibited spontaneous creation, … but please allow me to be more specific: hip-hop meets jazz, while jazz meets every other spectral genre.
What instrument(s) do you play? If more than one, which is your favorite?
Anything with strings, although primarily guitar. I’m also absolutely enamored by piano.
Where is your favorite venue to play at in Boulder and why?
Obviously the Boulder/Fox theaters are phenomenal to perform at, however, the Laughing Goat tends to be my favorite venue to play. … Simply put, there’s an expectation for high caliber music behind those doors, and people undoubtedly know that. Audiences are attentive and open-minded.
What do you love most about being in the band Von Disco?
As an ensemble, we strive to progress toward a place where we all get to say what we’ve been dying to say. Where art can be art and inspire secondary and tertiary art forms. A place where we can collectively abandon burdens and truly be in the moment as we communicate with each other through sound.
Hear Them Play
Von Disco plays regularly at The Laughing Goat and The No Name Bar, along with other local venues. To learn more about Hunter and the band, hear their music, or find out when their next gig is, check out the Von Disco Facebook page.