Banding together on tour

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Hopetoun Brown and the Genius of Finn Scholes are hitting up Queenstown once again.

By the time they get to The Sherwood on Tuesday the Aucklanders will be part-way through their 36-date tour, travelling the country in a van.

Tim Stewart and Nick Atkinson are Hopetoun, while Scholes tags along to tours and gigs when he’s not playing in his own bands, or alongside Neil Finn.

Together they perform an eclectic mix of jazz and blues, with a touch of rock and roll, and a pinch of country.

Because they’re not flying, they’re not restricted by how many instruments they can bring along.

“All in one van with a PA, it’s stacked pretty high, we’ve had to boost up the tyre pressure,” Atkinson says.

Stewart is the lead singer and plays the trumpet and trombone along with hand percussion and stomping.

Atkinson is the backing singer, bass clarinet, tenor saxophone and keys player.

While Scholes has a few more unorthodox instruments to bring along — including a vibraphone and Rhodes electric piano — he also plays trumpet, tuba and hand percussion while on tour.

Fortunately they only have to squeeze themselves into the van when they’re travelling from place to place, but they rest their heads in beds come night-time.

“It reminds me a bit of flatting because we’re like three dudes living together, but they’re very sensitive, sympathetic guys, Tim and Finn,” Atkinson says.

Hopetoun’s latest album was released in March — titled Don’t Let Them Lock You Up — and was less of a collaborative effort than the last two they’ve done.

This time round they decided to write more of the album individually and have only co-written on two of the tracks.

“It means the stylistic poles of the band are further apart, the extremes of the album are a bit wider.”

But it seems to work.

Stewart’s generally been the one to do the heavy lifting when it came to lyrics in the past but this time round had really encouraged Atkinson to try his hand a bit more.

They both get their inspiration from all over the show.

Their latest single, Put It Down, was inspired by an American web series talk show, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, directed and hosted by comedian Jerry Seinfeld.

The specific episode that got Stewart’s creative juices flowing was when Mark Richards was on the show.

During the episode, Seinfeld tells him that he has to “put that bag down” when it comes to his troublesome past.

That struck a chord with Atkinson — and so the song evolved.

To catch Hopetoun Brown and Finn Scholes head to The Sherwood on Tuesday, tickets available on Eventfinda for $10.

mandy.cooper@scene.co.nz