At first, our call with Robert Perlick-Molinari got delayed because apparently no one else on the Metro-North wanted to hear our conversation. Robert was visiting with his girlfriend's parents who live outside the city. New York City, of course. He's one part of French Horn Rebellion, which he describes as, "basically two brothers that were in an orchestra who've gone crazy with dance music."
The other brother is David who produced MGMT's hit album Time to Pretend and is married to Deidre Muro of Savoir Adore. Together the duo incorporates French horn sounds with electro-pop beats, creating a hybrid of something almost organic and another thing entirely manmade.
French Horn Rebellion is playing both Green Room in Fort Lauderdale tonight and Grand Central in Miami tomorrow. They performed on Halloween last year at Bardot. "We're a dance band. We're a party band," Robert said of his time at the compact venue. "So we were like standing on coffee tables. I guess you call them bottle service tables."
As far as playing north of the 305, far, far away from bottle service, FHR performed in our neck of the woods once, in their, what Robert called, the olden days, or "punk days, when we used to drive around in a VW Golf, and knock on every venues' doors." They ended up at Propaganda in Lake Worth. "The show went well, and there was this guy from Off the Radar, which is this really great blog, and he's been our friend ever since that show."
Robert is the brother with major French horn skills. Though he wanted to play the oboe, his oldest brother bullied him into taking up the instrument he loved, even convincing him it was cooler. "Then I ended up really liking it," he said. Robert liked it enough to participate in the marching band, play the All State Band, the local youth orchestra, he even played with University of Wisconsin Milwaukee ensemble while still in high school.
Most humorously, he headed up a Ben Folds Five cover band. But he didn't play the French horn for that musical endeavor. "No one would even do it with me except this guy who loved heavy metal," he lamented. The bass player was a girl he had a crush on, and he played piano and sung Ben Folds in a baritone voice.
Though life led him toward playing French horn traditionally and professionally, he took it in a totally rebellious direction.
"It's an instrument that if you play too much, you actually get worse in some ways. Because it's a lot like being a marathon runner, only instead of using regular muscles that you use to walk and jump," Robert explained. "You use these muscles you don't really use a whole lot. Your facial muscles. They have to be really strong and precise." If you overplay though, your muscles get tired and you sound less awesome. Besides, he was a wild guy who wanted to party. He decided, "Screw this, I'm going to make some hot beats, it's more fun, and I don't have to worry about what I ate that day or how much water I should be drinking the week before my recital."
He and his brother also throw a party in New York called Brass Magic. We asked what he likes to spin to please the crowd. First, Robert said he plays their old remixes, then, "It depends, I guess, on the mood. Sometimes I'll do a French Horn DJ set where... I usually start doing the same thing, I'll start with this Alex Metric re-edit of the Beastie Boys, then this loud static in the intro. I'll have my horn, and I'll do some horn calls on top of this static-y loud noise, then the music comes in and it's 'Sabotage' by the Beastie Boys." After that, it's a disco free-for-all. Be prepared for emotional confusion tonight, flashing back to your marching band days while still dancing right here in the future.
French Horn Rebellion with Afrobeta and Auto Body on September 13 at Green Room, 109 SW Second Ave., Fort Lauderdale, and September 14 at Grand Central, 697 North Miami Ave., Miami.
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Liz has her master’s degree in religion from Florida State University. She has since written for publications and outlets such as Miami New Times, Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, Ocean Drive, the Huffington Post, NBC Miami, Time Out Miami, Insomniac, the Daily Dot, and the Atlantic. Liz spent three years as New Times Broward-Palm Beach’s music editor, was the weekend news editor at Inverse, and is currently the managing editor at Tom Tom Magazine.