The Tale of the Trouble
The story of The Trouble Notes begins on the Brooklyn banks of the East River.
A young visionary violinist stood staring out, beyond the lights of the city into the unknown, yearning for an adventure that would sweep him away from his beloved New York City. Having spent the past years on an intense career path at a Wall Street investment firm, Bennet felt a sense of conflict down to his very core.
“I had spent the early years of my adult life immersed in a career for which I had no passion. Yes, there was a status and a sense of ‘purpose’, but was that really my own?” remembers Bennet. “My violin called to me, increasingly louder with each passing day until I knew it was time to embark on my own adventure, to the beat of my own drum. I would only later find that the drum would be played by Oliver.”
He drew inspiration from the careers of Rodrigo y Gabriela and Gogol Bordello. They had not sat around and waited for opportunities to knock at their door, they brought their music directly to the people. He would daydream from his office desk about traveling across Europe and Asia, playing his music in a group called “The Trouble Notes”. Soon those dreams would need to become reality.
Armed with nothing but a violin and a suitcase, he boarded a plane that would take him across the Atlantic. Upon his arrival in London, he began busking in the streets of the metropolis to connect with the city and its inhabitants.
“I arrived in London and I didn’t know anyone.” Said Bennet. “I had loved busking in New York City, it was a way for me to connect with new people and to practice my skills as a performer. London would prove to be a transformative city in my experience as an artist.”
After one month of busking in London, he would meet local percussionist Oliver Maguire. Born in west London, Olly had grown up in a Rock’n’Roll family. His father a former tour manager for the band Motörhead, young Olly grew up learning his skills from rock drumming legend Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor. And while his love for rock music was obvious, it was his upbringing in an area rich in cultural immigration that would shape his passion for World music and beats.
“I saw Bennet playing for the first time on Portobello Road. I basically grew up on that road.” Remembers Oliver. “I had told my mum shortly before that, ‘I’m going to meet someone incredible and we are going to form a group and travel across the world playing music together.’ I can’t explain how I knew, but it was a vision.”
Their musical connection was instantaneous. Traveling together around the UK and Ireland, they would eventually land in one of the cultural epicenters of Europe: Berlin, Germany. Like in every city before, they took immediately to the streets.
“Busking is our way of meeting new people.” Says Oliver. “When we arrive somewhere for the first time, we love to get out into a scenic place and connect with the people. Drop a sign and say ‘We are The Trouble Notes, let’s connect’. We’ve done that in nearly every city we’ve traveled to.”
Within months of their arrival, they would meet guitarist Florian Eisenschmidt. Having graduated from SAE, Florian had spent his young adult life working in recording studios in Berlin. When he first saw Bennet and Oliver playing, he was impressed by their infectious energy and skills on their instruments.
“Honestly, I was a fan of them.” Laughs Florian. “When I saw them perform the first thought in my head was: ‘I have to record these guys!’. There was something truly special about the synergy that they had.”
An encounter that started as an admiration for the band would soon translate into the addition of a third member. Bringing his skills as an engineer and energetic guitar playing style, Florian’s addition would mark the last piece of group’s core. That is when The Trouble Notes were truly born.
For the next years they would travel across Europe, busking and taking every performance opportunity that would present itself. The addition of Stefanie to their team as videographer and co-manager helped solidify their mission. The Trouble Notes became a family of traveling artists, longing for a creative connection with their audience and a desire to cross-pollinate cultural traditions and bridge divides.
They built a remarkable network, traveling sustainably without major investment or finances.
“We wanted to prove that we could travel the world powered by our music.” Said Bennet. “It was a desire to prove to ourselves and all of our supporters that art and culture are incredibly powerful. We wanted to humble ourselves and stand at the eye level of our audience. That’s been the strength of our experience, we have been on the receiving end of remarkable kindness at the hands of our friends and fans.”
After years on the road together, things really started to explode. In 2017 a series of videos of the group playing would go certified viral, amassing millions of views, and catapulting their early EP “Soundtracks from the Street” into the top 5 of the iTunes charts in the United States, Germany, France and Canada. Their debut studio album, “Lose Your Ties”, debuted in the top 10 in dozens of countries, had songs featured in major commercials, TV shows and films, and received critical acclaim. The Album Tour featured sold out shows across North America and Europe, and helped them tour as opener for their musical heroes Rodrigo y Gabriela as a part of their Grammy-winning “Mettavolution” Tour.