Photo credit : Heart N Soul Christopher Andrea. Left to right Robyn Steward , Toby Morrison, Max Bianchi,Andrew Foster, Ella Jean , Rob Major ( on keys)Robyn Steward and the Hatonauts is a band of 5 trumpets and 1 keyboard .
Our music could be described as avant garde jazz .
Robyn Steward and The Hatonauts started in August 2016 , because I wanted to perform an EP I had written ( currently being mixed by Andy Diagram of James and space heads) on my birthday.
Sadly I was unable to do this, as I had an operation at the start of august on my eyes, which prevented me from playing for a few weeks.
On the off chance I e-mailed Mark Williams at Heart N Soul ( an organisation who work with disabled artists). To ask if I could play at their Beautiful octopus club at the Southbank centre in london. When I sent the e-mail, I had only performed as a solo artist, or as part of a couple of ensembles.I didn’t have a band, and I had never arranged music before, but I told him I would like to play my EP , he said yes!
In the space of 6 weeks I formed a band and we rehearsed and I learnt how to arrange my music, with the help of my Trumpet Teacher Andy .
The band had so much fun that we decided to carry on , and to date have played venues like new river studios and the Gunners pub in arsenal .
The music I wrote is based on the theme of new York, and encompasses spoken word, percussion and of course trumpets.
One of the pieces we have been asked a lot about is Roses, Roses was inspired by a menu I saw at a New York airport , there was a picture of the sun with a face which looked a bit annoyed.There was also a man with a long nose who was laying on the ground, and his head was cracked open with plates inside that were broken. There were women dancing round the man and bottles of alcohol and roses. I asked the waitress the story behind the picture, she said she didn’t know and I should make one up so I did.
The sun felt annoyed after an argument with some roses, the Roses moved themselves and this meant a man called Humphry who had a girlfriend for each day of the week could not pick roses for each of his girlfriends, the girlfriends were very angry and started to shout , they heard each other and ganged up on Humphrey who by this point had fallen down to the ground as his nose had grown every time he told a lie. He had lied to such a large proportion he could no longer stand up , the plates I decided were a metaphor for juggling to much in your life.
when it is possible we have a set of images which I made by painting with my fingers , which can be projected onto a screen which tell the story of each song, when
we do this we dress in white so the pictures become part of us.
You can see a example to the left of this text.
Here is a version of Roses performed by myself and Andrew
2 of the band ( myself and Toby) both happen to be autistic and have hemiplegia, our first gig was Andrew’s first gig ever .Andrew who played the trumpet when he was younger after a long break he took it back up ,Andrew is a actor and his skills are incredible useful when we incorporate spoken word.
Robyn Steward and the Hatonauts is important to me because it gives me the chance to compose and arrange music and to express myself freely . I never thought I would have my own band . Playing gigs and rehearsing with other people is a lot of fun.
I would like people to hear our music, find it interesting and want to know more, and then to learn 2 of us are Autistic rather then only listening to us because 2 of us are Autistic .
Below is a video of us at the gunners pub in arsenal
(C) Robyn Steward 2016