San Fermin is a new band formed by Brooklyn composer and songwriter Ellis Ludwig-Leone. Strongly influenced by his unique background in classical music, San Fermin’s songs focus on life’s top-shelf issues – youth, nostalgia, anxiety, unrequited love – and tie these vast themes to different characters through vocal contributions from Ludwig-Leone’s longtime friend Allen Tate, as well as Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig of Lucius.
After finishing his musical studies at Yale, Ludwig-Leone wrote San Fermin’s self-titled debut album in six weeks while holed up in a studio on the mountainous border between Alberta and British Columbia. The band’s hit single, “Sonsick,” tackles many of these larger themes head-on. “It’s like a panic attack disguised as a birthday party,” Ludwig-Leone says. ”I realized that the most intense moments are the ones in which conflicting emotional worlds exist inside you, equally, at once.”
San Fermin plays a sweeping, full-bodied range of songs with multiple distinct peaks and ambitious thematic connections. Ludwig-Leone composes all their arrangements and lyrics in full prior to collaborating and recording, noting that “writing for a large group of unknown musicians infused the writing process with a kind of operatic scope.”
Since recording its debut, the band has coalesced into a core of eight members in addition to Ludwig-Leone: Allen Tate and Charlene Kaye, lead vocals; Rebekah Durham, vocals/violin; John Brandon, trumpet; Stephen Chen, saxophone; Tyler McDiarmid, guitar; and Mike Hanf, drums.