The Airborne Toxic Event’s Anna Bulbrook becomes the conductor of her new adventure

By Grace Driscoll

“My older brother played violin first, and when I was four I wanted to do everything he did!”

The violinist for the increasingly popular alternative band The Airborne Toxic Event, Anna Bulbrook, got her start in music at a young age. Although she followed in her older brother’s footsteps, she quickly developed her own musical abilities. Anna now plays multiple different instruments. She says, “a little bit of keyboard, a tiny bit of guitar, I’m a contest winning tambourine player, and just whatever I need to play; sometimes I sing a little.”  These talents have greatly helped the band, as The Airborne Toxic Event has charted the Billboard three times.

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Anna powerfully playing violin at last year’s Kerfuffle Before Christmas at the First Niagara Center.

     When the band first began singer Mikel Jollett and drummer Daren Taylor, the only members at the time, had been rehearsing for jet a few months. Jollet and Bulbrook rekindled an old acquaintance and he recalled that Bulbrook played the violin.

He then asked her to audition. She was then added to the band and started regularly rehearsing with the other members. When asked about her expectations on how popular she  believed they would become, she said, “You always have hope, but you can never expect.”  Even now, after almost ten years with the band, she remains humble. “I don’t know if i would call us famous. For us, I’m just one of five people and if someone’s heard a song, it doesn’t mean they know what we all look like. So for me, it doesn’t really feel like fame. Being in a band is much more modest and normal, simple day to day.”

         Bulbrook has adjusted to the lifestyle that follows a touring band, especially as the only female. “For me, it’s become normal. I think I’ve learned a lot about how groups of men interact when there are no women present! I feel like my role switches, sometimes I’m everyone’s buddy and sometimes I’m just a girl. But it can be great, they’re really good dudes!”

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Anna Bulbrook from The Airborne Toxic Event talked to Grace Driscoll (left) before her Town Ballroom show.

    With every tour comes new challenges, and Anna has faced many. “One time my violin was sitting on top of an amplifier, and the vibrations of the stage shook the violin off and it smashed,” she said. “I had to get it fixed by the next day, because we had a big festival in England to play. I had to take a cab through a crazy street festival… I dropped it off with a kind of wisened “Harry Potter” esque old man. It worked out, but the glue was still drying while I was playing it!” 

    As the band progresses and the fan base grows, Anna has begun to branch out onto her own, starting a whole new project. After The Airborne Toxic Event’s fall shows, Anna will head back into the studio to finish up her upcoming debut solo record. This record will take up most of her remaining time in the 2015 year. Fans should prepare to expect more of Anna’s singing and guitar playing, and just her “doing all that kind of stuff. Just sounding like me…Well, hopefully!” 

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