Ferdinand the Bull
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Ferdinand the Bull

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Folk Americana




"In Your Speakers"

"Great, upbeat and fun. Folk rock with the unique addition of cello made for interesting and fun arrangements and their enthusiasm was contagious." - In Your Speakers

"EP Review in the Pittsburgh City Paper"

"The band's uniqueness stems from its use of a cello as a fourth instrument (complementing the guitar, banjo and bass). The songs are well written; the cello is great when it augments the sound like a fiddle would... the talent underlying the album, along with the novel setup, indicates that this could be a band that goes far." - Pittsburgh City Paper - Andy Mulkerin

"Her Campus Interview"

"The group's on-and-off-stage chemistry is charming and instantly apparent." - Her Campus Pittsburgh

"Download of the week on Largehearted Boy!"

Daily Downloads:

Arkells: Get to Know Arkells album [mp3]
The Beggars: "FRK (Make Up & Dancing Shoes)" [mp3]
Ferdinand the Bull: Ferdinand the Bull EP [mp3]
Jungle Doctors: "The Sea and the Rain" [mp3]
Mirva: One EP [mp3]
The Mitchells: Bird Feather EP album [mp3]
The Mitchells: The Mitchells album [mp3]
Sunset Pilgrims: "Newspaper" [mp3]
The Wild Wild: Bsides EP [mp3] - Largehearted Boy

"Pitt News Article"

As she hit the stage at Mr. Small’s Theater less than two weeks ago, Pitt student Lucy Clabby grabbed her tambourine and began singing over her fellow bandmates’ guitar and banjo strums.

“College seems to be the stuff of teenaged dreams, and looking back on them, I would do it all again, and I’d regret not a single thing,” she said.

As former Pitt student Dan Radin began his cello solo, the group of four — including Pitt students Nick Snyder and Evan Altieri — looked to be having a blast on stage at Mr. Small’s Theater. They make up the new band Ferdinand the Bull that focuses its songs on the ideas of youth and, well, just living.

“We are just singing about what we think,” said Snyder, a sophomore communications major who plays guitar and sings for the band. “Sometimes it’s about how the road is comfier than a warm home, sometimes it’s about unrequited feelings.”

Ferdinand the Bull’s folk-rock sound features acoustic guitar, cello, banjo and harmonizing vocals, a common setup among many popular artists including Mumford and Sons, The Avett Brothers and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. The parallels to these bands are clear, so it was appropriate that Ferdinand the Bull covered Edward Sharpe’s hit “Home” in its latest set.

All four members have been playing music since a young age. Both Clabby and Radin have been playing music since they could talk or read. Snyder has been playing guitar since seventh grade and Altieri has been playing since eighth. Though the group came together only recently, their chemistry was instantly apparent.

“The first time we all played together, it was a total ‘wow’ moment — just authentic,” said Radin, a first-year graduate student at Carnegie Mellon University who plays cello and sings backup in the band. Radin graduated from Pitt in April 2013.

The group members met each other through Snyder, who was friends with Altieri in high school and who met Clabby and Radin at Radin’s old fraternity house. The quartet instantly hit it off when their conversations led to music.

Although they’ve only played together for four months, the four already feel confident in each other’s abilities. Their show at Mr. Small’s was their first major live performance together.

“We still have so much to learn, but it was really encouraging to see so many people come out to let us share our work with them so early in our career together,” said Clabby, a sophomore theater arts and English writing major who sings lead vocals for the band.

“To almost sell out [Mr. Small’s] is unreal, especially after having been there a lot to see other shows over the years,” Radin said. “Acts like the Arctic Monkeys, My Morning Jacket and Ben Folds have played on that same stage. It was a huge stepping stone to play this showcase.”

Radin also serves as the band’s manager, earning him the nickname “Danager” from his bandmates. He’s booked more live shows for the coming months, some with other local bands, at venues including California University of Pennsylvania and the Altar Bar.

All four members find they thrive while on the stage and agree that live music is especially important for musicians and music-lovers alike. Each member had their own take on performing live.

“I’d have to say that my favorite thing about performing live is being able to share your music with other people who actually want to listen to it,” said Altieri, a Pitt sophomore who plays banjo, guitar and harmonica for the band and sings backup. “That and being cheered for — being cheered for is very cool.”

“It’s the best way to listen to music,” Snyder said. “I’ve seen so many great bands, and the music just feels so honest live. You can feel what they’re feeling without having the medium of a laptop or iPod.”

“Live performance is my favorite part of being in a band,” added Clabby, who is used to performing on the stage as an actress. “Performing is real, it’s happening right now, in front of you. When you’re on stage, you just have to give it everything you have.”

“Performing live is literally one of my favorite things in life,” said Radin, who has been performing all his life through various outlets including Three Rivers Young Peoples Orchestras and the University of Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. “It’s where people connect, to say, ‘Hey man, I get you, you get me, we’ve shared this experience together and I understand where you’re coming from.’ That’s the power of music.”

While live performances are where Ferdinand the Bull feels it is at it’s strongest, the band is also planning on writing some new music and recording an EP in the near future.

“Ultimately, I want to have the ability in the future, to look back and say that I had a great time doing something I love — playing music,” Altieri said.

Radin agrees. For him, it’s all about forging connections between individuals.

“We’re making music we think people will connect with — young people, dealing with school, love interests, growing up, unyielding optimism for the future,” Radin said. “We want to share this with anyone and everyone. We want to move you in any way we can.”

It’s the content of their music that makes the members of Ferdinand the Bull feel they can connect with their audience of fellow students. The popularity of well-known, similar-sounding bands shows there is obvious interest in this genre of music, and Ferdinand the Bull is hoping to catch a piece of that popularity. While the band feels the potential to release an album is promising, they all still agree in the power of the live performance.

“I think it’s easier for me in some ways to open up emotionally in front of a bunch of people on stage than one-on-one,” said Clabby. “That’s what’s incredible about live performance. When you share that experience with someone, whether you’re on stage or dancing in the audience, you’ve created a uniquely beautiful experience for each other. There’s nothing like it.” - Pitt News

"Interview with LeboMag"

"What has two ears, two horns and a full, hairy beard? Ferdinand the Bull, or at least the Pittsburgh-based folk band’s logo does. The group’s four members—Evan Altieri, Mike Dice, Mt. Lebanon graduate Dan Radin and Nick Snyder—employ a cello, upright bass, harmonica, banjo and guitar between them and their sound, inspired by bands like The Head and the Heart, Iron & Wine, and The Lumineers is catching on. In October alone, they played eight shows.

Radin isn’t new to the stage and for his contemporaries at Mt. Lebanon High School, he’s not an unfamiliar face. He played cello throughout his school years in both symphonies and chamber groups, at weddings and cocktail hours. During Radin’s senior year at Mt. Lebanon High School, he played Gaston in the production of Beauty and the Beast. And it was on that same familiar wooden stage that he first played guitar for an audience, during the annual Holiday Show for seniors. Having these experiences, Radin says, set a strong foundation for where he is now.

The band members’ paths crisscrossed seemingly at random. Radin met Snyder through a mutual friend during college, Snyder and Altieri were hometown friends, and Dice came along a few months later through more mutual friends of Radin’s.

So what’s it like? More than anything, Radin likes all the new faces and places that come along with playing in Ferdinand the Bull. He lists, “people who helped organize the Occupy movement, opening for internationally touring acts, people in the media and local music scene enthusiasts” as a few of the thought-provoking people he’s been privileged to meet as part of the gig. Impressive in itself is the band’s list of previous gigs; the website lists 34 concerts.

Radin juggles a lot. He’s currently enrolled in Carnegie Mellon University’s Masters of Health Care Policy and Management program, a two-year commitment. In addition to grad school, he’s a middle school youth group director at Beth El, an intern at CMU’s H. John Heinz III College and the band’s manager. “Coffee is my gasoline,” he admits. “I live by my paper planner. Planning ahead is key, as is organization.” He adds his social life has taken a hit since beginning the band and “it’s a real bonus when my friends come to shows.”

But Ferdinand the Bull pays dividends, at least in the self-improvement department. “Being in front of a large crowd doesn’t faze me anymore. There’s no anxiety anymore in the spotlight, asking questions, presenting for strangers or talking with people for the first time. Managing the band and performing has been an incredible vehicle for growth and I’m excited to continue the journey.”

For Radin and Ferdinand the Bull, the journey continues first with saving up for studio time. Their first EP, available free of charge online, sounds polished but was recorded in a basement, and the group wants the chance to record a proper album. They also want to do a big tour this summer. Radin says, “growing is the number-one goal, though: as writers, as performers, as community members, as people.”

One big question remains, though: why “Ferdinand the Bull”? Radin explains that as kids, members of the band read a Spanish children’s story named Ferdinand the Bull about a peaceful bull that’s forced into bullfighting. Instead of succumbing to the pressure, the bull sits and smells the flowers in the arena. Later in life, the band learned to really appreciate the pacifist undertones of the story and decided to memorialize it.

It seems the name is working for them; from Vermont to Mr. Smalls, audiences turn out to watch the group play. And while they’ve already sold out shows and played out of state in chilly Vermont, they also spend plenty of time close to home with a monthly residency at Bloomfield’s Saturday Market and house shows all over Pennsylvania. As the journey continues for Ferdinand the Bull, their fans are certain to follow." - LeboMag

"Interview at AP Collection"

"Evan, Mike, Dan, and Nick, also known as Ferdinand the Bull, stop by to talk shop about music. Winding through a conversation from inspiration and influence, to the tastes handed down from parents, the band and Genevieve take a bit of time on each. Thoughts on covers, nuts and bolts of instruments, and the crushing disappointment of showing someone music, this chat spans several aspects of the music world. Each member shares their history and connection with music after beginning with a sample of their musical offerings." - AP Collecter

"As seen in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette"

"Patrons gathered to raise hope for the children of Haiti on Thursday night at Stage AE with a benefit cocktail party and musical entertainment by Ferdinand the Bull to help build and sustain a school and orphanage founded by Haitian architect Chedlin Justinvil." - Pittsburgh Post Gazette


We have released one official EP as a band. This was released in September of 2014. It is posted under the music section.



Pittsburgh: A Tradition Unlike Any Other

It's only natural that the band members' paths first crossed at the University of Pittsburgh.  Each young man saw in the city of Pittsburgh the opportunity to further an education, pursue an art, and improve an equally supportive local community.  Playing modern folk music brought together these four total strangers to celebrate their tales of life as students and young professionals.  With each passing gig, exponentially more people have stepped out of the Pittsburgh community to get behind the young band.  The folk tunes echo the American working class tradition we all share.

The band has ripped through the underground scene throughout western Pennsylvania. Drawing comparisons to the Avett Brothers, Mumford & Sons, and The Head and the Heart, the sound has connected with a wide audience.  January's sold-out performance at the Strip District Music Festival in Pittsburgh marks the 50th show played by Ferdinand the Bull in their first year together.  College campuses across the city have surrounded the band with a growing buzz, garnering equal attention a la features in local publications like the Pitt News, HerCampus Pittsburgh, and the Pittsburgh City Paper.  Highlights include performances at Stage AE, the Hard Rock Cafe, Altar Bar, and headlining/selling out a local showcase at Mr. Smalls Funhouse.  Dozens of basements, porches, and makeshift stages have hosted the quartet at student house shows.  The band has also played on-air for Pitt's radio station WPTS, and played on-campus shows at Pitt and Carnegie Mellon in support of student organizations such as CMU Greek Life and Pitt's Original Magazine.  In the tradition of giving back to the community, the band has played in support of benefits for charities like Habitat for Humanity, BuildOn, Bridges to Prosperity, and the Yahve-Jira Children's Foundation.  The band members excitedly anticipate sharing their music with a wider audience via a national tour in 2015.

Pittsburgh is a town built on the American dream. Our grandparents were among the legions of blue collar workers that worked the long hours in the steel mills, and laid a foundation of a brand of people unafraid to get their hands dirty.  In the wake of the collapse of the once-booming steel mills, Pittsburgh has reinvented itself as a hub for technology, education, and innovation.  As the face of the city has evolved, the Pittsburghers' tradition, work ethic, and quest for continuous improvement has only grown stronger.  Fewer musical acts encompass the young heart of old-school Pittsburgh as completely as Ferdinand the Bull. 

Band Members