Having played three instruments myself, I always admired multi-instrumentalists. It not only shows that the musician has ample skill to pull off symphonies, but it also exhibits dedication to the art of sound.

The only problem with multi-instrumentalists is that they often have so much passion for music running through their veins that they want to play all of the instruments all the time. If only we as humans had more arms and legs to pull this off…

Oh, wait, we don’t need more extremities—we just need hybrid instruments!

An indie rock band from Ukraine wanted a special instrument for their music video

Image credits: Brunettes Shoot Blondes

Enter Brunettes Shoot Blondes and their ingenious 20-piece multi-instrument. One day, Andrii Kovalov, the frontman of the band, had an idea to play their then latest track—Houston—on something more special. They were thinking of using an instrument that did not exist yet, but one that they could design and put together themselves. Easier said than done, but it proved to be possible and worth it.

Brunettes Shoot Blondes is an indie rock-electronic band from Ukraine, consisting of members Andrii Kovalov, Roman Sobol, Yevhen Kobzaruk, and Dmytro Leonov. In the ten years that the band has been active, they have released a handful of EPs and singles, including Bittersweet, Houston, and Knock Knock, the last of which brought them international fame. Bored Panda reached out to Brunettes Shoot Blondes for an interview on their impressive “two-man-orchestra” piano.

Image credits: Brunettes Shoot Blondes

After a bit of brainstorming & “crowdsourcing”, they came up with a 20-in-1 instrument design

Image credits: Brunettes Shoot Blondes

“When I was a kid, I used to have this Yamaha keyboard where you’ve got all the sounds you can imagine: strings, percussion, organ, xylophone, etc.,” explained Andrii Kovalov the origins of the idea. “I could spend all day long just playing around with it. Years later, this weird idea popped into my head: wouldn’t it be cool to recreate this home keyboard, but using an actual grand piano? All other instruments could be built-in so that the piano keys would make them play. So, I told my friends Roman Sobol (bandmate) and Kirill Svetashov (director of photography) about this idea and they said: ‘it’s crazy but we should give it try’.” (Immediately, a huge thank you to everyone believing in this!)

So, the initial idea was to take a grand piano and to transform it to play several different instruments using the same piano keyboard setup. They also wanted to get something that has been old and broken so that they could breathe new life into it. Soon enough, the band went out and found themselves a vintage piano. They also went to Facebook and asked their friends to donate instruments that they don’t need. Roughly 20 instruments later, they had what they needed, so they got to brainstorming what (and how) they wanted to pull the instrument off.

Image credits: Brunettes Shoot Blondes

They repurposed an old grand piano, shoved a bunch of other donated instruments & hooked it all up

Image credits: Brunettes Shoot Blondes

Needless to say, the Brunettes Shoot Blondes went nuts with the design. Apart from the grand piano still retaining a part of its sounds, albeit adjusted to fit the insane design, the hybrid instrument also featured a percussion set (drums, cymbals, tambourines, marimba, etc.) as well as an organ, melodica, castanets, and even other string instruments like violins and a cello.

We asked the Andrii whether they gave a special name to the piano, but no—they didn’t. “We just call it ‘The Piano’ because it’s the only one we have,” laughs Andrii.

However, there is a special reason why it was a piano in the first place, as explains frontman Andrii: “[The piano] was probably the only way to make everything work. Plus, we really wanted to experience this feeling when you press a piano key, but you start hearing cello or something else. We actually got lucky that the piano we found was very old. The construction was made in a way that allowed us to put everything inside. So, we basically divided everything into 3 sections: the left one for strings and organ, the middle one for the piano, and the right one for percussion.”

Image credits: Brunettes Shoot Blondes

3 years have passed from the initial idea to the first rehearsal

Image credits: Brunettes Shoot Blondes

What seemed like a DIY project quickly became a grand-scale (pun not intended) project that involved a number of craftspeople. On top of it all, it involved more than just piecing together a bunch of instruments—things like sewing machine mechanisms for the organ’s air supply and additional cables to imitate the bows for the violins also needed to be implemented. In the Making of video, Kovalov explained that the span between the initial idea and the first rehearsal was 3 years—something he was a bit terrified to admit.

When asked what was the hardest part about making the instrument, this is what Brunettes Shoot Blondes had to say: “The most difficult thing was to finish everything. We were working on the instrument for three (!) years and sometimes we had this feeling that it’s never going to end. We were lucky to find the right people who could help us with the engineering part. Also, we weren’t sure about the design. We spent days upon days on Photoshop just trying to find the coolest way the piano could be designed in.”

Image credits: Brunettes Shoot Blondes

Image credits: Brunettes Shoot Blondes

When the music video came out, it went viral immediately, garnering hundreds of thousands of views in mere hours. The song was also performed in Vidbir, Ukraine’s national music competition to determine the country’s representative in the Eurovision Song Contest, and the band continues to perform Houston in their concerts using the same authentic instrument.

So, that leaves us with one more question: are there going to be any more songs using this instrument? “Currently, we don’t have any plans for new material,” explained Andrii of Brunettes Shoot Blondes. “We released our own song using the piano and I think that having one video is enough for us at the moment. There is also a cool thing about it: we don’t want to keep the instrument forever, so we decided that it will now be available for sale. Anybody can buy it and perform their own music using the instrument. Simple as that!”

If you are interested in acquiring this hand-crafted piece (or should I say, 20 pieces) of musical art, the band has set up a website to sell the piano. It is currently going for 99,999 US dollars, so this is a heads up to all music instrument aficionados, collectors, and devout musicians who want to get their hands on a unique musical experience.

Take a look at the band’s music video featuring the 20-piece hybrid instrument

Image credits: Brunettes Shoot Blondes

The band also released a video explaining how they pulled it off

Image credits: Brunettes Shoot Blondes

Check out the rest of the photos of the grandiose instrument provided by Brunettes Shoot Blondes

Image credits: Brunettes Shoot Blondes

Image credits: Brunettes Shoot Blondes

Image credits: Brunettes Shoot Blondes

Image credits: Brunettes Shoot Blondes

Image credits: Brunettes Shoot Blondes

Image credits: Brunettes Shoot Blondes

Image credits: Brunettes Shoot Blondes

Image credits: Brunettes Shoot Blondes

Image credits: Brunettes Shoot Blondes

Image credits: Brunettes Shoot Blondes

Image credits: Brunettes Shoot Blondes

Image credits: Brunettes Shoot Blondes