Avi Buffalo‘s time is stretched pretty thin right now. So, it was very kind of Avi to take time out and answer some questions via email.
A couple of notes about the interview:
- I was very excited that there was an answer to my question about Wilco. That could have been a really stupid question had I misinterpreted Avi’s music.
- Also glad to hear that there’s already talk of evolving as a band and a songwriter. No Jack Johnson here. So look out for a different sound on the next Avi Buffalo release.
Now, check out the interview!
Josh Terzino: Thanks so much for taking the time out to answer some of my questions. I’ve been a big supporter of the band since I listened to your stuff on MySpace after you were announced as playing the 80/35 Festival in Des Moines. I couldn’t make it to that show, so I’m really looking forward to catching you at Schubas on Wednesday.
Some of our readers may not know where you all met and got started, so could you give us a brief recap of how things went at the beginning?
Avi Buffalo: I started the project just recording in my room with a computer microphone, eventually i was asked to play shows via myspace because of those recordings, then i formed a full band and started taking gigs as they came, and had a vague rule of never saying no to shows, then I met Aaron Embry and we started recording just for fun on his pro tools rig and it was really fun, recording a couple new songs and redoing old ones in the hi-fidelity setting started forming a record.
JT: For a debut album, it is fairly ambitious. When you were recording did you ever think that you had bit off more than you can chew?
AB: Well, i’ve had weird little freakouts to myself about a follow up because the songs on our debut are from a span of like 3 years, the first of which were written with very uninhibited, natural intent, so I was lucky to have a range of songs to work with, though now i’m writing bits and pieces of songs and i feel like stuff is pretty diverse.
JT: You guys recently played the Solid Sound Festival with Chicago’s own Wilco. I hear some mutual influences between you. What bands do you think influenced your sound and how much are you conscious of trying to NOT sound like someone else?
AB: That was amazing, Wilco has always been a really important band to me for lots of reasons, I met Nels Cline in Los Angeles when I was about 15 and got to know him through his side projects and fell in love with that stuff. My favorite Wilco record is A Ghost Is Born, which is produced and played on a lot by Jim O’Rourke, so Wilco also got me really into all the stuff he does, his guitar playing inspires me a lot, and of course I ended up tracing him back to Fahey and am now trying to get more into that. As the type of guitar player i am there are traditional folk things i’m drawn to naturally, but artists like them add a twist to it that I like.
JT: You guys are from California, and your album has some aspects of that sunshiny, good-time vibe, but it generally exists over pretty somber lyrics. How do you find the right balance for that dynamic to work? Have you worked on songs that were way too far to one side and had to be shelved?
AB: I’m glad you noticed! Sometimes I worry that our music is coming off too happily and I really don’t want that. A lot of the “sunshine” of the record has to do with the fact that I was recording with a pretty sunshiney dude, and we just kind of let loose with guitar and whacky stuff. I plan to get different, probably heavier tones on the next record.
JT: Since your record came out at the end of April, you’ve been touring non-stop. You finished a summer tour here in the States, then went overseas. Now you’re back and finishing up your last leg of the tour. What kind of toll has your first transcontinental tour taken on the band?
AB: It’s taken a pretty hefty toll, but I think that’s a good thing. I learned a lot about people, myself, life, etc. I think we went a LITTLE too hard, but that’s okay too, and what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!
JT: After a year or so of playing the songs off your album, especially some of the more heartbreaking tracks like “Jessica” (which I think is even with “Bear” by The Antlers for the best heartbreakers I’ve heard this year), how much are you looking forward to a break?
AB: I’m greatly looking forward to it, for the writing, recording, creative exploration’s sake mostly. I’m gonna do some school, a little bit of California coast exploring(Big Sur, Santa Cruz) and write music.
JT: What should fans expect from a Avi Buffalo live performance?
AB: What we’ve fallen into lately is a lot of very guitar-drums driven stuff, some more almost-jazz rock stuff, but it’s still just rock. It’s messy in a good way! but sometimes very quiet and clean too.
JT: What kind of material have you been working on and when should we start thinking about the NEXT Avi Buffalo record?
AB: Some darker acoustic stuff, back to the whispery computer microphone, some loop based movements, and god knows what else. It should be lots of fun for me.
- Avi Buffalo will be playing at Schubas on Wednesday at 9 p.m. with New Ruins and Whisker Music. Tickets are $12.
- Check out my review of Avi Buffalo’s self-titled debut!