Young Buffalo’s debut full length album House, is available NOW via Votiv Records and features “My Place,” “No Idea,” “Sykia,” and “Black Eye.”
Young Buffalo graciously took time to answer questions about House, and the excitement surrounding their debut full-length release.
Check out Young Buffalo’s webpage for news, updates and to buy House! Listen to slections from House @Young Buffalo Soundcloud.
Young Buffalo will be performing Tonight at The Troubadour in Los Angeles, California as part of their spring tour with Matt Pond PA. More Info/Tickets HERE!
How has Young Buffalo’s sound changed/evolved since it formed in 2009?
When we started in ’09 there were three of us (Alex Hardberger left the band in ’11), so we were limited when it came to how we would write and record. Now, with Ben and myself as the chief songwriters, we don’t really think about limits musically when working on new material or recording. We really just try and get the best version of the song written and recorded, whether it’s minimal or expansive. I think we’ve stayed true to what we were initially going for all those years ago, but we’ve adapted and grown up a bit. We’re not afraid of guitars being loud…
What inspired House?
Loving the place where you live, but not being to leave and experience life outside of a place like Oxford, MS inspired House. Being in a band that has been producing music and touring infrequently for years without much to show for it inspired House. It is by no means a “breakup record’, but depression as a result of one inspired me on the album. And finally, getting together out at Will (our keyboardist) and Ben’s cabin (The House, if you will) and creating music or hanging out with the people you love… that’s the big inspiration.
Which of the songs on House was the hardest to write?
“My Place” was probably the hardest to write. It went through a lot of different stages… I wrote a version of it when I was 18 and writing some of the first Young Buffalo stuff. In that demo version, there was a really fast drum machine beat and the only instrument was synth and maybe a little guitar. When Ben and I were writing for House, we revisited it just to see if there was anything we could do with it. We slowed it WAY down and Ben picked out the vocal melody on the guitar and everything clicked. We got to L.A. and did even more work on it to get to the version that’s on the album. That song was the hardest by far I think. Most of the other songs were relatively painless.
As a five-member ensemble, how would you describe the dynamic between members?
We’re all friends and love hanging out even when we’re not on the road. That being said, we definitely argue and get testy with each other. I think we all have the most fun playing these new songs together whether it’s on stage or messing around at practice. I think we’ve finally got the crew that it takes to go out and tour albums now, and I don’t know if YB has ever had that!
What makes for a successful collaboration and what did you learn from working on House together?
What makes for a successful collaboration is a ton of trust in who you’re working with, and also taking your ego out of the equation so that compromise can happen. Writing for the album, with each song Ben and I got better about compromising; not worrying about whose song it was and really worrying about the song itself. I think we learned just that- worry about the song that you’re making and don’t worry about anything else.
House marks your full-length debut, what differences were there working in a longer L.P. format VS. an E.P.?
Right off the bat we had to write about twenty more songs than we had to do for EP’s. With an EP, all you need is an 8-10 song set that you play live and pick the best 4-6. We had to go back to the drawing board on a lot of songs and really dig for some tunes that weren’t in our minds at the beginning of the writing process. As for recording, tracking everything takes about twice as long and you have to prioritize everything so you don’t run out of time! I don’t think I’ve ever been as proud of something that I’ve worked on more than House. After recording two EP’s and various 7-inches for years, having an LP with our name on it is everything. Creating a full body of work, a collection of songs that explain where you are musically, artistically, emotionally, spiritually etc.; that’s what we’ve been chasing for the last six years!
Are the songs on House connected in any way?
The songs are all connected, but more so on the production side of things. Lyrically, I was coming from a pretty different place from Ben, having gone through a pretty nasty breakup and being in a pretty terrible place emotionally… None of the songs tell a story really, or connect in that way. Nothing was preconceived for this record. I think the entirety of House is lyrically and aesthetically connected, whether we were really going for it or not, and for that we have to thank our producer Dave Schiffman a whole lot!
What is the most challenging part of the recording process?
Staying patient when sounds/takes just aren’t working out. That’s a big one… Also, Ben says recording tambourine!
Who are some bands/musicians that have inspired/influenced Young Buffalo’s sound?
We really got into bands like Big Star and ELO while we were writing/recording House. Some bands that have inspired/influenced our sound would be The Smiths (Johnny Marr is one of Ben’s biggest inspirations), Talking Heads (Stop Making Sense was a big influence on the record), and some newer artists like Panda Bear, Mac Demarco, and Tobias Jesso Jr.
Where can we find Young Buffalo online?