STILL ALIVE & WELL: Buffalo Killers

With a new, self-produced album just out, the Cincy outfit aims to keep rockin’ “whether or not anyone gives a shit.” Pictured above: Zach and Andy Gabbard.

BY JOHN B. MOORE

Cincinnati’s Buffalo Killers tried things a little bit different with their eighth album. Going it alone without a producer, they holed up at their Howler Hills Farm recording studio and just let the songs roll out.

If that meant the levels were a little off or the feedback a little loud, so be it. It was going to be their record, made their way. And it’s hard to argue with the results. Alive And Well In Ohio (Alive Naturalsound Records) though very much like their earlier albums in spirit—the group’s been together since 2006—has a little more organic feel to it. There’s still that psychedelic, stoner rock vibe, with snatches of blues and pop, but the feel is a bit rawer, as well.Singer/guitarist Andy Gabbard spoke with BLURT recently about the making of Alive And Well In Ohio, flying solo in the studio and what lies ahead.

BLURT: You took a little more time than usual following up Heavy Reverie and Fireball of Sulk (both released in 2014). Was that a conscious decision?

Nope. Not a conscious decision. We just worked on one or two songs at a time. We were recording it ourselves so were learning a lot of things along the way. We wanted to keep going and make a double LP but we realized we were taking too long (laughs).

 You guys recorded this at your studio on Howler Hills Farm. Was this your first time recording there? How did that experience compare to going to just a standard recording studio?

First album we’ve recorded ourselves at the studio, yes. It’s a lot different. It’s your own gear and resources, your own time, you’re not paying by the hour (laughs).

It was a different experience as far as creating our songs as well, because we could do what we wanted. Didn’t have to follow the rules. Recorded things in the red and left feedback in the song. It’s a bit more work but the final result is more satisfying.

 In writing and putting together Alive And Well in Ohio, was there a specific sound or vibe you were going for?

We never have a vibe in mind. We just have the songs and we try our best to give them as much life as possible. We try to make our instruments and vocals complement each other. We always keep the take with the best energy and try and make the songs flow well throughout the entire piece.

Is it tougher working without an outside producer?

Working without a producer is a lot easier, actually. Having an outsider tell you what to do with your song kinda sucks unless it’s someone you really trust and respect. But you can learn a lot from a producer I guess?

Were you guys listening to anything in particular around the time you started working on this new one that had an influence on the record?

Nothing really had a direct influence on the music we were making. I mean, we love the Beatles. Those albums are something we listen to as inspiration on how to play and record amongst other things.

I can’t recall exactly what I was geeking out on at the time. Probably Once And Future Band or Thundercat.

What’s next for you guys?

We’re gonna play and promote this album for the rest of the year I assume. Beyond that we’re just gonna keep doing our thing. As long as the songs keep coming, we’ll keep playing and making albums whether or not anyone gives a shit (laughs).

 

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