Farm To Turntable:
Analog Rock with Andy Gabbard of Buffalo Killers
Words by Audra Tracy
Photo Credit: Erin Gabbard
When Buffalo Killers say they make homegrown rock n roll, they really mean it. Brothers Andy and Zachary Gabbard spend their days holed up inside an actual barn in Ohio, capturing all those organic bursts of creativity on analog tape. The result is a collection of psychedelic, bluesy grooves that make up the solid new record, Alive and Well in Ohio, which drops this October 20 via Alive Naturalsound.
Leading up to the release, songwriter Andy Gabbard gave us the dirt on the new album, the band’s devotion to analog production, and the many virtues of recording on a farm…
Enjoying the new songs so far! Tell us about the new album, Alive and Well in Ohio. Is there an intention or message behind the new music?
Andy Gabbard: Thank you very much! Ya know, there isn’t much of an intention or message. We’re just songwriters and we try to capture the ideas as they come to us. This time around there weren’t really any tunes that got left out. We were happy with what we were bringing to the band, and we just focused on recording it how we envisioned, and we were learning a lot along the way.
You guys recorded at Howler Hills Farm, which seems like your own personal artist sanctuary. What is the vibe like on the farm – can you paint us a picture?
AG: The barn has been our rehearsal space for the last 5 or 6 years (I think. Maybe more.) so it’s very comfortable to us. We all have our own little corner. And now each section has wires and microphones at the ready to record. We don’t always do it but we now have that option to put something on tape if we want. It’s very convenient. And there’s a lot of trees and land so you can pretty much go pee anywhere you want outside. Or lay on a hammock. Or hang out in a chicken coop. It’s not your average studio.
Analog recording is an important part of the Buffalo Killers sound. Do you think digital recording software robs some of the ‘soul’ from a musical moment?
AG: Not at all. We just prefer to record to tape ourselves. It’s a stronger master to have of your music. It’s the closest thing you’ll get to hearing the raw sound of us playing live in the studio. It gets dumbed down more each time it’s converted to something else (lp, cd, mp3). But I think the “soul” comes from the artist or group that’s playing the music. The “soul” gets lost when you use autocorrection on your voice or sometimes when you cut out all the “bleed” and open space from each individual sound wave with your mouse. But I still enjoy a lot of music that is digital and chopped up. Some artists can get away with it I guess… haha.
How do you picture your fans enjoying the album? Is there an ideal listening environment?
AG: I imagine a BK superfan maybe putting on our record while taking a sip of a beverage and when the first song kicks in maybe spitting it all over themselves because IT BLOWS THEIR MIND. Ideal listening environment? Maybe somebody’s Mom’s basement mid day while playing T&C Surf Designs on Nintendo? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
After 8 albums, do you think your overall sound or style has evolved? How so?
AG: I believe so. I hope so. It’s kind of like a roller coaster ride I guess. We are always changing mentally and going through different phases. All of our albums are a little different and they’ve all had a different approach. Over time I feel like we have learned who we are and what we can do and how to achieve it. At the end of the day we are just music fans/nerds who get the opportunity to release music. And that’s all we care about is just creating music and making it available for whoever wants to hear it.
Any plans to tour this year, or in 2018?
AG: If the right opportunity comes along we wouldn’t pass it up. We’d love more than anything to get out and play for everyone who supports us!
Alive and Well in Ohio will be available on October 20. Go ahead, order it here!
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