An Interview with Andy Gabbard of The Buffalo Killers

Words by Nick Hodgins

The hook-heavy psychedelic Ohio rockers known as the Buffalo Killers have just released their fifth studio album, Heavy Reverie, this week under Sun Pedal Recordings. The new album grooves and rocks in all the right ways with a wide range of everything that is good about rock and roll.

Much of the songwriting for Heavy Reverie was done in “the middle of nowhere, Ohio,” where the crew finds solace rehearsing on the farm owned by their bass player and vocalist Zach Gabbard. His brother, Andrew Gabbard, guitarist and vocalist, appreciates the solitude associated with the farm, though his writing is not confined to the location.

“It’s a good escape place to tinker out songs as a band,” explained Andy, but he admitted the songwriting is constantly going on in the back of his mind. “I try to get to a guitar as quick as I can to pick out the notes and put a song together.”

Referring to it as a natural process, Andy went into detail about his approach to songwriting – “a lot of my songs are based around the melody, and I write vague lyrics about my life or not about anything at all.”

He continues, “Once you throw your song to wolves, the band, someone can add their touch and bring life to an idea. I’ll envision a melody or a section or a full band, and I’ll just try to piece it together to create whatever it was that came to me. Sometimes, once you sit with the guitar, you realize it’s crap,” he said with a laugh.

Heavy Reverie, along with all of their past work, was recorded live, as The Buffalo Killers prefer the honesty that accompanies a live recording. “We are not trying to fool anyone,” Andy stated, “we sound the way we sound.”

The album was recorded in just five days at Crushtone Studios in Cleveland, with Producer Jim Wirt (Incubus, Jack’s Mannequin). Typically it’ll only take a few good takes for the foursome to get a recording they are happy with. “We are always ready when we are in the studio,” said Andy. “It’s fun to learn new songs together. So once we’re comfortable we’ll knock them out.”

As far as axeology goes, Andy plays one of his two Gibson Firebirds, mostly through his Fender Deluxe amp, which he also owns two of. To achieve that gritty reverb heard so much throughout Heavy Reverie, Andy uses two fuzz pedals, as well as a delay pedal, all of which are made by Earthquaker Devices.

The Buffalo Killers are in the midst of touring, where they can be found rocking the stage with a set consisting primarily of the new stuff. “We always rock out and give every song a hundred percent,” said Andy, “and we are always open to requests if someone has a certain song of ours they want to hear. We do our best.” | Heavy Reverie