Interview with local band Buxter Hoot’n

With their recently released album, local group Buxter Hoot’n have explored musical stylings ranging from southern twang to soothing violin melodies. The SF group have been on the road as of late promoting their new self-titled release. Amidst the shows and gigs, the band had a chance to take a break from their bluesy grooves to answer a few interview questions.

Daily Californian: What are your influences?

Buxter Hoot’n: We have a very broad range of influences, and in a lot of cases it’s the non-musical influences that influence our music the most.

People like comedians, Bill Hicks and Andy Kaufman, poets, Federico Garcia Lorca and Jack Kerouac, and outlaws like Scotty Scurlock are at the forefront of our influences because they lived it. They expressed truth at all costs and they made it into brilliant art.

As far as musical influences, the list is endless but here’s a few. the Rolling Stones, Allman Brothers, Beatles, Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan, Townes Van Zandt, Charles Mingus, Lou Reed, Muddy Waters, Motown, Sam Cooke, Nina Simone, Karen Dalton, Beach Boys, the Kinks, Talking Heads.

DC: What are your views on the current music scene (synths, drum machines, pop music, etc.)?

BH: There are a lot of great things happening in music today and I wouldn’t say something is bad because it uses modern technology like synths or drum machines, it’s possible for those things to be used tastefully and artistically. But in general, I think it usually sounds terrible. Mainstream pop music is not something you can go to to hear what is really happening out there today, it’s more like a commercial that runs continuously.  It doesn’t mean there hasn’t been some great popular music, but I think it’s important to go against the grain.  You can’t beat real instruments and it’s always nice when an artist has a message that is critical of the ‘dumbing down of the masses’ agenda that is present in popular culture.

DC: I like that the band has never conformed to popular trends or have been swayed to change their style. How do you keep your style original and not conforming to the masses?

BH: We are always writing new material. So, in that way we are always challenging ourselves to build on our previous ideas and continue to be original. We don’t really look to the masses for approval. We write with each other in mind as the intended audience. We have a group of 5 very strongly opinionated people in this band and a great group of core friends and other artists who we mainly surround ourselves with. We are all writing and working and bouncing ideas off of one another constantly. If there is something we all can agree on as being good, that’s the approval we are looking for.

DC: The band’s sound seemed to evolve with this latest album. What were some of the changes, if any, with making the 3rd album?

BH: The main difference is in the way we recorded this album. Previously, our albums have been the result of numerous studio recording dates spreading over months in time. With this album, we recorded everything in 3 non-stop days. Vince and Jimmy are from the Midwest and have a close friend who is a producer in Chicago. So, while we were touring there last Fall we took 3 days off to record with him. It ended up being 3, 16 hour days of recording and then we would fall asleep on the studio floor and  wake up and do it all again. We were lucky to be working with an incredible group of engineers and at a great studio. It was a very collaborative effort between everyone involved.  Being able to stay so single-mindedly focused on the album and having the group of engineers who were so skilled and passionate kept everyone working at their peak level.

DC: How has touring been for the band so far? How have fans responded to the new album?

BH: Touring has been great and the enthusiasm fans are showing for the new album has been a great inspiration for us. As a young independent band it is not easy to get ahead. We do all the booking ourselves. There are always compromises that need to be made in order to get it all accomplished. The touring itself, is icing on the cake. We play a lot of our best shows on the road.

DC: What is your favorite touring memory?

BH: We have toured up and down the west coast, the midwest and the east coast and it’s always amazing to unexpectedly find fan support that you didn’t know you had. Seattle has become one of our favorite cities to visit and selling out shows in Indiana, Oregon and Boston were unexpected thrills. Of course, you can’t beat playing in NYC. Autumn in New York, which we did last year, was a definite highlight.

Image Courtesy: Buxter Hoot’n