Cambridge Edition May 2023 - Web


ON THE SCENE BUZZ WORD Ahead of their gig at The Portland Arms, Miriam Balanescu speaks to blazing Welsh band Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard

A fter the runaway success of full- length debut Backhand Deals , Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard frontman Tom Rees wanted to steer the Cardiff rockers in a different direction. “I was obsessed with everything being super clean. I was like, ‘I’m going to show everybody what a clean record I can make, how pristine we can be and how we’re all great players,’” he says. “As much as I love that record, listening back to it, I think I got obsessed with the whole Steely Dan thing.” The four-piece are now bringing their new music around the UK, including a stop-off in Cambridge, but their sound is more brooding and grungy than fans may expect. Songs such as the recently released Chew are saturated with ferocious guitar solos, and the fresh influences are as varied as Happy Tree Friends , the ‘pizzagate’ conspiracy theory and Tom’s dog. “She’s around the 26kg mark, she’s pretty insane,” Tom explains. “When I walk down the street,

turmoil we’ve been experiencing in the past few years. “For a long time, I was trying to work out how I could write that into a song,” he says. “I was very much of the opinion that music should be in a position to challenge authority, whatever level that might be: societal or political. But as we grow older and see a lot of punk bands come and go with nothing really changing, it kind of puts into question: is this actually helping, or is everybody just getting super stressed out?” Panic Shack and Super Furry Animals are among other bands Tom says have embraced a more carefree attitude. “Wales is really good for that because it has had that outlook musically for a long time. Wales historically has been forgotten about politically and musically.” Contrasts and contradictions are integral. Though the new music is underpinned by their ever- constant sense of humour, this is melded with a brand-new murkier sound. The reason behind this, Tom explains, is that he

4 May

CHANGING TACK The band will bring new, grunge-vibe music to The Portland Arms

In the 70s, there’s only a handful of songs about dogs

a crucial decade for them. “Acknowledging your references is great, giving them a nod, but finding a particular way to pull them into this century is important. A lot of the time, I do it through lyrical references as well. There’s a lot more modernity to me speaking about people being afraid of my dog – whereas in the 70s, there’s only a handful of songs about dogs,” Tom jokes. “It has been about finding something funny, usually that Ethan our drummer says because he’s a constant chatterbox, working it into some contextual element of my life, and then having this fun thing that happens.” The new album centres around ‘fun’, Tom insists – especially after the political

people will grab their kids, cross the street or take a step back – people have screamed just at the sight of her… It would give me some weird sense of power. She kind of looks like a wolf. I guess if it was late at night, the lighting just right, you’d be afraid. But honestly, I load the dishwasher and she runs into the other room.” On the music: “It’s a bit darker, basically, allowing me to play way more guitar. I did it for selfish reasons. I just want to solo for 40 minutes every night.” A key philosophy behind the band’s music is looking to classic influences, but keeping it modern by using the technology available today, without trying to replicate a nostalgic sound. The 70s continues to be

felt an urgent, almost unexplainable need to change tack after Backhand Deals : “It was this horrifying experience where I realised I had given something to the world that I just couldn’t take back any more.” We’d just be Cannibal Corpse if we were serious all the time,” he laughs. While recording with The Bug Club recently, bassist Tilly Harris mused that ‘the only way to truth is contradiction’, a line Tom says is true of Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard. “You can find this interesting space that’s never been tried before.”

Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard perform at The Portland Arms on 4 May


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