I recently had the pleasure of talkin’ with the guys from The Buffalo Skinners, who are about to release a new 7” single (“Do What You Want”) on Friday, 21st June. We chatted about their pivot to new soundscapes and some other shit.
You guys have been together for the better part of a decade, but you haven’t released much in the last 3 years. Was this a conscious decision on your part to step away for a bit? What’d you do with your short time off?
In 2018, our then keys player Kieran left the band, so we kind of took some time to think about what to do from there and decided in the end to ask our friend Phil if he would be interested in playing lead guitar with us. We had a few rehearsals and it just seemed to work, but also was different enough for it to feel like the start of a new chapter as opposed to just trying to recreate what we had done before.That’s a perfect segue into the new 7″ you guys are promoting… The A-side ‘Do What You Want’ really does seem like the start of a new chapter. It’s got a bit more of an indie-rock, dare I say Strokes-ian, vibe than your previous work. Did Phil play a big part in the songwriting process for that tune?
Yes, for sure. Phil wrote ‘Do What You Want’ with Pete. We kind of wanted to launch straight into this next part of the band’s life, so using a song that has so much of Phil’s influence in there as the first single seemed like a good start.
Absolutely! It’s a really fun tune. You’ve got a music video to accompany it which is equally as fun. It views as if it’s a love letter to your hometown. Where was that filmed? And what does that place mean to you five?
Thank you! It’s filmed here in Sheffield where we’re based. Sheffield has been the band’s home for a few years now. We came here because it’s pretty easy to travel from Sheffield when we’re gigging, it’s cheap, and it’s a great place to be creative. There are so many artists, musicians, photographers and creatives knocking around, it’s easy to feel inspired and encouraged here I think. It’s also right next the peak district which is a national park, so it’s easy to get some calm and escape from the city when that’s needed too. Phil is actually from Manchester, as is Pete originally. I think “Do What You Want” is kind of how we feel about both Manchester and Sheffield, and cities in general really, where we feel more free to express our individuality within the diversity of the city.
I kind of got that vibe while watching the video, that it’s got a very creative air about it. The world needs more of that! I’ve never been, so humor me and play my travel agent for a second. If I’m ever lucky enough to be over in your neck of the woods, what’s the one thing I’ve got to see?
I agree! I think as a city Sheffield really supports independent businesses as opposed to chains. So I’d recommend visiting all the independent cafes, bars and shops. That way you’d get a real feel for the place.
Circling back to the upcoming release – on the flip side of that 7″ you’ve got a track called ‘You Say Love, You Mean Hate’. I have to gush for a second because I was particularly floored when I heard this one and had to play it a couple times in a row. It’s gorgeous. It’s a bit more like your previous stuff but all grown up, if I can say that. Tell me a little about this one.
Thanks so much! Pete wrote that song whilst he was on holiday in Crete. It definitely feels quite evocative of holiday memories for me too. We’ve been playing that for a few years now, we just hadn’t got round to recording it so it felt like a nice thing to do to put it out alongside “Do What You Want”. Where does the song take you?
What immediately grabbed me was the lush vocals. You’ve always been incredible at putting together harmonies but this arrangement particularly clicked for me. And then the song kind of ends in a different place from where it starts which is cool – a bit triumphant. To me, it’s got that ‘summertime, windows-down drive’ feel, (which is also code for ‘nostalgic’), so I’m looking forward to testing that theory out now that the weather’s getting a bit nicer over here! If I read correctly, you recorded both these songs to 2″ tape… what was the mentality there?
Ah that’s great! Thank you. Where are you writing from? We recorded at a place in Leeds called Greenmount Studios. We’ve done some stuff there before and really liked the place and the guys that run it, and we love the warmth of tape. So many of our favourite records are done to tape and these days you can combine old tape machines with new recording technology and kind of get the best of both worlds. We also recorded all the harmonies together around one mic which makes it easier to be in the song when we’re recording it, hopefully that comes across. It’s a much more natural way of doing it for us.
I love that – it absolutely comes across. The song does feel like a group of guys in a room making magic happen and technology could never emulate that 100%. I’m writing from New York – not the city, but upstate. Winter seems to last forever, and these days we hardly get a spring. But it’s 80 and sunny today so I’m absolutely going to enjoy that! So finally, you’ve got these two songs coming out in a couple weeks – what’s next on your agenda?
Ah cool! I think that’s where The Felice Brothers are from or somewhere around there, they’re one of our favourite bands. Next up for us is a tour of the UK in August, and we’ve just moved into a new practice space so lots of writing and working on getting ready to record another album when the time comes. Enjoy the sunshine and thanks so much for taking the time to talk, if you’re ever in Sheffield you’ve got some friends.