Local Watch: Buchanan
Written by Alana Mazurke
Local Melbourne outfit Buchanan are dominating the radio right now and after the success of their most recent feat of a cover on the stations programme, the group lead by Josh Simons are acquiring a new air of eminence. Their recent release of debut album ‘Human Spring’ has seen more than its fair share of gloating reviews and I myself agree. The album maintains a common feel throughout and runs fluently, making it perfectly ok to listen to repeatedly. Favoured tracks off the album include For Tonight We Rest (Leaves), Par Avion, Sit It Out and most revered would have to be their undoubtedly catchy self titled track and first single from the album Human Spring. I can sense this band wants to be taken seriously and the high valued production of the album proves this. Their live show is full of uncharted energy which is reflected by all patrons who attend; even after a tour hiatus the band returned as if they had just came off an recent stint of shows – recharged and willing to please. Josh took some time out to answer some queries about the new release and what Buchanan has been doing as of late.
This morning you did a Triple J ‘Like A Version’ this morning. What did the band decide to play and what made you choose that song? Speaking of; how hard was it to choose something that you think emanates the band well with the abundance of songs out there?
We played Thinkin Bout You by Frank Ocean. We wanted to play a fairly recent song that we all liked and had been listening to lately. And also songs that we could put a Buchanan spin on. We didn’t want to just cover a song, but rather try and do something interesting with it. I’m extremely proud of how it turned out.
I came along to the John Curtain show last night; how do you feel you went? I heard it had been your first show in a while; do you find yourself reflecting on shows, critically, often?
Absolutely! After every show we break down every single element of it. How it can be improved, how we can segue better between songs, fine tuning our individual performances, all of that. If you don’t do that as a band how are you ever going to get better? I do particularly like at the end of a tour when you can observe the progression from the first show of the tour to the last– it’s usually a very rewarding exercise.
Human Spring has a really good vibe about it; at the time of writing the debut album did you find you were at a point in your career where you were contented?
The positive energy comes from a few self imposed rules or walls we put up when we first started writing the album. I wanted to write interesting songs but using only primary chords, which is quite a hard thing to do. We also wanted to write an album of uplifting songs in the face of some of the darker aspects of the world and our own personal lives – so that positivity actually kind of came out of defiance of how we were feeling at the time.
Before the debut record you had released a few EP’s. What made for the decision to release a full LP rather than showcase another EP; was it an abundance of new material or were you ready to take the plunge into an album?
Ready to take the plunge! Albums are far more rewarding than EPs because you get to make an artistic statement – a piece of work. I was ready and willing to take on that challenge.
Looking back now, would you consider re-using some of your earlier works?
Never; it’s just not in any of our natures to look back. Our EPs are already out there and available to buy and I’m proud of those songs in their existing form.
The professionalism of your sound production team and mixer is really evident in the record. To have Catherine Marks, Andy Baldwin and especially Geoff Pesche who all have an endearing roster of artists they’ve worked with must be quite humbling. Is there a new record in the making or at least plans of a new record and if so, would the band opt to work with said team again?
I’ve got a few ideas for the next one but nothing worth talking about just yet. We haven’t even begun to think about whom we might work with on the production side of things but I’d be humbled to work any of the guys from the first one again!
I’m trying to find some correlation between the name Buchanan and people who may have inspired the name and have yet to come up with anything that makes sense hah! Unless you’re all avid fans of the 15th President of the United States James Buchanan?!
Definitely not the President! It’s just a strong word we all liked and thought we could own and create a bit of a sound for.
What is your take on the current live music scene locally here in Melbourne? Do you find as an artist you lose people coming to your own gigs because there is usually an over abundance of other shows on at the same time?
I think the fact it is so vibrant can only be a good thing. It’s a really healthy scene and if another band is pulling your own fans away from your show it simply means you have to play harder and better so that you develop a reputation for putting on a show that people absolutely can’t miss. It’s a fun challenge.
How helpful is it to have the advocacy of a big named radio station like JJJ? As a pretty young band (starting in 2009) do you think it’s a break though way to showcase not only your work, but for other musicians as well?
Given that we didn’t come from The Voice or Australia’s Got Talent, radio is really our only platform to get out there en masse. And in Australia, for a band like Buchanan, that means Triple J support is essential. We’re very lucky and humbled to have their support and will forever be in debt to the station for helping to break us.
You’re about to embark on an East Coast tour over the span of July; what are the plans for Buchanan for the rest of the year?
After the July tour I’ll be heading overseas for a bit to write on some other people’s projects and then I think we’ll see what happens. There’s a lot of talk about more touring right now – I’m also sure we’ll be back in the studio in no time at all!
Film clip for latest single ‘Human Spring’ below:
Download full length album here