Buffalo Killers' Zach Gabbard Talks Records, Touring, and Family Business

When I listen to 3, the new album by the Cincinnati-based rock 'n' roll band Buffalo Killers, I like to imagine the band tearing down the highway, blasting sweet classic rock tunes on the way to some mythical backwoods gig.

Speaking with bassist Zach Gabbard, who is joined by his guitarist brother Andy and drummer Joey Sebaali in the band, I get the sense that maybe I am not too far off. The band's last effort, Let it Ride, was produced by Black Keys front-man Dan Auerbach. While that record was all sticky swamp rock, 3 finds the band exploring different sounds, with psychedelic folk elements, some power-pop, and guest vocals from Kelley Deal of The Breeders.

The Buffalo Killers are scheduled to perform Thursday, July 28 at The Compound Grill. Read after the jump to read Gabbard's thoughts on records, touring, and the "family business."

Up on the Sun: What lead you guys to producing 3 yourselves?

Zach Gabbard: Well, I mean, we wanted to do this one close to home. My and my brother had gone and done some demos, and we worked well with Mike Montgomery, who owns Candyland Studios here. It just kinda happened. We intended on just making demos, but it just happened [laughs]. Is it fair to say this record is little more mellow than past records?

Oh yeah. It definitely is. It took awhile to get over that. We're a real live band, and it's not necessarily what we do in a live setting. During recording, there was a point where one of us said, 'this is a record, let's not worry about [playing it live], let's just make a good record.' You know, you fall into what you do. And sometimes it's hard to break out of that, and you're afraid to break out of it. So, you know, we believed in it, and so we're just standing up for it.

This record features some guests, Kelley Deal of The Breeders, and your label-mate Brian Olive. How did that come to be?

The Kelley thing, well, The Breeders had invited us to play All Tomorrow's Parties. A couple weeks later, she had been approached to do a song for a Guided By Voices tribute, and she needed a backing band, so we started working with her, at Candyland Studios. Then she came and sat in with us. I thought it would be really cool to have her sing. I wanted her to put her own stamp on the song. Everyone else that came in was the same way. We didn't tell anyone what to do. They came in and we said 'do what you do.' It was very natural setting. Brian came over, and I gave him some of the demos. He came in and knocked it out very quickly, and we went and got lunch. Everyone we brought it is a pretty close friend of the band.

Kelley Deal & Buffalo Killers - Scalding Creek (Guided By Voices Cover) by savesavorysavor.blogspot You guys have a thoroughly rock 'n' roll aesthetic - both in this band, and in your previous band, Thee Shams. The new record has a elements of power-pop, and boogie rock. What do you guys spending your time listening to? What gets played in the band?

Well, bands and artists I've always gone back to are Neil Young, The Grateful Dead, The Band, Harry Nilsson, you know, The Beatles and Stones and all of that. I'm really into Vetiver, they are one of my favorite bands, that new Fleet Foxes record is great. We are always turning each other on to stuff, and saving stuff until we get on the road so that everyone can hear it. We do a lot of that on the road.

Buffalo Killers - Circle Day by alivenaturalsound

Do you still enjoy touring? I know for a lot of musicians it gets tiring.

Yeah, that's what we do. It's our family business. Things are different now that people actually come to our shows, as opposed to the beginning [laughs]. It's hard for a band to go on the road, but this is what've we've built, it's what we've been working on for a long time.

I feel really lucky that I have two people who are so dedicated. It's great to play with them every night. I love them both so much, and to have that connection, to just be playing music, it's hard to find people that you would go through that with, and trust. I feel really grateful to have both of those two.