Q&A :: Buchanan
April 22nd 2011
Nick La Rosa
If you’ve been needing your fix of cinematic pop grandeur, fast-rising Melbourne act Buchanan have you covered. Their new single “Teachers” is a stately, harmonious tumble of lush production, multi-tracked choruses, melancholy piano loops and epic strings, and recalls Arcade Fire at their theatrical Funeral-era best. It’s no wonder they were handpicked to open Melbourne Laneway this year alongside indie luminaries like Deerhunter, Yeasayer and Blonde Redhead. We grabbed frontman Josh to find out what their deal is.
Flog: So who are Buchanan, and how do you work?
Josh: Well I'm Josh and I do the singing. Then there's Jon, who plays guitar. We came together over a mutual love for hamburgers down in Mt Martha. What happens with the band is that generally one of us comes up with a song idea and then presents it to the other. Then we sit on it for a while and then Jon will do his thing and make my song ideas less shit and it goes from there.
Who you do cite as your main influences?
I have a lot of guilty pleasures… I shouldn't really state my influences, but there's a lot. I'll listen to Phil Collins and Miley Cyrus on the same night. But then there are bands like Arcade Fire and Grizzly Bear which have really shaped how we approach production on our songs. And bands like Foals and Beach House really inspire our team, so playing with them at Laneway was pretty incredible. People love to hate on pop, but all I give a shit about musically is melody and there's a lot of great fucking melodies in pop, and I suppose Buchanan is about combining those timeless melodies, with clever production. Sigur Ros is great. Kanye. The Beatles. Too many.
Tell us about the single "Teachers" – what inspired the lyrics and/or sound?
"Teachers" came from Jon initially. To us that song represents the band finding our feet, musically at least, and it's sort of a continuation of another song that came out first, "Mr Keeperman". Lyrically, "Teachers" is an expansion of the themes in "Mr Keeperman" and musically too. The original themes and ideas for both songs came literally from reading the paper during some downtime on one of our writing weekends.
Where do you record & rehearse?
Jon and I both have home studios where we record in. Rehearsals happen at another studio space that we hire out when we start playing shit again!
What do you do when you're not making music?
A lot of procrastination. Music takes up increasingly all of our time. Particularly when you're a young band and you feel you have something to prove, so you kind of can afford to put all your time into it. I've become particularly obsessive about it all… but it's good! I don't think we could operate like this forever, but for the time being it's good!
If you could play any festival in the world, past or present, anywhere, which one would it be?
Glastonbury. Past? Woodstock, but I don't know how well our music would go down there. We'd probably get kicked out for not taking enough drugs.
Is there any truth to the rumours [which I made up] that you are named after Neil Buchanan, living legend and former host of Art Attack