Saturday 12 September 2015

An Interview with Ryan Forsythe from We Hunt Buffalo

Vancouver Stoner Rockers – We Hunt Buffalo – are about to release their superb new full length record – Living Ghosts – on September 25th via Fuzzorama Records which is owned by the current kings of Fuzz/Desert Rock – Truckfighters.

Living Ghosts is very different to earlier releases as it's less Fuzz Rock and more heavier. The album still contains a high amount of fuzz it just sees the band experimenting with their sound to create possibly their finest record yet.

Our reviewer – Bill Bensen – said this about the album.

Fans of their early work will find this outing less fuzzy, but not lacking any of their signature riffs or vocal power. This Vancouver power trio delivers the goods and isn’t afraid to grow. The production on this album really lets the band showcase their song writing. Drums are deep, bass is a feeling, guitars are spaced nicely and the vocals are stellar. If they come to a club near you, go! Buy their merch, have them sign your body parts and maybe even buy them a round of drinks!”

I've been given the chance to interview Ryan Forsythe (Vocals/Guitar) from We Hunt Buffalo. So lets go hunting!!!

1 – Hi Ryan. Thanks for doing this. How are things with you all today.

No problem. Thanks for the interest in the band. We're doing good. Just about two weeks to album release, getting pretty stoked. 
2 – How did the band come about. Can you give a brief description on how you all met, how the band formed and where it is today.

We all met each other about ten years ago in a small town just outside of Vancouer, Canada. Being a small town, all the musicians got to know each other pretty quick. We started out under a different band name... In 2010 we decided to take a different path, sonically, and this WHB was born.

3 – Your new album – Living Ghosts – is about to be released. So are you all excited about the release.

For sure! It's been a long time coming. We recorded the album in January 2015, so by the time it comes out, that's about 10 months of sitting on these tunes. 
4 – What can people expect from the album if they haven't read any reviews of course.

We feel it's our most dynamic record to date with everything from heavy fuzzy tunes to moody, melodic deep cuts. It combines the best aspects of our first LP and EP. What you get it an album with a lot of variety. 

5 – Why did you choose Living Ghosts for the name of the album.

It is a lyric line from the song 'Looking Glass'. Lyrically, this album is very much a concept album, that deals with apocalyptic themes. Living Ghosts kinda sums it up perfectly because with all the damage done to the planet, we may as well be the walking dead! 
6 – Living Ghosts is very different to your earlier releases. It's heavier with a more distinctive style. Was it an easy decision to make to go with this new sound. Or do you feel this is just a natural progression of the We Hunt Buffalo sound.

I think that this album is a natural progression. We didn't necessarily set out to make it sound a certain way. We knew that Jesse Gander was a great producer/engineer and had faith right from the get-go that the sounds he would get would fit us well. Every step of the way is a learning process, and I think we've learned what works and what doesn't from our first two releases.

7 – Was it an easy or hard album to write and record for.

It was easy because there was no pressure. We weren't singed to any record labels at the time of recording, so it was just a natural time to record a new record. We hope that moving forward, non of our records will be forced. You can't really force good creative songs!

8 – What did you do differently when making this album compared to your other records.

Our past records have either been free studio time, or graveyard shifts. So we kinda had to work around other peoples schedules. 'Living Ghosts' was done properly, where we booked the studio time, and were able to go in there for a good seven day run. It keeps you in the right creative head space. Before, we would record one day, take a week off, then go back in.

9 – You're now signed to Fuzzorama Records. How did you hook up with those guys. Were you excited to work with Truckfighters members on your new album. Great guys who run a fantastic label. And I suppose their band isn't half bad too.

Truckfighters have been one of our favorite bands for many years now. We were so stoked when they used one of our tunes in their Fuzzomentary, years ago (The Hitchhiker - Instrumental). When it came time to pitch the new record to labels, we made sure Fuzzorama got a copy. They came back at us really stoked on the record! For the type of music we're playing, Fuzzorama seems like the perfect home, so we are really thankful to be on their label.

10 – Did you have any other offers from other labels to release the new album.

Yes, we also signed with the Canadian label 'New Damage' to release the album in Canada, while Fuzzorama handles the rest of the world. 
11 – You're from Vancouver, Canada. Canada's Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal scene seems to be thriving now with bands such as Chron Goblin, Sierra, Hawkeyes, Shooting Guns and yourselves making a name for themselves. How is the Hard Rock/Metal scene perceived by people in Canada. Is it thriving. So you get to perform gigs in your home-town or do you have to travel further afield.

We are good pals with a few of the bands you mentioned there! Yes, the heavy scene in Canada is quite good. It's funny though, because it really doesn't get a lot of support from radio. It consists of a lot of hard working bands and fans who love heavy music. Because of the internet and word of mouth, a heavy band can do quite well with a good touring mentality. We lately have had to pull back from playing our hometown (Vancouver) so much. We used to play every other weekend locally. So yes, the main focus is touring everywhere else!

 12 – The album cover for Living Ghosts is superb. Who designed the cover. And what does the cover mean to you as a band and for the album in general.

It was designed by Maarten Donders from The Netherlands. We found his portfolio online and sent him a note. We were very excited when he agreed to do the project. In the image, the buffalo is a symbol of the apocalypse, and the ghostly figures amplify the title, 'Living Ghosts'. Thus far we have had a buffalo on every album cover, so it's fun to keep that alive. 
13 – What's the song-writing dynamic within the band. Is it a group collective or down to one individual.

On our first record it was myself doing the bulk of the writing. This record however, has a pretty good three-way split. Brendan sings lead on a few of the tunes, and Carter always brings good ideas to the song arrangement. We basically write songs by one person bringing an idea to the jam room. Then we jam it out, record it, listen back and figure out the best direction for the song. 
14 – What have been people's reaction to your music. Good or bad reactions.

So far the feedback has been pretty positive. I think the people checking us out love heavy music, so it's sits right at home for them. It's not for everyone and I wouldn't expect pop and country music fans to like it at all, haha. 

 15 – How do you deal with negative reactions to your music. Do you take suggestions or criticisms on board or do you focus on your own thing.

Like I said, not everyone is going to like it. I wouldn't be too upset with negative reviews. If someone has some criticism we will definitely listen with open ears. We're always looking to improve, and after all, this is a learning experience.

16 – Which bands and artists inspired you to become musicians. Any particular albums that stand out.

Red Fang, QOTSA, Nirvana, Sleep, Tool, Truckfighters, Kyuss, Neil Young, JJ Cale.... The list is endless really. Anyone playing music and making a living off of it is inspiring. We all got into music for different reasons, the other guys in the band I can't comment on, but for myself it was because my parents sent me to an arts school. I started out playing the saxophone at age ten, then finally picked up the guitar around age 16.
17 – Thanks for doing this interview. All the best with your new album.

Thanks guys, appreciate it!

Words by Steve Howe and Ryan Forsythe (We Hunt Buffalo)

Thanks to Ryan for taking the time out to talking to me. Thanks to Oskar at Fuzzorama Records for arranging this interview. We Hunt Buffalo will be out to buy on CD/DD from Fuzzorama Records (Rest Of World) and NewDamage Records (Canada) from September 25th 2015.