Avi Buffalo’s Avi Zahner-Isenberg Talks About the Band’s New Record

Taking Time

Apr 03, 2014 Photography by Wendy Lynch Redfern Web Exclusive
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It's been four years since Avi Buffalo's breezy guitar pop-infused self-titled debut was released by Sub Pop in 2010. Frontman and songwriter Avi Zahner-Isenberg officially confirmed in February that a new album is on the way. Since Avi Buffalo's debut, the band's lineup has gone through some changes: Zahner-Isenberg and Sheridan Riley remained constant, and the group is now rounded out by Doug Brown and Anthony Vezirian. We caught up with Zahner-Isenberg after the band played one of Under the Radar's SXSW 2014 parties to talk about the upcoming record.

Cody Ray Shafer (Under the Radar): How much new stuff did we get to hear just now?


Avi Zahner-Isenberg: Mostly new stuff. Two older songs, but all the rest has been new stuff coming out on the new record. We tried to mix in half and half. Of course, most people haven't heard it. It's fun to play all of it. The new stuff is real exciting.

 

Tell me about the new record.


It took me a long time. I wrote a lot of songs. I always like to write a lot and then take over a long period of time to get the best work out of it and get different shading on the songs, so we can have a range on the record. All the songs I wrote between age 19 and even 22 and 23. And it's exciting. We did all the basics in a great studio, which is a first. Then we took it home to do what I feel most comfortable doing, which is overdubbing and recording at home. So we got to combine really good elements of recording. Totally a dream come true to be able to make it the way we did.

 

It's been a few years since your last record, but it sounds like you prefer to put a lot of work into it.


Yeah. We could have gone really hard on touring and stuff, and that's usually what bands do, but it kind of seemed better to not do that and take a lot of time to write. I just wrote a lot, a lot. I had fun searching and learning music, and spending all that time doing that, and figuring out how I want to record. There's a lot of different ways to do it these days and it's easy to compromise your quality and sound. We really took a lot of time to get tones. I feel really proud about how that turned out.

 

Are you happy with the result?


Yeah, I'm stoked. It was mixed by this guy Nicolas Vernhes in Brooklyn. So between recording at Tiny Telephone [in San Francisco], recording at home with my own rig with overdubs, and mixing it with [Vernhes] in Brooklyn, it was just optimalit took a long time to get to that form, to put that whole thing together. But the songs are a lot of fun. There's a lot in there.

 

Has the change in the lineup of the band affected the outcome at all?


Not really with the way I write songs, but definitely with the live shows. It's been a long time evolving that, too. We've gone through a bunch of different shapes, but because it's my project, it's easily adaptable. I've designed the project to work like that. At the same time, me and Sheridan [Riley] have played together since middle school. I've known Doug [Brown], the bassist, since I was a teenager, and we've played in other bands before this. It's just kind ofthe area in Southern California where we're from, we're all from around there and we've all played in bands and done that. It's nice to play with people that you know really personally. If I were to just get people I didn't know, I just can't understand how people do that. It's all about the personal part of it, for me.

 

How much does the band play in the studio?


Initial recording was just bass, drums, guitar. We did stuff live, because it seemed like the only way to get good stuff. Some of these songs, the way to do it was to do it live, and do it well. Other times, you do stuff one instrument at a time. It just depends on what kind of thing you're going for. We just rehearse really hard so we can sound really tight, so we could have really good tracks to layer on top of, basically.

 

www.facebook.com/avibuffalomusic

 



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