Buckets are a band that will immediately excite you. Their overwhelming energy and seamless navigation between dynamic extremes, from track-to-track and verse-to-verse, are emblematic of their musical prowess.
Buckets' signature sonic style—a unique amalgamation of digital and analogue elements—and their innovative use of field recordings and samples, takes center stage on their latest EP, "Good Luck Bad Dog," released on October 20, 2023. The EP, mixed by Alex Newport (renowned for his work with Death Cab For Cutie, At The Drive-In, Bloc Party, among others), serves as a testament to the band's evolution since their debut, self-titled record in 2021.
The quartet's sonic landscape traverses saturated, soaring guitar riffs and heart-pumping fuzzy bass tones, effortlessly transitioning into tender melodies and impassioned, unvarnished vocals. It's innovation within indie pop that is fresh and polished, and we sat down with these four to learn more about the new EP, how they build songs together as a band and much more, exclusively for FLEX.
Hey Buckets, welcome to FLEX! How are you all doing?
SASHA: Feeling very flexible at the moment thanks for asking!!
HIRAM: A little sleepy, but doing alright
MITCH: What they said
Sum up your music for us in three words?
MITCH: Real. Good. Tunes.
Could you tell us more about the origin of Buckets? How did the band come together, and what inspired your unique sound?
HIRAM: It’s a pretty interesting story, actually. A few years ago Tanner convinced Sasha to leave Seattle with him and move down to Los Angeles to play with his old project, Follies and Vices. They needed a drummer and put out a Craigslist ad, which my partner saw and told me “these guys sound funny, you should hit them up” and I did. While we were messing around in the rehearsal space outside of F&V practice, we messed around with some heavier-style riffs and Sasha showed off his shredding ability, so the Buckets sound started to take shape just as an improv jam.
MITCH: I met a couple of these guys randomly at a house party one night and we were talking music, etc. I used to put together a lot of backyard shows and told them they should hop on one after hearing about the new band. After hearing them and realizing they were just playing as a 3-piece (2 guitars + drums), I pretty much insisted they let me try some stuff out on bass and things just sort of clicked. We all come from varying backgrounds of music (latin punk, ska, hardcore, pop, hiphop, etc.), so I think the blending of a lot of those sounds really led us to cultivate how we play together today.
"Good Luck Bad Dog" is described as a significant step in your band's evolution. Can you elaborate on the growth and changes you've experienced since your debut self-titled album in 2021?
SASHA: Our self-titled, for better or worse, was really a homegrown album. We had all the drums tracked in Eagle Rock Studios right before COVID lock down & spent the majority of quarantine tracking our parts remotely while experimenting and finding our sound on our own kind of “in the box”. A big change we wanted to implement on GLBD was making it a collaborative experiment/experience, both writing and recording-wise. I believe that really shows on these newest songs as most of them were fleshed out with one another at our lock out space - Nude Room Studios.
MITCH: We also had been playing together for a lot longer as we started to craft the newer record, so I think everyone felt more comfortable and confident laying everything out in the studio. There was a big focus in dialing in individual tones and playing with sound textures, and being in the same room over a few weeks really helped get us there.
Stream "Good Luck Bad Dog" here:
Mixing both analog and digital elements is a unique aspect of your sound. How do you balance these two approaches in your music, and what do you believe it adds to your sonic style?
SASHA: Well… the balance certainly doesn’t come naturally to me. I had originally wanted to create an entirely analogue EP & we had set out to do so. We had tracked drums & bass with a scratch guitar track to an 1/2inch 8-track that I had recently purchased, until the motor crapped out on it mid-session. Around the same time I found a bunch of micro-cassettes at the thrift store & we opted to record the auxiliary tracks & parts of the interludes to a dictaphone to give it that analog/ tape feel we all wanted. The instability & unpredictability of the tiny tape format added that magic that I think sometimes a fully digital album can lack, regardless of how many plugins you try to put on things.
Supporting Louise Post and touring internationally are exciting prospects for your band. What can fans expect from your live shows, and are there any specific locations or venues you're looking forward to playing in the near future?
MITCH: We had a blast with the Louise Post crew and hope to do some more shows with them in the future - and it’s always fun to play out of the States. We’ve been crafting and tightening our live performance as much as possible, and my goal is to hit the road a ton in the next year or two. Very excited for Treefort Music Fest in Boise this coming March, along with a tour surrounding that. We’re planning to return to the Midwest in the Summer - I’m stoked for spots like Chicago, Columbus, Athens (OH), and Nashville.
SASHA: For me, I’m looking forward to getting back to the east coast and to chicago to see our budz. 2024 fans can expect our pyrotechnic debut. I have been playing with fire A LOT.
Finally, could you describe your band's vision for the future? What goals or projects do you have in mind as you continue to grow and evolve as a collective of artists?
SASHA: We’ve currently got another full length bubbling on the Bucket horizon. It’ll be bigger, better, FASTER,STRONGER…did I already mention the thing about fire?…
MITCH: Certainly more Buckets records and tours - we’re trying to land some bigger support slots and festivals (if anyone is reading this - please take us on tour we’re very nice). I’ve been sitting on an indie folk album that I intend to record at some point when I find the time, maybe I’ll let these guys play a little something on it. All of us have creative ventures outside of Buckets that we pursue when time allows, I think we all hope to ramp those up a bit in the coming year. Make sure you check out Sasha’s solo project Cooking Steak, and Tanner’s Oh! Bummer.