Heineken TransAtlantic Music Series: Bluejay (Part 1)
Concertgoers at this year’s Heineken TransAtlantic Festival are in for a real treat when The Budos Band takes the stage. Their music is cinematic. Instrumental and lush with dramatic musical passages, hearing The Budos Band and closing one’s eyes is like watching the opening sequence to a Tarantino flick or even better, a real 1970’s action/adventure.
The lack of vocals might be risky in this single-oriented music market, but for them it works in their favor. It allows the music to get involved in itself and go places that traditional vocal-based songs could never go.Influenced by everything from Southern funk and soul, to Afro-beat, to Latin styles, to Black Sabbath, there’s really never anything to get bored of. Wailing horns always cut in at just the right time when the rhythm section groove worms deeply into the brain and establishes itself as a sturdy lifeline. Then a fuzzy guitar or organ will transport everything back to the ’60s and ’70s.
This New York nine-piece’s full-length debut came out in 2005 and they’ve grown since then both artistically and popularly (they signed with Daptone Records early on and have been rising stars ever since – they just played Last Call with Carson Daly – watch below). On their latest release, Burnt Offering, the music has gotten more sinister, darker, and a little heavier. The writing process was also different. The new album took a year and a half to record instead of the usual weekend sessions that produced their past work. It was also a more collaborative effort, whereas “when we first started recording, songs would generally be written by one or two people,” explained saxophonist Jared Tankel.
This time around they decided to work together and self-produced while writing a lot in the studio. The result is a cohesive collection that fits almost any setting – road trip, action movie title sequence, party soundtrack, or even a stoned evening alone with the headphones. With grooves this infectious and their unique sound, it’s hard to imagine them out of place anywhere.
Tropicult spoke more with Jared Tankel to learn about the band’s newest material and the band’s musical identity:
Can you talk about why you made the choice to go in a heavier, more psychedelic direction with the new material?
Jared Tankel: We have been wanting to go down the dark road for a while and we finally figured it out. We listen to Black Sabbath, AC/DC, Pentagram, Thin Lizzy all the time in a van as we tour around. Those bands have always inspired us and we needed to try to make ourselves heavier and more psychedelic.
How has your hometown influenced your sound as a band?
JT: Staten Island is the forgotten borough of New York. It’s hard to get there and once you arrive, it’s hard to leave. It’s a deserted wasteland of industrial decay and suburban sprawl. At the same time, there are so many disparate influences from far and wide that have somehow made their way across the Outerbridge, the Goethals, the Bayonne, the Verrazano or on the ferry.
What are some of your favorite pubs or eateries to hit on tour? Anything in South Florida?
JT: Anytime we find a craft brewery, it is party time, USA. Throw in a pizza and now you’re rocking. We have simple but discerning taste.
Can you describe some of the challenges recording the entire album yourselves?
JT: It was hard to be satisfied. We kept pushing and pushing at every part of the process. It probably resulted in the album taking longer to finish than albums in the past, but we are happier than ever with the results.
What are your plans for the future?
JT: Rock n’ roll. Write, record, tour, beer, pizza. Rock n’ roll. Repeat.
The Heineken TransAtlantic Festival is produced by The Rhythm Foundation with support from Heineken USA. The Rhythm Foundation, Miami-based, non-profit cultural organization, leading presenter of world music in the US. Founded in 1988 with the goal of increasing international awareness through music. The Rhythm Foundation has presented more than 700 concerts, events, and festivals by established and innovative artists from around the world. Special focus is given to those cultures connecting to South Florida audiences – music from Brazil, Latin America, Africa, the Caribbean, Asia, and Europe. The range of programs covers music at the heart of global culture today to the traditional music of the world.