Pronounced Bew-cannon, the charming Josh and Luke joined me for a chat on their alternative-pop Melbourne band Buchanan, talking about their new album Human Spring. Here’s how it unfolded.
Start off by talking about how Buchanan started as a band. How did it come about?
Josh: Well it all kind of started at the end of 2009 when I was in England just visiting a few friends and working in the industry there and I started writing songs. They had this sound and I was interested in seeing what I could do with that sound, so that’s where Buchanan began and then I was lucky enough to have some friends who are musicians and I said “do you want to play in a band and see if we can take this further?” Basically it’s worked like that ever since, working with the people I know who work and play, creating a community based around the sound.
Do you write your own material?
Josh: Hell yeah! I wouldn’t do it any other way, playing live is part of being a band and if you go out and play other people’s songs it wouldn’t be half as rewarding.
Do you find that challenging?
Luke: Not when it comes naturally
Josh: Yeah, but of course it’s challenging, any job anyone does is challenging but fortunately there are enough moments where it’s not as challenging which justifies me doing it.
Explain the meaning of the name Buchanan.
Josh: I think when we wanted to come up with a strong name that didn’t have a sound or anything attached to it so we drew up a list of words that had a really strong feel that had no visual or audio association. Buchanan was the one that won. I would love to be able to tell you a cool story like it was the name of the oak tree under which I first had sex but it’s just not the case, it’s quite a boring story. I think my mum actually suggested the name!
Talk a bit about your journey as a musician, and how you began to really make it in the industry and how you’ve made it here today.
Josh: Luke has basically been playing in bands and he’s got more of a punk hardcore background, he’s actually done it hard and been playing in pubs forever. I’ve grown up with pop writers so I’ve been blessed in some ways to have seen how the industry works but I’ve had to learn the opposite of what Luke has which is how to grow a band whereas Luke taught me this is how a band works and I taught him this is how the industry works. The coming together of that has been why we’ve been pretty blessed; we’ve had a lot of airplay and had offers from record companies and stuff like that. We’ve managed to teach each other a lot of invaluable stuff, it’s like we’ve thrown together two people’s ten years experience and instantly have twenty if that makes sense.
Considering you both have different experiences, do you think you’ve brought different things to the table that combine together for Buchanan?
Josh: I think we do really compliment each other in what we know, it’s a pretty unusual combination and I think that’s why it’s working right now and hopefully it continues to work.
Who’s your biggest music inspiration?
Luke: I really like a lot of people, I really try to emulate a lot of artists who’s main focus is tearing things apart and putting them back together again for example, Wilco, Radiohead, artists that a lot of people claim as influences. I’m influenced even by smaller punk and hardcore bands, and even pop bands that are willing to destroy something in order to make it better.
Josh: That’s like me, my inspiration comes from people who just don’t give a shit about trying to be restrained and cool, and just go out there and put on massive shows. Bands like Queen who are just like “we do what we do”, that’s the Buchanan mentality. So they’re my inspiration.
What was it like working with such talented people such as Catherine Marks and Andy Baldwin?
Josh: It was a pleasure; it was an honour really in some respects. I remember before we started recording we knew we’d be hiring a producer but it was like what kind of producer, how, where and all that and Catherine came about quite suddenly we weren’t even looking at that point, we hadn’t even started writing and her manager called my manager and said “are there any artists who need help at the moment?” and he said “sure you can do a trial day with Buchanan”. We turned up not knowing what was going to happen and knowing not much about her and it quite literally led to two months of non-stop collaboration. It was one of those fairytale stories, it’s not very often that my life resembles a Hollywood movie but I guess this is the exception.
I’ve listened to your full album, it’s absolutely amazing the way it’s been produced and mixed, you must be so happy with the end result, what do you want the listeners to get out of the album? (do you want to take them on a journey, portray something? Etc)
Josh: It’s quite a pop-y, upbeat album but it was certainly an emotional process to create, there are songs that are emotional and I think they’re not emotional for us (Josh and Luke) as listeners because we only hear what the problems are or what we’ve done. Some people think that fast albums can’t be emotional but that’s bullshit, if the album makes you feel like you want to skip to the station instead of walk, if it makes you smile when you’re fucking pissed off because your laundry wasn’t done, whatever your problem is, I’d like to think that this can actually make people happy or cheer them up.
What has been your best memory/moment of your musical career so far?
Josh: There’s probably twenty of them, but there’s that one moment where after a few sessions of writing there would be a moment where you pick and pick and pick at a particular part of a song and all of a sudden everything makes sense.
Luke: The moment where you know a song’s done and you start jumping around.
Josh: Yeah, we hope no one can ever watch that but that’s what makes it all worthwhile. But of course you just want one word so I’m going to say Laneway 2011 (Josh and Luke laugh)
What are the plans for 2013? Any gigs/album tours?
Josh: The plan is we’re going to do a launch show in Melbourne in a few weeks after the album’s come out and we’ll probably do a few other dates on the east coast around that Melbourne show. Following that I’m going off to England to write for a couple of months and then I’ll come back around September, I think the plan is to do a big headline national tour and perhaps some festivals.