A little while back I wrote an article on I Am Animation, the single taken from Race the Flux’s debut album, Dutch Buffalo. They’re releasing the album on Thursday the 20th of June, and I managed to get my hands on a copy to review in advance and land an interview with them. You can imagine I was pretty excited about this; I maintain that Race the Flux put on incredibly enjoyable live performances, and I’ve been waiting to hear this album for months.
The album eases you in with Evolve?, a rather mellow track that, through layers of synth, a subtle piano melody, bass-heavy drums and synthesized vocals seems to set a rather ambitious bar for the remainder of the record. This ambition is in many ways realized with the next track, I Am Animation. The track begins by layering vocals, before ushering in some punchy, distorted chords with a scream. From there, we’re treated to what is a largely instrumental treat, moving from somewhat mellow and infectious, back to punchy distortion, and then to soaring vocals and haunting chanting with relative ease.
As a whole the album is worth listening to and successfully displays the band’s proficiency as musicians, but for me, there are a couple of points in the album that feel almost like they blow everything else out of the water. Can I? is probably the best example of this; as a whole, it’s probably my favorite track on the album, but it would probably only have the number 3 spot if not for the latter half of the track, and, in particular, the section around the 4:40 mark, at which point it becomes something entirely remarkable. Describing the style the track adapts here is a little difficulty, but I suppose I wouldn’t be entirely wrong in describing it as dancey with elements of math-rock tone.
Of course, I won’t lie: Dutch Buffalo is not a perfect release. My one real complaint is one I should have been prepared for. Race the Flux put on some of the most enjoyable live shows I’ve been to, as their music is perfect for getting a crowd to move. Because of this, I had some ridiculously high hopes for the album. I’m not disappointed with the album, of course, it’s more that I had hoped I could call upon the intensity of their live shows with the press of a button.
In preparation for the album’s launch on the 20th, I interviewed the band. Check it out!
AMBY: How did you guys get together?
RTF: A lot of beer and aphrodisiacs.
AMBY: You’re releasing your first album on Thursday. Excited?
RTF: Very excited! We can’t wait. It’s our first release, so we’re still very new to it! It’s a little bit daunting thinking about how people will perceive it!
AMBY: How long has the album been under development?
RTF: Quite a while actually. We wrote the songs when we first started playing together and toured them for a bit. We recorded them quite a while ago, but hit a couple of walls in getting it out, such as funding the release and such.
AMBY: What was your favorite part of working on it?
RTF: Probably writing it. When we started we just locked ourselves into an industrial fridge and played for days in front of a camera to record what we came up with. We didn’t have an idea of what sort of music we wanted to play, so there were no guidelines. Just play what comes out. We then sat down and watched all of the footage and made the best songs we could from that!
AMBY: What was the hardest part?
RTF: The hardest part was definitely funding the album. It’s a strong passion for all of us, so the hours of writing and thinking and all that hard work is something we love doing. The funding is not. It costs a lot, you never realise how much!
AMBY: Any interesting stories from the studio?
RTF: Yes, a lot. We recorded it in our home studio, which is part of the Cold Room Collective. When we were recording it, we would stay there for hours on end. Sometimes 22-23 hours a day. There’s only one way to get you through them sort of hours. A coffee percolator becomes your best friend. You tend to forget that caffeine is a drug, until you drink a cup every hour for 20 hours. Insanity then sets it. The laughter doesn’t stop. Enda even hallucinated and thought Pauls head was shrinking. What happened on the drives home is something we can’t discuss.
AMBY: You’ve got some shows lined up to promote the launch; where and when are you playing?
RTF: We do, we can’t wait for them. The first is in Dublin on the 20th of June. It’s part of Junior special in the Twisted Pepper. From there we head to Limerick on the 21st of June, in Dolans upstairs. Then to Cork on the 29th of June, in Bradleys. Then on to the grand finale in Galway, in The Cellar on the 3rd of July!
AMBY: Anywhere else the fans’ll be able to pick up the record?
RTF: Yeah, they will be able to stream it, or download it on bandcamp from the 20th of June. It will probably be available on itunes soon after too.
AMBY: What are your goals for the next year, and in the long-term?
RTF: We’re gonna keep writing and releasing new material, and eventually a full length album. As for long term, we have no idea what will happen! That’s the exciting part!
AMBY: Now, to finish off, these are some questions we normally ask bands that we interview:
What’s the best release of the year so far?
Paul: Bonnie Tyler – Rocks and Honey. I haven’t heard it yet, but I’m confident it triumphs.
Joe: Queens of the Stone Age – …Like Clockwork.
Enda: Foals – Holy Fire.
Ronan: Daft Punk – Random Access Memories (All the rest were taken).
AMBY: And lastly, what’s something about Race the Flux that nobody knows?
RTF: Enda has a degree in pharmaceutical science. Paul, as a result of a very drunken weekend, has a tattoo on his left calf, that he doesn’t entirely remember getting, nor does he know what the symbol means. Ronan was cast as an extra on the Irish film “The Guard”, but was not credited. Joe’s birth name is not actually Joe, or even Joseph. He has never told us what it actually is, so we can’t reveal that.
Thank you Race the Flux, for giving us your answers!
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