Ahead of their official EP launch tonight at The Eglantine, Belfast – Matt Toner had a chat with frontman Stuart Miskelly about ‘Living Under The Reef’ and future endeavours following tonight’s celebrations!

Matt Toner: The EP feels quite new and fresh for the NI scene although it’s the type of music that people have been listening to for decades. Was there a conscious need to stand out from other local bands?

Stuart Miskelly: “I don’t think we thought about it that way in regards to trying to stand out from other bands, we all have the same influences so we just create music that we love and then hope other people will enjoy it also!”

MT: When recording the EP were you guys very involved with the production? I can hear a lot of rubber soul and revolver era Beatles was this a sound you wanted to capture?

SM: “Yeah we have a great engineer Frankie Mcclay who knew exactly what sound we were after. For example using double-tracked vocals for some of the songs or using a big reverb effect inspired from a Bee Gees album Odessa. Everyone in the band contributes and adds their own twist on things but overall we have a clear idea of what we want the songs to sound like in the studio.”

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Stuart Miskelly at Voodoo Belfast: Dec 2016 [Photo by Steven Donnelly]
 MT: On weeping onion the lyrics suddenly I see the sun, suddenly my life’s begun stand out to me as they’re almost poetic, would you say the lyrics on this EP are very personal?

SM: “That song, in particular, is a personal song, it’s just about when your feeling down but then someone special enters your life and changes how you feel entirely. The rest of the songs on the EP are mainly storytelling but using personal emotions I have felt to get into the mindset of the character in the song like in ‘Portraits of Polly’ for example where he is in a dark place but still remains positive that things will go turn out right in the end.”

MT: What was the process behind picking the tracks for this EP it doesn’t really feel like there’s any track that could be perhaps dubbed as filler everything song flows well within the EP but on their own, they could all equally be singles.

SM: “It was just the first 6 songs that we did together there wasn’t any specific song selected for the EP. Although we organised the EP tracklist in a way that it would get heavier and more interesting as it progressed.”

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Buffalos Bay 2017: Photo by Zoe Faulkner/ Review Excerpt by Betsy Bailie – “Buffalos Bay channel The Beatles, Pink Floyd and hippie America. They warm the atmosphere with their jangle pop riffs and paisley shirts. They combine electric guitar, acoustic guitar, bass, drums and keys in the style of Mac DeMarco. The keyboard player reminds me of a Beatle with his bowl haircut. They’ve got a swing and a rhythm, producing music that makes you feel high just from listening. Song “Tea On A Winters Day” is soul-warming and happy. Frontman asks “Does anybody work in a factory? Then this one’s for me” before playing a song bizarrely about doing so. The upbeat melodies overlook the abstract lyrics. They introduce ‘Early Morning Fry’ and the guitarists adds, “from McDonald’s”. They then backtrack and say, it’s “vegetarian though”. This song contains charming lyrics “When your dreams are shattered, vanished in the sky, have yourself an early morning fry”. I am a fan of their creative ideas and psychedelic riffs, and their stage presence is visually powerful.”

MT: What do you make of the local scene at the moment? Are there any band’s you feel are perhaps like yourselves doing something a bit different?

SM: “I think the local scene is fantastic as there are so many great bands with different genres so when you go and see a local gig its a very diverse selection of music.”

MT: What were the main influences behind this EP?

SM: “The main influences in terms of the skeleton of the songs would be the Bee Gees and The Kinks but then for the soundbed of the songs there are lots of different influences all mixed up together from the likes of Pink Floyd, The Doors etc!”

Front Cover
Living Under The Reef – Out Now!

MT: What’s next for Buffalos Bay?

SM: “Next for us we are going to start recording our 2nd EP and then hopefully next summer we can play more big festivals and take it from there!”

MT: For the next EP, will it be much the same or would you try experimenting?

SM: “The 2nd EP is entirely different, we have been working on these songs since the summer and they have really progressed into a style that we didn’t see coming ourselves so we are very excited for the next chapter and taking a few risks with it.”

MT: Lastly, in 3 words, can you sum up Living Under the Reef?

SM: “Adventurous Mysterious Romantic”

Buffalos Bay release Living Under the Reef at The Eglantine, Belfast tonight with support from The Late Twos, Amy Montgomery, Central Cities and Electric Blue. Doors open at 9pm [first act 9:20pm] and £5 admission. Further details and announcements can be found on this Facebook event.

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