You read that right.
What happens when you combine legendary noise artist from around the county to all create something greater than the sum of their parts, something that pushes them into new terrain stylistically, approach-wise and creatively, something that bolsters more country than contact mic…? You get the undefined beauty that is Buck Young, and their debut album, Buck II: Where Do You Want It?
Comprised of intersectional noise aficionados, Zoe Burke (Sapphogeist, Leper Jenny), Jason Crumer, Joseph Hammer and AF Jones, Buck Young also features Wyatt Howland (Skin Graft), Richard Dunn (FFH), Vanessa Rosetto, Rose Rae (Apologist), and Waylon Riffs (Facedowninshit). ….STACKED.
Buck II: Where Do You Want It is an experimental cinematic-narratively based classic that connects hyper creative noise artist from around the county in a surprisingly and refreshing country inspired context.
Songs like “Ballad of Bruce McLain”, “Long Distance Phone Call” and “Bell Jar of Whiskey” immediately showcase Zoe Burke in a new light. Exposing her lyricism, unique vocal stacks and tongue ‘n cheek nature, each record also encases these undeniably catchy motifs that begs one to keep pushing repeat long after the record finishes.
Mixed with the cunning timbres and raunchess melodics that make up records like Quiet (on the) Frontier, Wake Up Reno and Heist, Buck II keeps you on your toes. You never know when they’re gonna say fuck it and just go harsh, like the aptly entitled, Twister.
Where Do You Want It is a full course meal, a wild ride – cohesive – yet fragmented and on edge. We had a chance to catch up with Zoe and peel back the layers behind this cinematic novel.
S3R News: Zoooooeeeeeeeee, ugh this album tho. So who all is apart of this collab and how did it develop?
Zoe Burke: Oh boy, so the thing about this band that’s wild is that there are more people involved than I’ve even met. We tried to do something different with it. Members of our extended noise community from all over the country who share our interests, namely creating a new kind of noise music that’s rooted in the nebulous concept of “Americana”, have contributed bits and pieces that make up this whole thing. My bandmate Crumer is kind of the maestro figure who reigned in all of these scattered pieces and formed them into a cohesive vision. The main players are Jason Crumer and I with Joseph Hammer, a legend of Western noise music, making reel to reel loops that tear holes in the space time continuum. AF Jones plays the beautiful slide guitar hymns you’ll hear throughout the record. Also present are Skin Graft aka the king of Midwest harsh noise, Richard Dunn, Vanessa Rosetto, Rose Rae, and Waylon Riffs. Basically, Crumer was the locus of all of these disparate points in spatial noise country who organized us all. And we all know how hard it is to get a group of freaks from all over the place together to do anything.
S3R News: Love how the album draws from your noise background with experimental and disarrayed elements, but is bathed in cinematic beauty and melody. What inspired you to go more this direction than the harsher noise sounds alot of our homies work with?
Zoe: Me and Crumer have been musical collaborators for years now. We lived together in a blasted out ex auto body shop showspace in Baltimore called America, where we started the first band I was ever in with our friend Anoushe. It was called Reverse Baptism and it was a double female fronted power electronics project that quickly developed a reputation in the subterranean noise world as a chaotic and punishing experience. It was definitely the most depraved and harsh music I’ve ever been a part of making, basically me and Anoushe would shriek and howl lyrics about traumatic experiences mixed in with absurdist comedy while getting physical with the audience, all the while Crumer’s in the back blasting everyone with grating harsh noise. So those are my roots and Crumer’s been there with me to see it all. I think we definitely brought the dark comedy element of Reverse Baptism into this project as well. But as for why I personally decided to go in this direction, I think it was just a natural progression for me after feeling so displaced for so many years after our showspace got shut down, and just hitchhiking and riding freight trains around the country for long stretches of time, seeing all the nooks and crannies hidden in this country. How can you not make country music after going through something like that?
S3R News: The album’s visuals, titles and sonic aesthetics are also rooted in southern inspiration. Which I love, having family from the south. Do you some roots in southern America? Where was your head with that?
Zoe: On the contrary, I come from a generational line of New Yorkers and my family has always lived in the northeast as far as I know. Being so rooted in the urban gridscape of NYC I have always held a wanderlust and deep curiosity about other ways of living in this sprawling country. I spent a handful of years living in Baltimore, which although it’s not exactly the south, was my introduction to less fast-paced and more personal ways of life, which made a massive impact on me in more ways than I can count. I love traveling in the southern parts of the country because it just feels like time moves more slowly down there and we have so much more of it to share with our friends. When I moved back up here and realized that people don’t cook for each other and share meals every day I was devastated! I’m trying to bring what I understand about southern living up into this city and practice that kind of radical sharing and care as often as I can. Crumer is from Midwest corn country (or “shithole country” as he calls it) and has also done his fair share of traveling. He’s always been the biggest country music fan I know, so it was just a matter of time before we started making it together.
S3R News: Wassup with this album art. Its Clutch asf.
Zoe: Brian Blomerth! One of my favorite artists and someone I also go way back with. He used to make insane chiptuney noise music as Narwhalz Of Sound that was always a twisted experience to see. I dunno maybe he’s actually still doing it, but the dude’s art has been taking off like crazy recently so that’s definitely his focus, as it should be because it rules. All these psychedelic dog people! I highly recommend checking his stuff out, he just put out his first graphic novel and it’s about the history of LSD. You can peep it on his gram @pupsintrouble.
S3R News: Bell Jar of Whiskey. Love that group vocal youre doing…fuckkkkk. Tell us about about the vocal layers… and creating the record in general, its beautiful.
Zoe: My recording process with this band has always been to just show up at Crumer’s house with my TC Helicon, proceed to get blackout drunk off cheap liquor, go down to the basement, and record as many vocal takes as I can before my voice gives out, or I forget how to work the damn thing, or we accidentally delete all the recordings because we’re too loaded. I think this method is time tested and it really brings out what I consider to be my melancholic country crooner voice. I’m always trying to sing something so miserable that you can’t help but laugh at it.
Aside from my voice, sometimes I will bring my field recorder while joyriding freight trains across the country. Have you ever gotten up close and personal with a speeding freight train? It’s like a freaking noise music gospel. Truly transcendental sonic experience. I’ll record one while riding and send it over to Crumer who then chops and screws it into a noise track for the record. I think knowing that a bunch of the sounds you’re hearing are from me riding, but not knowing exactly which sounds they are amidst a sea of cinematic noise, is a really cool element of this album.
S3R News: Whats next for Buck Young? Tours, videos, give up the goods.
Zoe: We’re working on a video for Bell Jar which will be out soon. Our friend Ed up in Rhode Island has an ancient film camera and he took a bunch of great shots of us all shooting the shit around a campfire in what they call the “Rhode Island Desert”. I can’t wait to see how it turns out.
Due to the nature of this band literally being a web of disparate individuals existing in different realities across the country, it is pretty unlikely that we will ever get together to play a show, much less tour. But I’m alright with that, I like it being this sort of nebulous and hard to pin down thing, much like the themes of traditional American music we’re dealing with here. But we’re gonna keep working on this vision, and we’re already in cahoots about what we’re doing next.
You can buy Young Buck – Buck II: Where Do You Want It? now on No Rent Records below: