It is not simple to categorize Rum Buffalo, an 8-piece band that finds its sound by pushing the boundaries of what they can accomplish. Their songs unfurl like the evil twin of the bustling London metropolis that birthed them—vivid, energetic, and unpredictable.
Their forthcoming album, Bloodmoon, is their most ambitious work to date: tracked in ten days at a converted barn in the countryside of Wales, the record burns with the limitless creativity of the individuals who make up the project. A raucous horn section and fervid beats propel the songs forward, while a haunting, women-led chorus of almost mythical proportions cackles, sings, and shouts throughout the album. Led by the magnetic Jake Stevens, Rum Buffalo creates a landscape that knows no bounds, a quality that is mirrored in Stevens’ songwriting.
“It’s a whole sonic world, this realm we’re engrossed in. I feel like that when we play it live, [and felt like that] when we created it.” Stevens says. “I think it’s a comfortable and natural thing to do, to make a Rum Buffalo song about something otherworldly, because that’s what the music inspires.”
With charisma, Rum Buffalo invites their audiences to join them on a wild odyssey through their album, an experience that is undeniably inviting. It is perhaps this same reason that the band has been able to exist for as long as it has.
“It’s not easy to have a project in London; it’s so hectic and everything is happening.” Stevens says. “I feel very grateful that I grew up here and have this strong sense of family and bringing people together.” As the child of a single-parent home, Stevens cites his mother, who is also a musician and a songwriter, as having a large role in developing this sense of community that is so central to Rum Buffalo.
“The concept of family for me has always been my mum’s friends—the rocks around her. Growing up with that idea, my friends feel like family, they don’t feel like friends.”
It is this communal quality of the band that helped bring their song Spark Dreamer into fruition. The twisted rock n' roll dance anthem is a fast-paced trip through somebody’s worst nightmare. The song was inspired by a fan in China, who presented the story of a character who wakes up bereft of their creativity, and spends their entire life searching for it in vain to eventually welcome death as the final reprieve. With impassioned vocals, Stevens channels his own anger into the song, while making nods to the mythical plight of Sisyphus: “My brain’s a rolling boulder / Not much to save.”
Despite the eerie, affected vocals, and the aggressiveness of the pulsing beat that seems to drive the song into some kind of hellish afterlife, an element of delight resides within the track, as is characteristic of Rum Buffalo’s sound. Stevens cites their live performances as having a large influence on developing the sound of the band: “Often in those very infectious moments where you’re performing to a crowd, and the crowd is performing to you, there is this kind of punk, evil vibe. We come from this place of performing live on a big scale. People want to move like they’re in some kind of crazy story.”
After touring internationally and making a name for themselves within the London underground music scene, Rum Buffalo crowd-funded 10,000 pounds to complete the recording of their debut self-titled full-length. The record was produced by Ru Lemer, and engineered by Ru Lemer and Leon Marley Itzler at Giant Wafer Studios in Wales. It features Jake Stevens, James Wilson, Jake Chapman, Jamie Reibl, Rosie Turton, Harrison Cole, Felix Weldon, and Nuno Brito.