By Natalie Comfort
Buckets, a four-piece indie-punk band based in LA, recently released their debut on Apr. 23, 2020. We sat down (over zoom) with Tanner Houghton, Sasha Massey, Hiram Sevilla, and Mitch Rossiter to speak about their personal musical backgrounds, the process of creating their debut album through lockdown, and the inspiration behind their band.
Q: When did you all meet? How did you decide to form a band?
Tanner: I have a different project. It’s called “Follies & Vices”, it’s a pop project. We put up an ad on Craigslist for a drummer… we got maybe six auditions and Hiram was one of them.
Hiram: or the best…
Tanner [laughing]: Yeah, number one was what I meant to say. We just hit it off. He’s an amazing session drummer and an amazing writer too. So, before and after “Follies & Vices” practices, him and I and Sasha would just be jamming. Then at some point, we just decided to take it more seriously.
Mitch: Tanner and Sasha moved down to Los Angeles together from Seattle. So they knew each other. They roped Hiram into “Follies & Vices” where the three of them started this “Buckets” project. I had booked them a couple of times when they were playing as a three-piece and basically, after the first show, I pulled Tanner aside and I said, “I’m going to play bass for you guys”. Essentially, I forced my way into the band after seeing them at their first show. Sometimes you gotta kick the door in.
Q: What are each of your individual musical backgrounds?
Hiram: I’m like 10 years older than everybody else in the band so I’ve been playing for a long time in Mexico but my dream was to play in the US. Some neighbor told me there was an audition for a drummer. It was a Latin punk band that watched me play at the House of Blues in West Hollywood. After a while, I was like why am I playing Latin music again and I’m in the US. So, my wife found the craigslist app and was like hey check these guys out. So that’s how I met Tanner and started playing for Follies & Vices.
Sasha: I guess my background comes all from “Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3.” The Ramones were on there and all this other cool shit and really got into that kind of music. My mom bought me a guitar in fifth grade, and I’ve been glued to it ever since.
Tanner: I made primarily hip-hop music for a long time. Since I was 15, I just liked writing a lot and hip-hop seemed like the closest thing to poetry. Around 18, I got sick of relying on other people to make beats or play guitar for me so I started learning guitar as best as I could. I started with hip-hop and quickly moved to loving screaming and being noisy with a guitar.
Mitch: In high school, I played in a bunch of ska and reggae bands in addition to playing bass and being a drummer. I learned to play drums to bands like “Streetlight Manifesto” which kind of bridged the gap between ska and punk. As I got older, I started playing more bass and more hardcore bands. Towards the end of college, I got really into indie-folk; I used to play bass in a country band even. So, I’ve kind of been all over the map. But I think the way I play bass is influenced by all the ska I listened to at 12 years old.
Q: How did you get your album to sound so cohesive when you were all apart during the pandemic?
Mitch: That’s mostly praise to Tanner and Sasha, they spent hours making it especially just working on guitar tones. I would sit in my living room during quarantine and just track bass and then send four different takes of the same song.
Tanner: This was the first time I ever produced anything. I’ve watched a lot of people and that’s helped a lot over the years, looking over someone’s shoulders while they are producing me. I think the same with Sasha, we came with our combined knowledge. But really the biggest thing that made the record sound cohesive was that all the drums were recorded in the same room at the same time. If the drums were recorded in different rooms at different times, you would hear a bigger difference. We also used the same mic for all the vocals. It was like a $1500 mic from guitar center and when we were done with the record we returned it and got all of our money back. It was worth it.
Q: When you are performing what do you want people to take away from that experience?
Mitch: I know that our music, especially when we perform live, is a little bit more intense than on the record. Our sound is not for everyone, and no music ever is. But I think we put out a good live performance. I want people to see us and think, wow they are really having fun up there. Hopefully that allows other people to at least enjoy the vibe we are bringing, even if they don’t like all the screaming. We play shows where we are definitely the most energetic band by far. It’s fun to see the crowd get into it whether it’s their cup of tea or not.
Sasha: My biggest thing is that other people out there are like “I could fucking do that.” It’s super cheesy, but someone told me the other week to live to inspire and I hope we inspire others to give it a shot up there.
Spotify @ Buckets