Welcome to a hyper-fantastical reality born out of the sweet summer love between 80s babies and thrift store synth junkies. Carved from a bedrock of war drums by abnormal guitar melodies and textured with the digital impatience of Ableton, Austin, TX trio BUHU dare you to take the red pill and see what wonderland has to offer.
At the warp-core of the BUHU universe resides drummer Clellan Hyatt, bassist, synth-wrangler, and abstract programmer Juan Pablo Mendez, and guitarist / vocalist Jeremy Rogers. Together, they charge defiantly into the churning, gelatinous mass of post-1985 party rock, slashing away with sonic broadswords to reveal the essential truth within.
Relationshapes, their first full length – and the follow-up to the critically lauded 4-Track Cinemat live video EP – captures a flash-frozen portrait of the struggles of youthful love, emotional toxicity, and redemption between twentysomethings that aren’t fully formed yet themselves. There is a tidal pull within the record, balancing the darkness with a profound feeling of happiness and confidence. “I want young people to feel empowered” explains Rogers. “It’s easy to feel lost and confused about who you are and your place in the world, but it’s the best time to explore yourself and the world around you.”
BUHU first assembled into their current Mechagodzilla form when Rogers, a veteran of the Wisconsin scene, relocated to Austin, TX in search of warmer inspiration. Mendez walked into the bar Rogers was tending, the two got to talking and it was soon clear that they shared a passion for rock drums, heavy synth bass lines, guitar riffage, auto-tuned vocals, and most importantly, live music sequencing software.
Together, their musical options were limitless, melding Rogers’ water-witch knack for divining melody with Mendez’s 4am deep-set house DJ sense of rhythm. The only thing missing was a legit heavy-duty rock drummer. That Thanksgiving, Hyatt and his friends walked into Rogers’ empty bar, played 90s dance jams all night, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Their first, semi-official release as a trio was the 4-Track Cinemat. “We wanted to do something truly unique” explains Rogers. “We decided to record every instrument on every song in a different location and film it. We recorded in trees, under staircases, in food trucks and on bar patios… We recorded in a tattoo shop while I was getting a tattoo. So ridiculous.”
When it came time to craft Relationshapes the band held to their core ethos and recorded the bulk of the raw tracks themselves – apart from the drums, and not in trees this time. Collaborator Danny Reisch from Good Danny’s introduced the band to Brad Bell (Arcade Fire, The War On Drugs, Spoon). The chemistry between all involved was immediate and undeniable, and they soon set to work. After tracking, the album was mixed by Bell and Mastered by Jeff Lipton (Andrew Bird, LCD Soundsystem, Battles).
The cover of Relationshapes holds a secret key that unlocks the record’s meaning. Multiple hands posing in ASL protrude from a triangle, representing our sonic marauders; three sides of the one whole. Each side (though different) is sharing the load evenly, sending the message, refusing to let it metaphorically “fall on deaf ears”; Relationshapes is about the shape of your relationship with the world around you, the good and the gritty. Every day we move through life is another day we reconcile our greatest fears with our grandest dreams. “The ideas behind Relationshapes can’t be ignored – we all are living it every day” says Rogers. “Everyone, everywhere is living out their relationshapes… We just happened to record ours, and you know what? So has every other band that has ever recorded an album, EVER. LOL”