OurVinyl Catches Up with The Budos Band's Jared Tankel - OurVinyl
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OurVinyl Catches Up with The Budos Band’s Jared Tankel

Interviews

Staten Island afro-beat-funksters The Budos Band are hitting the road again, tearing up the West Coast, East Coast, and Southeast in the next couple of months. The 12-piece vintage orchestra has been busy in New York City working on the follow-up to 2010’s Budos III. What’s in store for the Budos this year? OurVinyl caught up with Jared Tankel, the band’s bari-sax playing pseudo-frontman, to find out.

OurVinyl: You’ve spent the last couple of months working on new material- what’s up with the album, when will we see it?

Tankel: It’s been a little but slower this time around, writing, but I would say we’ve written a little over half of the material for the new record. We recorded some of the songs already, but I’m hoping that everything will be done so we can release in a year. All of the songs are slowly making their way into our set so we’ll be playing a handful of those for sure when we’re out there.

Last year you branched out to play some festivals and cities that you haven’t played before. What’s the new turf this year?

On this tour the only place that we haven’t been that we’re going to is Las Vegas, which should be exciting, I suppose, interesting, hopefully fun. But everywhere else we’ve played before on this run. It’s one of our favorite week-long trips where we start in Vancouver, hit Seattle, Portland, SF, then we get down to LA. San Francisco is always awesome for us. Portland is always great for us, and Vancouver’s a lot of fun too so its definitely one of our favorite treks.

How about festivals?

I have a feeling that a lot of the festivals we play this summer might be European. If the plan unfolds as we see it right now, which is to put the record out in a year, then we probably will be shooting to do a lot of the American festivals two summers from now.

Do you play out with many of the other Daptone musicians?

In April we’re doing a tour on the East Coast down to the Southeast with Charles Bradley, so all of the shows are going to be a double bill- Charles Bradley and his band and the Budos as well. Last year we did  a Midwest tour with them, so they’ve been, as of late, a kind of kindred spirit on Daptone. We actually did New Years this year with him, a big NY show in Brooklyn, it was pretty awesome.

How do you tour with so many people?

Its always interesting. First of all scheduling is always tough because –with the exception of a couple guys- nobody in the band is a full time musician, so we kind of have to play around with our work schedules to figure out what works. Outside of the logistics- when we actually get on the road- the best way to describe it is that we’re our own traveling party at all times. We can roll into a bar and we’re 10 guys and so we’ve brought the party immediately, which is the mentality that we have all the time on the road. We like to go on the road and have fun, we don’t like to just sit around in our hotel rooms. It’s always on the edge of complete chaos, but that’s usually a good thing. It’s one of our creative sources, always being on the edge of complete chaos. We hold it together enough that it never does delve into chaos, but it is dangerously close. Makes it exciting.

How much input does your huge percussion section have in the writing and arranging?

Our kit player Bryan has a lot to offer in terms of arranging, he has a really good ear for that. The percussion section is so solid at playing together as a section at this point and knows what we’re going for. They work really well together at creating the pocket that all of this falls into, between our conga players and our hand percussionists who may use shekeres, claves, cowbells or tambourines (or some combination thereof), they just know. I think because its such a big section that they really influence the overall tone of our sound. They’ve been playing together for so long that it really falls together really naturally.

Is there anything about your sound that you feel really shows your Staten Island/New York City roots?

We don’t really have any described genre, and its really like- as non-descriptive as it is- we’re really just sort of American instrumental music. A combination of a lot of different genres and scenes happen in New York and I think that that’s, in a way, the best way that we personify NY. I think that the fact that we combine afro beat, funk and soul, some hip hop  and jazz (in the percussion aspect) -and now we’re even getting more into like psychedelic rock influences- I think a lot of that has to do with the number of scenes and things going on in New York. You can really hear (the variety) here on a really developed level that we can then take back and incorporate into our own songs.

How is Budos best enjoyed?

I guess a beverage of your choice is probably a good idea, and a record player and good speakers, and having friends to share it with. If it supplies a party track, that’s even better. Whatever the social activity may be- good friends, good drinks, and a good time. I think overall we’re trying to create a party soundtrack to a certain extent, whether that be in your living room or on the dance floor when we’re playing at a show.

What’s the coolest or weirdest place that you played last year?

Kansas City was kind of weird, but it ended up being awesome. KC and OK City were these really bizarre places to go because I don’t think anybody had been there before. We pulled up to the venue in OK City and the sign was falling off the post, and we walked in and the venue, all this furniture was jus stacked up, piled in the corner of the room, and it was definitely weird. We felt like we had stepped into a weird alternate reality or something lie that. And Kansas City, too. The venue was in a strip mall, and we don’t have a lot of those here, but in general its not the typical setting that you picture a venue being in. The crowd ended up lining around the whole perimeter of the entire strip mall to get in and it was totally packed and sold out. The fact that none of us had even been to KC before blew us away. We had no idea where these people were coming from or how they could’ve possibly known about us. Just seeing that all these people form a place that none of us knew anything about came out to see us kicked the tour into high gear.

You’ve been playing with the Budos Band for a while now. Any signs of slowing down?

It’s been almost 9 years and overall, it’s great. I think we’re such good friends at this point, we’re always going to be a band together at some level. Whether or not we’re always active touring and recording I guess is another thing depending on things that happen, but I’d be surprised if the Budos Band ever broke up. Maybe 5 years down the road we may not be as busy as we are now with writing recording and touring, but I think we’ll always be around to some extent.

Will the Budos be playing near you? Check here for dates and tickets! And check back at the end of the month for OurVinyl’s review of the Budos Band’s San Francisco show February 23rd at the Independent!

Curious what the Budos Band is all about? Check out this review by OurVinyl of their show at Outland Live in Columbus, OH last February!

Photos by Brian Hockensmith, www.facebook.com/bhockensmithphotography