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Album Premiere: "Bloodmoon" by Rum Buffalo

31 March 2023

Photo Credit: Ezzidin Alwan

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.”

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.

Exclusive Quote from Jake Chapman:

“We started as a busking troupe playing trad Jazz in London almost exactly a decade ago. Since then, the band has somehow evolved into this riff heavy Psych Rock beast. None of this was premeditated, but as musicians have gravitated to the project and moved away from it, bringing diverse influences and feels, the pieces of our musical puzzle have gradually fallen into place to form our first full length album. It bears all of the marks of our experiences as a live band and is bursting at the seams with the influences, genres and musicians which make up Rum Buffalo’s past and present.

The ‘Bloodmoon’, which lends its name to the album, has almost taken on an occult symbolism for us. It’s like a portal which opens up periodically, offering glimpses into parallel worlds, alien landscapes and ethereal characters. ‘Dark Mountain’ presents a mining crew unknowingly searching for a mysterious, other-worldly power. ‘Spark Dreamer’ depicts a character desperately hunting for the spark of inspiration inside his own dreams. ‘Slumtown Nightmare’ maps out a sprawling post-apocalyptic cityscape. The songs are vivid emotions fleshed out with dream logic.

The Doctor Frankenstein to this patchwork monster of a record is our producer Ru Lemer. He both nurtured and tamed our gluttony for a full sound and our historical penchant for genre skipping. He nurtured it by fighting for the inclusion of some of our more Jazzy back catalogue. Songs like Fire have the unmistakably swung shuffle of our early busking days. He tamed it by somehow creating sonic cohesion between these older sounds and newer material like ‘Spark Dreamer which borrows more from EDM than Jazz.

An exciting opportunity we had whilst producing this album was the chance to work with a choral element. We never really get to do that live. We reached out to 13 of our favourite female vocalists and recorded them in a beautiful echo-y church in the East End of London. The result really elevates the sound and scale of the recordings.

It’s tremendously exciting to finally be able to share ‘Bloodmoon’. In particular with all of the fans who helped us fund it. A particular shoutout to Linus, who reached out to support us from halfway around the world and was the inspiration behind our last single: ‘Spark Dreamer’. Everyone has been so supportive of our music and patient for us to get to this point in our journey. It feels like we’re finally getting something huge off of our chests.”