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Band Crush: Blackbutton

April 30, 2010

Getting ready to release their second record, Gun Shot Lover, Blackbutton are gearing up for another successful year of performing their hard-hitting brand of alternative rock and further unifying the Boston music scene. Since their 2009 debut release, That Thing That You Want To Put A Finger To Is Because, the guitar/drums duo have been performing in basements, venues and festivals, have been endorsed by a plethora of press, and have charted on radio stations nationwide. I asked the duo – Jordan M. Tavenner (guitar/vocals) and Anshul Jain (drums) – what they expect out of this year and how their new release is different from the first:

BBC: What do you hope to accomplish this year after the release of Gun Shot Lover?

Jordan: I have some new ideas for Blackbutton. I kind of feel like I have filled up the room with everything I can sing about and create with a drummer. After the release, I want to take a step back from the traveling and booking of shows because I really want to add a bass player permanently. Bringing in the new instrument will free me up a ton on guitar, and I think first, I want to tackle our repertoire, working on re-composition. I think it’s gonna change the way I write songs. We do have a couple shows over the summer, so I won’t be hiding away, but that’s the plan so far. Hopefully by the fall I can reintroduce the band to Boston with some new stuff.

Anshul: I look forward to fun, bass-drum groove and the newly liberated guitar sounds that will result. Having a bassist will allow me to develop a whole new angle of communication within songs, and will widen the range of overall sounds that we can create and manipulate as a collective unit.

BBC: What is different about your new release compared to your first and why do these differences exist?

Jordan: I look at the two records as opposites. In November, when we were batting around the idea of going into the studio again, I sat down with Shane O’Connor in Davis Square and asked him if he would be interested in doing another project with me. I told him that I wanted the new material to be less of a big production. Initially, I wanted the recording process to move quickly. Right off, Shane suggested recording to tape. He explained how everything would sound different, and that the process itself would be different, as we would have to make tough decisions about what tracks to keep, when to stop, and when to move on. I of course thought it was a great idea; and that’s how the record started out. Aside from tape, another huge difference is the production. For That Thing…, we had all of the compositions completed before we went into the studio, and all of the production work in the studio was focused around making the songs sound bigger than life. This time around, I composed most of the tracks in the studio, even wrote lyrics while listening to playbacks. I thought of it as a challenge to myself to make each track better than the next. I had a lot of fun in the process because Barefoot Studios has a ton of guitars, and basically every time I had an idea, we had the tools to execute it.

Anshul: Despite having less deliberate preparation, I felt that we were much more comfortable with the entire process this time around. I felt much more aware of possibilities and limitations created by the physical parameters of the recording space. This record was a lot more fun for me, but once again, a lot of that is probably just a function of a little more familiarity. In reflecting on both albums, I really just must insist that our next project NOT be recorded in the cold, dead, unforgiving middle of the winter.

BBC: You have been hard at work unifying the Boston music scene with your ongoing promotional events Blackbutton Presents. What local artist that you have worked with or are planning to work with is currently most exciting to you?

Jordan: I’m excited for the release show! I really do think it’s the best bill I’ve been on so far. I’m a fan of each band performing, and I know a lot of people out there aren’t aware of these bands right off, and if they come, I think back to back, all night, they are gonna dig each band. It’s interesting to me, the amount of people in Boston that love music but do not go to live shows at all. Just about everyone I know at my old restaurant job has no idea of the local music that goes on each night around Boston and Cambridge, let alone know the bands. To those people: come to this show, and I really think you’ll be amazed.

Anshul: I’m excited about every band we have worked with, or plan to work with. I don’t say that to be evasive or disingenuous—I mean that. But this show is special—Shoney Lamar & The Equal Rights and the Shills are friends of ours, and Electric Laser People are going to give this show a really fun and unique kickoff. It’s maddening to me that so many people in the city of Boston have no idea how many awesome bands are playing every night, all around them. Bands record, bands have local gig calendars, and bands tour—nights like this are difficult to assemble, and are well worth neglecting Faneuil Hall or Boylston Street for a night.

BBC: Anything you specifically want to tell your fans and our readers?

Jordan: Yes, thank you so much for attending live music shows. Sometimes I feel like it’s all a dying industry, but when I see all the people out on weekdays and weekends at venues it makes me feel really good. I hope to see you out on the 15th.

Anshul: I just want everyone to know that I really do appreciate the support—when people come to shows, listen to our music or drop a line, it means a lot to me, it’s a lot of fun for me, and it makes all the time, logistical challenges and labor completely worth it.

Just for being the loyal reader that you are, Boston Band Crush and Blackbutton are making their first single available to you for download!

Download the first single off of Gun Shot Lover: Chump

And don’t forget to scurry on over to their record release show:

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