Erin Hussey ’19 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Self-proclaimed “indie psych cuties,” Buddha Trixie is a four-piece from San Diego, California. The group began with high school friends Dennis Moon and Andrew Harris getting together to play some guitar. They were later joined in 2008 by Daniel Cole on drums and vocals. After graduating high school in 2014, Kenzo Mann joined on as keyboardist/guitarist when he met Moon attending University of California Davis. College hasn’t stopped the music for these dudes who just re-released their first official EP on Spotify and TIDAL. The EP is appropriately titled Real and features a rough style and it’s marketing relying on self-promotion by the band.
Though spread across California at UC Davis, Chapman University, and Santa Clara University, Buddha Trixie managed to play a few shows while working on Real. Earlier this year, Emertainment Monthly had the pleasure of chatting with the band via Skype to discuss the release of Real, long-distance band relationships, and what rock ’n’ roll is really all about.
Beginning the Skype call, four pairs of staring eyes and a crackling chorus of “hi, hello,” pop out of from the boys as they sit around a computer in Dennis Moon’s living room across the country in Davis, California.
Emertainment Monthly: So you recently re-released your EP, Real, now on TIDAL and Spotify. What did you want to say about yourselves as a band by making that the title of your first major release?
Daniel Cole: I think that’s kind of our collective favorite song out of the four, so it just seemed representative of what we want people to think of us.
Dennis Moon: All the songs on that album are to some extent erratic, in that they go into different places. I think if you make us write one hundred songs, a majority of them will turn out sounding more genre-wise like “Real.” We stray more psychedelic than we do towards the punk, at least in the stuff we’ve written since then. The EP was sort of like a sampler of all different things we could sound like. . .the more poppier, concise thing that we were writing two or three years ago, or “Real,” which is kind of our newer direction.
EM: What is your songwriting process like?
DM: It depends on what’s happening, but being at college, each of us are having to individually try and take things forward. I do a lot of recording on my own time and then I’ll send it to them. We actually have a shared SoundCloud that we put all our beats on. If Andrew and I write something that we want Daniel to tack onto or want the other guys to hear, then we’ll throw it up there.
Then would you say that songwriting has been the biggest challenge since going off to separate colleges?
DM: Songwriting is definitely huge. We really work well writing songs when we’re together. We’re never at a loss. . .we have just hundreds of unused things in the can, and not being able to take those to fruition right away, sometimes they just get shelved and forgotten about.
Andrew Harris: We’re more of a band’s band. . .A lot of things I’m writing, I think we need to finish as we’re jamming. We write a lot of things that when we’re jamming would come into songs, but if we don’t have anyone to jam with, then it’s kind of hard to bring them forward.
Are you in the studio or looking to release a full album any time soon?
DC: We’re trying to release a full-length in 2017.
DM: We’re going to be recording probably a little bit over the next few months up in Sacramento. Once we get it done, we want to release it right, not just throw it up on SoundCloud. You know, have a label behind it, have a proper release, nice-looking presentation.. .instead of just, “Hey, here’s a SoundCloud link! Everyone on my Facebook friends list, please listen to it,” and hope that the word gets out.
You mentioned nice-looking presentation, where did the cover art for Real come from?
AH: My brother made it randomly. We were looking for a cover and he produced the EP as well, so he kind of just put his stamp on it. His voice is also the last voice you hear in “99 Cent Tacos,” the “bum bum bum” is him.
DC: I’d like to go on record saying Mitchell Harris is the the coolest individual I’ve ever met, and I don’t think that will ever change.[Moving away from “Buddha Trixie the band” to “Buddha Trixie the dudes,” the conversation shifts to what they’ve been listening to in 2016 and who they are outside of music.]
DM: My favorite records of the year have been hip hop so far, I like Anderson Paak’s record a lot, Kendrick’s newer stuff as well. I listen to Unknown Mortal Orchestra like 24/7.
AH: I still listen to Interpol all the time
DC: Who do I listen to. . .I’m checking my own Facebook to figure out what I listen to.
[A group of college guys discussing their passion for music all at once can get a little loud, especially over Skype, but a few artist names are audible.]
Tame Impala always! A lot of DIIV, Beach House, and Wilco.
What are your hobbies outside of the studio, outside of music?
[They all laugh.]
DM: I play baseball. I’m on the club team, intramural sports.
AH: I read a lot.
DC: I’m on the improv team, that’s the only thing I do besides music.
Kenzo, You came into Buddha Trixie in 2014 after meeting Dennis. How did you become a part of the group?
KM: Dennis and I met up here in Davis last year at the radio station, training to become DJs. We hung out a lot, we’re both musicians. At some point, he was kind of, “Dude, join my band.” They needed a fifth player to fill out their sound. I’m from Fullerton, which is in Orange County, an hour and a half from San Diego, so I’d just drive down for shows and whatnot.
DM: He’s been very good about not having the distance be an obstacle at all.
DC: He fit in like a puzzle piece. Dennis said he’s a really cool dude, and I trusted his judgement. I didn’t expect him to be so personality compatible, but then he was already cracking my kind of jokes. It’s too bad he sucks at his instruments, but he’s a cool guy.
Daniel, you’re the vocalist and the drummer. How do you think you’ve used that format to make your performance different than the typical frontman setup?
DC: I used to play a traditional drum set, but there was this energy missing. We just had Andrew and Dennis, and they’re not the most rockin’ people.
AH and DM: Yeah, Daniel is a born performer. . .honestly the most fun to watch on stage by far.
DC: I play standing up with my bass drum behind me now. It’s really fun to have the body independence to get into a song, and when people see one of the members getting into the song, they feel they can get into the song. I have so much fun, I come off sweating because it’s so fun, I catch myself smiling like an idiot the whole time.
KM: I could just watch Daniel the whole time. . .but I also go hard behind the keyboard.
DM: I can feel myself loosen up more on stage.
AH: I’m more of a shoegazer, I want the sound coming out to be perfect. I don’t really care what I look like on stage.
DC: Andrew is like a little wizard type. . .[To Harris] You should get a wizard robe.
Any last words?
DC: More girls should come up and talk to me after the show. I get really lonely. See something, say something, and also to buy more things! More girls come up and buy more things, they talk to me, so then I ultimately have girls and money, which is what this is all about, right? That’s what rock ’n’ roll is all about…
DM: I think he’s joking
DC: You think, you hope, that this isn’t just a character, a masquerade, a charade.
[Cole gets up, accompanied by a dramatic exit.]
DM: I think you’re going to be impressed with what we come out with next.
You can find Real on iTunes, Spotify, TIDAL, and Bandcamp. Below is the official music video from the title track.