Ernie, frontman and songwriter of the band Bison Face speaks to loudstuff.
How would you describe your music?
I’ve recently been using the phrase “Tatooine Grunge”. It’s like 90s-esque guitar music with a space western undertow. Loud guitars, pounding drums and an eerie cinematic feel in the background. Plus I’ll jump at any chance to chuck in a Star Wars reference!
Tell us about the history of the project?
At the tail end of 2018 I was writing a lot of music but didn’t really have anywhere for it to go. It was the first time I’d been without my own band in a long time. When Alex moved back up from Brighton I sent him all the demos and he dug it so we started jamming them out and those tracks became the first live set in about June last year. We went through a revolving door process for a while with the rhythm section but we got Jonny and Arthur and now it’s all clicked, so I’m super happy.
What are your influences/ musical heroes?
The band has a plethora of influences: Soundgarden, Foo Fighters, QOTSA, Radiohead, Blur, and My Bloody Valentine to name a few. Nirvana were the band that made me want to be a musician and think it wasn’t an unnatainable pursuit. Jimmy Page was the one that made me fall in love with guitar. Dinosaur Pile-Up are the band that made me go, “Fuck Yeah! Guitar music is still cool”.
What inspires you?
My lyrics flutter between personal experiences and mental health, to fantastical sci-fi and dystopian themes and some alt-pop culture. There are film references smattered throughout, but I mainly write about what’s in my head. Art is a big part of my life and so is poetry and literature, I think there’s inspiration to be found in almost anything if you let yourself look at things differently.
Do you write on the road? Or do you prefer to write in the studio?
I usually write at home in my small studio space. Sometimes things can gestate in a soundcheck or a rehearsal when you’re all jamming together. Many of our songs have changed quite drastically after being played live a few times, but for the most part I’m holed up at god knows what time in the morning hunched over a guitar.
What is your favourite song to perform live?
Heathers is always crazy fun because people seem to know the words already, so it creates this huge energy we all thrive off. It’s the most poppy/fast song, it’ll probably be the lead single off the new EP.
What would be your dream tour to be a part of?
I think jumping on a Foo Fighters, QOTSA tour would be the collective, “What the fuck,” tour.
But I would love to do a Dinosaur Pile-Up – Fangclub – Bison Face tour, that would be the most fun ever.
What are your current thoughts on the music industry?
It’s a weird one. I guess we weren’t around in the days when it was different but I guess the internet has been both a blessing and a curse. It’s an amazing tool to be able to promote yourself and interact with people all over the world, but on the other hand it means that there is even more noise to try and be heard over.
Things like X Factor just made it about looks and karaoke props rather than songwriting and musicianship, so hopefully we keep steering away from that and get back to what music should be about.
What is the funniest/weirdest experience you have had on tour?
We’re still babies in terms of a career, we haven’t even really done a tour thus far. Before our first headline show we did a 5-hour practice in a tiny room with no air con or fans and we pretty much all nearly passed out. Either that or just some stupid post show drunkenness.
Also, I almost fell down some stairs with Kev from Fangclub’s bass amp, that was nearly a shit time.
What are your future plans?
Once we’re out of lockdown we’ll be back in the studio to finish the EP, and be putting that out sharpish. We’ve been sitting on those songs a while so I’m excited for everyone to hear it not just live!
The first single ‘Mallrats’ will be out soon, but I’m not sure on dates due to the lockdown.
As soon as it’s all recorded I just want to play ALL the shows. And once we’re exhausted from that I’ve written a load more material for the next cycle. But it’ll just be nice to be able to practice and drink together again.