Interview: Buster Shuffle

Buster Shuffle are made up of Jethro Baker (piano/vocal), Terry Mascali (drums), Tim Connell (double bass), James Stickley (guitar), Peter Oags (keys) and Carrie Griffths (backing vocals). The band describe their sound as “Madness mixed with Blur” and their album ‘Naked’ was released on the 15th September. Gigslutz caught up with them to discuss waking up next to a dog (yes, we mean the animal!) and apocalyptic circuses…

GIGSLUTZ: Hello Buster Shuffle. Where are you and what have you been up to this week?

A: We’ve just got back to London; we had a few gigs in Germany over the weekend, finishing up with a fantastic show in Cologne on Sunday night, the people there are awesome. The launch party for our new album ‘Naked’ is on Saturday at the Jazz Cafe in Camden so now we are getting ready for that.

GIGSLUTZ: You’ve toured with a real mix of artists: The Holloways, The Wombats, Goldie Lookin’ Chain and Chas ‘n’ Dave. How have these experiences shaped your own distinct sound?

A: I think we’ve learned a lot from all of them in terms of their live performance, its impossible to play with bands and not absorb something from them. You learn a lot about the work ethic of music as well though – people like Chas ‘n’ Dave have been doing it for so long and just have this in-built passion for what they do, they’ll never stop playing gigs. I guess that’s what has shaped us in a way – knowing that the bottom line is just to love playing music, everything else is secondary and when you lose your focus on that it falls apart.

GIGSLUTZ: What’s the craziest thing that’s happened whilst you’ve been on tour?

A: So many things to pick from…. We’ve been robbed by a Romanian family on the side of the motorway, strip searched by undercover police, been caught up in a riot in Rome, had my shoelaces tied together by a fan during a show and I once woke up with a dog sleeping on me after a gig in the Czech Republic!

GIGSLUTZ: You say you’ve “never really looked to any musical peers”. If that’s the case, who or what inspired you to do what you do? What would you be doing if you weren’t making music?

A: I think we all grew up with music really and some of the band come from very musical families – I guess playing an instrument just seemed the natural thing to do growing up. There are definitely loads of people who have inspired us though; Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, The Clash. You can’t really call them peers – they are icons. I’m not sure what we would be doing if we weren’t making music, probably spending more time with our friends and family!

GIGSLUTZ: Damon Albarn asks you to cover a Blur song for a tribute album he’s putting together. What song do you choose and why?

A: This is a difficult one, we all love Blur and we all have different favourite tunes of theirs. I love their really anthemic songs so it would probably have to be either ‘Tender’ or ‘The Universal’. Having said that I think we could do a great version of ‘Coffee And TV’ as well!

GIGSLUTZ: What was the first song you fell in love with and which album could you not live without?

A: The first album I ever bought was Queen Greatest Hits 1 on cassette, I was really into ‘Killer Queen’ and ‘You’re My Best Friend’. The albums I couldn’t live without are the first two Ben Fold’s Five records, they still sound as good to me now as they did when I first bought them years ago. They aren’t perfect records but I think that’s partly what I like about them, they just sound like three guys who love playing together finding their sound. ‘Smoke’, ‘Alice Childress’, ‘Philosophy’ and ‘The Battle Of Who Could Care Less’ are such incredible songs.

GIGSLUTZ: You worked with Jamie Ellis (Florence + the Machine, The Rifles) on the production of ‘Naked’. What was working with him like?

A: I really enjoyed working with Jamie, he’s so enthusiastic and has a great way of getting the best out of an idea. He’s very experimental as well and the new record sounds very different to the first two, a lot of that is his influence.

GIGSLUTZ: You played at Bestival this year. If Richard Branson gave you a shitload of cash and asked you to curate your own festival – who would you book?

A: I would book bands that know how to have fun on stage and entertain people, bands like The Polyphonic Spree or Gogol Bordello. I would probably blow most of the cash making it loads of fun and forget to book any decent headliners though! I imagine it would look something like an apocalyptic circus…

GIGSLUTZ: What’s next for Buster Shuffle?

A: The album has just come out so we will be touring around the UK and all over Europe to promote it. We’ll be covering a lot of ground in the next couple of months – Finland, Sweden, Czech Republic, Belgium, Germany, Denmark… I’m knackered just thinking about it! We’re really proud of ‘Naked’ so we can’t wait to get out there and start playing these new songs.

GIGSLUTZ: Thanks guys!

A: De nada.

Beth Kirkbride
I'm Beth Kirkbride and I came out of the womb with a pen in my hand. Okay, maybe that's a slight exaggeration, but I have wanted to write for as long as I can remember. I'm currently studying for my A Levels [English Lit, English Language, History] with the aspiration of reading English Literature at Uni. Easily entertained, I like live music, the internet, eating and sleeping.
Beth Kirkbride

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