Jamendo: First of all, what is the story behind the name "Great White Buffalo"? Does it refer to something in particular?
Great White Buffalo: When we were just getting started we ran through some names that we all collectively hated... I think it was Graham's sister who suggested Great White Buffalo and she had even drawn the first sketch of what would become our logo... We couldn't say no.
Could you introduce each musician in the band?
Graham Bockmiller - Lead vocals, guitar
Stephen Johnson - Vocals, lead guitar
Paul Hiller - Bass
Rich Carrillo - Drums
Tell us how everything began. Where and when did you meet? What made you start playing music together?
Well Steve and Graham have known each other since high school, but we didn't really know one another until we started the band down in San Diego. We were playing in L.A. for a while and our old drummer was moving out of town, and we were going to play our last show with a very uncertain future. Rich ended up coming to check out our last show and was really into it. After that we jammed with him and it just clicked. The three of us recorded our last EP on our own, until we found Paul on Craigslist of all places. He responded to our email because he said it was the only band that contacted him that "didn't suck". After jamming with him it turns out he doesn't suck either, and it's been a tasty fit ever since.
You just released an excellent self-titled EP on Jamendo, what inspires you when you write songs?
It's always a combination of things. Whatever we are feeling or thinking when we go into the studio to rehearse will inevitably come out in the music. A lot of the time we'll just be in there and start playing something random and things just come out. Pretty soon we'll all be on the same page and the feel of the song will be very apparent. It's a very organic way of writing, which we all really like. We don't do a lot of talking about it, we just start playing and see what happens and the songs will always have a piece of each of us.
What is your songwriting process? Are you writing your songs all together?
Most of the time we'll come up with an idea for a song when all four of us are just jamming. We all have different strengths so it makes sense for us to be in there together when we're coming up with the different parts and whatnot. Sometimes it surprises us how easy it is.
Recording with Philip Allen (Adele, Aerosmith) must have been an experience. How did that happen, and how did it go?
Graham actually went to college with Phil. A few years later when we moved to L.A., Graham ran into him at Trader Joe's and he said he was working at a studio in the area. He told us to come by and check it out, so we did. It looked great so we decided to record our new stuff there. We can literally walk there from our apartment. The sessions went great. Phil is really really easy to work with and it was a lot of fun. A lot of beers were drank and a lot of great stories were told.
Are you working on new material at the moment?
We're kind of always working on new material, but sometimes it's hard to find time to put it all together when we're playing so many shows. Recently though we've been trying to hammer out some of the ideas we've had and it'll be fun to see where that takes us. Our whole philosophy is pretty much to record new material as soon as we feel it's ready, so that way everything stays fresh. We definitely hope to put another EP out before the end of the year.
You have some shows booked in L.A. in the next weeks, are you planning on touring more?
We're looking to tour as soon as is feasible for us, but we always kind of have to take things as they come. Right now we're focusing on playing our L.A. shows, getting ready for the Jubilee Festival in downtown LA on June 7 & 8, and working on new songs. We've got a few touring possibilities in the near future, and when it happens we'll be ready for it.