Interview with Buke and Gase : Making a Mighty Sound with Less

Buke And Gase. Photo by Grant Cornett

Buke and Gase, though they may deny it, are peerless when it comes to making music. It can’t be helped. They work with instruments they made themselves(the buke — a six string baritone ukulele and the base — a handmade guitar-bass hybrid, among others) and try to get as much noise as possible out of them. The result is experimental, punk, art-rock that can vary from an industrial sounding cover of New Order’s Blue Monday to sound mashes. Past that, though, they’ve added all kinds of electronics and now a computer to the act to create an even bigger and greater sound.

I spoke to Arone Dyer and Aron Sanchez from their studio about what they’re doing, especially trying to find out more about their Monday experiments, in which they put a sketch of a song up on soundcloud every week.

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I asked the duo what was the impetus to create a new musical instrument, whether it comes from the desire to create a specific sound or something else. Dyer quickly cheers, “The impetus is boredom!” Sanchez, a little more verbose says, “It’s not boredom. We’re problem solving all the time. Making certain sounds and doing it in ways we can with only two people.” Dyer then picks up the thread. “We’re just trying to fill up as much space, sonic space, as possible. We’re thinking how can I make this one tiny little instrument be the entire spectrum. How low can it go? How high can it go? What are the limits?”

Buke And Gase. Photo by Grant Cornett

Buke And Gase. Photo by Grant Cornett

I’m intrigued what has caused them to introduce different electronic elements, including the computer given that they like the limitations of the instruments. Sanchez says that the decision is partially aesthetic, as well as from the limitations of form. “We would like to have synth type sounds while we play, so how do we achieve that?” he says. “We run our instruments through different effects or add pick ups. You can’t buy that stuff. You have to create it.” Dyer adds, “And why did we want synth sounds? Because we got bored. It’s the mother of invention.”

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For a band that relies heavily on its electronics, and one that will run their instruments straight to the P.A. with no amplifiers, I was curious if the act of making music for them was more improvisational and organic, or more rational and pre-set in its design. Sanchez says, “Well, it’s a bit both. We’re rational in our physical set up, how we make sounds and make music. The creation of the music is very improvisational though. That’s the free side of the project. The other side is controlled because we have to deal with a lot of elements and all our limbs. It takes a lot of concentration, but the creation of music is organic and free.”

The act of releasing a piece every Monday was an experiment and also a chance to interact more with social media for the duo. “We got interested in being more active social media-wise,” says Sanchez, “And forcing ourselves to complete something very quickly.” “Whether happy or not,” adds Dyer. Sanchez explains that over a four month period, they put something up on sound cloud weekly. “We learned a lot from it. It expanded our palette and we’re still learning from it,” he says.

I ask how these songs were made. “We did it the night before,” Sanchez says. “A lot of those are snippets of our improv sessions. We took snippets and chopped them up and added a few things here and there. It is raw material. It was super easy to do. They end up being the best things we do.” The song snippets are now part of a medley that the duo plays.


buke and gase. Photo by Jon Wang

buke and gase. Photo by Jon Wang

When I ask them if they feel peerless or lonely or singular as such a unique group, Dyer insists on the contrary. “We sound like so many other things,” she says. “There’s so many influences and directions that we go that it’s hard to stick to one thing or another. I don’t think we’re peerless. We have a lot of peers. We feel very fortunate that we can share the stage with different genres of music. We’ve been on stage with classical and hip hop.”
Sanchez adds, “No one knows where to slot us. Not a lot of people get what we’re doing. Being in this project, I have no idea if we sound different. I know we look different.”

Buke and Gase play with Palm and Nick Kuepfer at Bar Le Ritz (Il Motore) on October 3. 8 p.m. $10/13

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