This week we’re shining the spotlight on the Buffalo, New York group Bungler. Their latest album is The Nature Of Being New. Drummer Sky Harding introduces us to his band.
Chad Bowar: Give us a brief history of Bungler.
Sky Harding: The three of us were involved in bands around our area for years before Bungler started, varied of all genres: metal, pop punk, alt rock, etc. but always loved that chaotic sound of bands like Converge, The Chariot, Dead and Divine, to name a few. We wrote that style of music on the low just to get it out of our system, but once the other bands we were touring in naturally faded, Bungler was next to bat and ended up being our most involved.
Describe the songwriting process for The Nature Of Being New.
We’ve always written very backwards. A lot of the times I’ll think of chunks of songs that I want to play and “vibes” of songs I want to write on drums first, then show it to Ryan. We take that skeleton and write directly to it, tweaking stuff here and there and playing the “okay now how can we mess this up” game to create something that I definitely didn’t expect air drumming the idea on my pants before practice.
What will be your strongest memory of the recording of the album?
My strongest memories were definitely the pranks our producer and engineer Mike would pull on us during our sessions. I remember coming into the room to hear some progress and somehow in a few minutes he snuck onto the track and made old man whale sounds without anyone noticing. There was so much Tim and Eric-esque humor recorded and deleted we could’ve had an entire separate joke album.
How has your sound evolved/progressed from your earlier albums?
On our EP Fake Fur from 2014, every song basically just acted as fast and noisy shoves into next songs, we never really considered the front to back listen. But The Nature Of Being New was a lot more stream-conscious. Some of my favorite records of all time are favorites because it keeps me hooked musically at track 1 right to track whatever and I hope this album does the same.
You had a few guests on the album. How their appearances come about?
All of the guest spots were better than expected, especially with the circumstances. For example Jorge from the band Adaliah was filling in for Barrier on a tour we did with them, and when he said he wanted to do a spot on the album Ryan had already been three steps ahead and we recorded him full gear right in our van. Stuff like that always sticks to us like a weird memory trophy. Makes me like the song even more. (He’s on the song “Smooth Hysteria”). As for the others, Kyle Birhle (Sirens and Sailors) and Anthony Musior (The Traditional) have been good friends of ours for years. It felt like coming full circle listening to them for so long and getting a piece of them with us.
How did you come to sign with Innerstrength Records?
Jason from Innerstrength caught us at a show in New York I believe. Maybe even somewhere in Pa., I can’t remember. But regardless he’s been to a number of our shows the past year and coming to us as a fan of the live show first was a big step in our good relationship. We would much rather work with someone who cares about the music they represent than some bigwig at a desk who wouldn’t bother to play it. Jason’s whole roster is something we love to be a part of.
How does that affect your expectations for the album?
Jason’s roster of talented artists honestly intimidated us a little bit! Bands like Wicked World and Paper Trail are such heavy hitters, and work just as hard. In terms of expectations, we definitely expected that now it’s time to step up the plate. We’ve toured a decent amount as it is, but it’ll be three times that now (laughs), and we’re stoked as ever.
What are your upcoming tour plans?
This May we’re doing another U.S. run alongside Turncoat, a Michigan band we’ve crossed paths with and jammed with a lot. They’re fun to listen to on record, but live is a whole new experience and it’s always dope watching the reaction. We’re excited for that. As for after that, this summer we’ll definitely be real busy. And like the typical band dudes we are we can’t say anything yet; but we can tell you it’ll be some solid lineups.
What has been your most memorable Bungler live show?
Our most memorable show is real hard to nail down, we have this conversation all the time and it changes every month. Right now I think it’s St. Louis the other day with Great American Ghost. We played this DIY style warehouse where anything goes, so we put our drum kits together and played at the same time back and forth song for song. I believe people call it a “battle set.” It felt like we were in a corny Disney movie, but all the kids at the show had an awesome time with it, and it so won’t be the last time we do something like that.
What places are still on your bucket list to play live?
Overseas in any format. UK, Germany, Japan, Australia. We’ve always craved travel, and now that we have the USA and Canada under our belts we’re hungry for more. And literally hungry, we’re mostly curious to try food in other countries.
Seen any good movies or DVDs lately?
I’ll tell ya what, I’ll speak for Greg right now. This whole past tour the dude has been hyping up Moana. It’s in theatres still now I believe. It’s that new Pixar film. I don’t blame him, it’s probably fantastic, when aren’t those type of movies? Just listen to Greg, he says Moana all day, all night.
What’s currently in your heavy musical rotation?
In terms of heavier music, I’m definitely real into the new Darkest Hour album. I’m pretty sure it literally just came out too, take a few listens to that. That band has been slaving for so long now, we all owe our attention to them for sure.
How’s the heavy music scene in Buffalo these days?
Buffalo’s heavier scene is something I’m real proud of. We have great musicians all actively in bands, a 10/10 venue that can have any kind of show and still be a fun evening at, and friends we’ve known for almost 10 years now that still make the commitment to come out to a show. It sounds like I’m just bragging at this point, but Buffalo has inspired us to keep pushing year after year. We have to come back from a tour and still be energized enough to rile up the home crowd.
Anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
For music related promotions, check out the rest of the Innerstrength roster, I mean it. If you need new music to listen to it’s done, it’s ready, just click around and find it. For non-music promotions I say go try the new Lay’s chip flavors. Southwestern Queso, Beer and Brats, and Garden Tomato Asiago. We have a band favorite, and we’ll always be hyped on limited flavors for snacks. Try em out.
(interview published March 18, 2017)