by Jack Diablo
This month, Soundcheck shines the spotlight on the Jacksonville duo of Buff Clout.
Blake Armstrong and Devin Grant are no strangers to the Jacksonville music scene. Individually, they represent their own personal styles and influences. Blake, the guitarist, grew up playing jazz and listening to progressive and math-rock while drummer, Devin, has traditionally leaned more towards the metal and punk genres.
But when they come together as Buff Clout, they create something new and unique, fusing their personal tastes and talents into something mind-bending and fun at the same time. “A two-piece is like a marriage,” says Armstrong. And Buff Clout’s marriage is a highly functional one. Their band has only been active for a few months, but they’ve already turned many a head and earned a reputation for making brilliant music that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
In the progressive and post-rock genres, there is the tendency to take one’s self too seriously. And although elements of both genres can be found in their music, Blake and Devin actively endeavor to ensure that this isn’t the case with them. By labeling themselves as “avant-fun” and using silly imagery on their flyers and album covers, they keep the mood light even though the tunes are highly technical, syncopated opuses that sometimes go on for as long as fourteen minutes.
Their music is more like art than your average pop songs and for Devin it’s about using inspiration over influence. “Respect the art,” he says “but the art form must be destroyed for art to live on.” Which solidifies Devin’s conviction that “If you really like something, you should conspire to destroy it.”
Blake sees it as “challenging the norm.” This, he believes, is “…what music should be. That’s what art should be.”
If it weren’t for the intricate structure and frequently changing time signatures, you might think their songs were freeform and in fact, many are written as a result of extended jam sessions rather than preconceived themes or ideas. As it would happen, it’s also how the two of them formed the band in the first place.
Each and every Buff Clout song serves as a catalyst for opening your synapses and changing your perspective on what is possible with just a guitar, a few pedals and a drum set. Catch them live at Shantytown Pub on June 5th and again on July 17th. And don’t bother to ask why they use cute kitty imagery, they’ll only refuse to answer due to reasons of cosmic security.
by Jack Diablo