Enjoy Shark Week With Marine Biologist [BUFFALO BAND OF THE WEEK]
Local music fans are lucky. We have a constant stream of solid new bands forming in Buffalo to help quench our thirst for good music, and Marine Biologist is one of them.
Aaron Folmsbee (guitar), Carson Cain (guitar), Dylan Brawn (drums) and David Alfano (bass) bring something new to the table, and this post-rock/post-punk/post-modern band is worth a listen.
Folmsbee shared how the band keeps their music fresh, information about their current projects and his affinity for George Costanza.
Tell me a little about the history of your band. How do you all know each other?
The four of us started playing together in April 2013. David and Dylan have known each other the longest. I’ve known Dave and Dylan for about five or six years now, and I’ve been coworkers and friends with Carson for about a year. For a while, the project was untitled, and it was just Dylan and I. When I got offered my first gig to play as Marine Biologist, I sort of just collected these friends that I thought would work well together. We learned the tunes, improvised some new parts and jumped right into our first show after a few rehearsals.
Do you think Buffalo is receptive to new bands? What has your experience been like so far?
I think the Buffalo underground is a really tight-knit community that is really supportive of its artists and its art. I know we can all say that just by knowing people in the community, we have gained way more support and opportunity than we had expected. We’ve had our songs played on WBNY’s Local Show, we’ve been asked to play shows all over the city — and people have all just been coming to us to request it. The only thing we’ve done is write the music; the rest has all just been offered to us. That shows so much support from Buffalo.
What do hope to accomplish with your music?
Honestly, I think we have all decided that we just want to play music and really not care how it sounds or how it relates. We used to have these long discussions on where we want to take our music, where we want to play, how we’d like to sound, if we were approaching a certain genre, how we wanted to keep fresh and new and different…but I think we’ve all decided that the thing that really just works best for us is to improvise, listen and play off of each other. We even do that on stage at our shows — the song will be ending, and someone starts to play a riff, and we think, “Oh, this could go somewhere.” And it tends to get crazy and fun, and I think that’s the way we keep it fresh for ourselves.
What inspires you to create music?
I’ve been studying and writing music pretty seriously for about 10 years now. What inspires me most over the last few years has been limitations. I think if you put limitations on anything, the results become more creative and inspiring. I like coming up with different ways to make myself write, like…Okay, in this song I’m not going to sing, I’m just going to talk and shout…In this song, I’m only using three chords…This song is only allowed to be super-quiet for this part and then REALLY LOUD on the second part…This song uses two bass guitars…This song uses three drummers…(I think I’ve just given a lot of the future of the band away here). But it’s what Stravinsky did, it’s what the serialists did, the minimalists did, it’s what pop artists do, and I think it’s really fun.
What are you working on right now? Can you tell me about “New Works”?
“New Works” is an idea I had before I started playing with Dylan, before Marine Biologist existed. It started out as this idea of a sonata for electric guitar, and the theme was that everything new in music had already been done, so why garnish the music I was writing with all these over-the-top hooks and melodies? I stripped everything away and made these really bare-bones songs that just became mantras for me about music. After playing them a while, I thought, man, this could really use some drums — so I started playing the songs to Dylan, and we got a chance to record them right at the beginning of 2013. We’re planning a tape release with Kevin Cain, who runs the Inventory Mondays open mic at Allen St. Hardware (and he ran the Vault, and he’s starting up an Inventory record label). So we’ll be putting those into people’s hands this fall, hopefully. I think the band has moved pretty far away from the songs on this tape — we’ve come a long way from those mantras, but it’ll be fun to have a tape with our name on it.
What is the story behind the band’s name?
“Marine Biologist” is a Seinfeld reference. I guess that’s pretty cool, right? A lot of people think it’s an obscure name or we’re all underwater fanatics or Shark Week enthusiasts, but the truth is that I love George Costanza.
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