It's a great statement to the diversity of the Buffalo music scene that the bulk of the artists who have risen from here to widespread notoriety in recent times have done so with sounds that "aren't for everyone." With a mountain of mainstream momentum behind their Fueled by Ramen Records debut, "The Same Old Blood Rush With a New Touch," the four teen-age emo-poppers in Cute Is What We Aim For are the newest Buffalo buzz band. They will once again return to their local home, the Buffalo Icon, for a 6 p.m. Saturday show.
Frontman and Williamsville North alum Shaant Hacikyan - who goes only by his first name - is almost too cute for his own good. A budding poet laureate of the high school hallways, the sprightly smirk he writes with is matched only by his fastidious phrasing. But while talking from his family's home in Westfield, he proves his aim is true.
What's got you so excited about Fueled by Ramen?
First of all, I've been in love with the label prior, I'm a huge fan. Plus, they're genuine people - I can call the owner for anything, like if I have a problem with my girlfriend, and then talk record sales. And they were the only label that wanted us. Everyone laughed at us, but they believed in us.
How has the Buffalo music scene influenced you?
The Buffalo scene when the guys and I were 15, 16, 17, was insane, with bands like This Day in Age and Wide of the Mark - they paved the way for us. Now, that scene is desolate, it's kind of a shame. Now it's a hard-core city, with bands like Every Time I Die - that band is amazing, they're one of the biggest hard-core bands in the States right now. They're a band we look up to as a band that's making it the hard way, so we owe them quite a bit.
We kind of feel like the Sabres - no one gave a [hoot] 'til we started winning a bit.
Why are your local shows always at the Icon?
Damon Bodine is the promoter there, and he believes in us. I've made him a promise that no matter what happens, we'll go to him. It's a loyalty thing to a friend who stood by us when it wasn't cool to stand by us.
You come off as humble, but your lyrics can be quite cocky. Are you creating characters in your songs?
Absolutely. I've got such low self-esteem, so it has to come from somewhere else. I don't want to get too deep on you, but having creative freedom, and letting imagination run rampant, that's what allows me to be that guy. I always looked up to that guy in high school who could say whatever he wants - the things that you wish you could say, if you had that confidence and edge. In a song, I can be him - or anyone, for that matter.
- Seamus Gallivan, Special to The News