It can be fun to listen to a band, digest its tracks and spend hours speculating on its inspirations and influences.
Hearing the offerings of Buffalo’s Orations—and, specifically, the pulsating wail of lead vocalist Jess Collins—is no different. Spin through last year’s five-song EP (simply titled “ep”) and you’ll hear bits of the Cure, R.E.M. and the Los Angeles punk hum of the Exene Cervenka-fronted X weaved through tracks like “Early Spring” and Deviation.”
Now back with the four-song EP “Incantation,” the formidable quartet is serving up even more audible imagery, awaking sounds of acts as disparate as P.J. Harvey and the Go-Go’s en route to original material. At the forefront of this ever-fluctuating sonic identity is Collins, who I caught up with last week for this first installment of Meet a Musician.
Hometown: South Buffalo
Years in band: Two and half years, and have played in bands for 26 years.
Musical/vocal influences: Jeffrey Lee Pierce of The Gun Club, Kate Bush and Kristin Hersh have all influenced my vocals in some form or another.
First Buffalo-area show, and at what venue: At Asbury Alley in 1995 with my high school band, The Trends.
Favorite album in high school: “Seventeen Seconds” by The Cure.
Favorite album this week: “Truckdriver, Gladiator, Mule” box set by Neko Case.
If you could have a drink with any musician, who would it be, and why? I'd love to have a glass of wine with Jeff Buckley (if he were still alive). He was so passionate about his lyrics, his music and his life.
How long did it take for the four tracks on “Incantation” to come together; and what was the process necessary to fuse them into one release? The four tracks on “Incantation” came together over a period of two and a half years. Some of the songs had been all but finished, sans lyrics. I joined the band about a year or so after they’d formed and started writing songs. I became their singer in year two, so it was nice to have some already finished pieces to use as homework and bring to practice, all with melody and lyrics in tow.
Were there any albums you listened to while recording “Incantation” that became influential to its creation? I had been listening to The Smiths, The Cure and Throwing Muses a lot again during this period. They are my go-to bands for almost all occasions.
The track "Nosedive" has a pleasant goth-surf-punk-meets-the-Go-Go’s vibe. Was that intentional? Thank you. The band says "Nosedive" reminded them of (the band) Killing Joke. In all honesty, I recycled the lyrics from an old song that I’ve been writing, but the melody I had to work out over a period of time, all with overlaid backup vocals because I was having a difficult time with this song. It was heavier than what I had been used to writing melodies for, so I just went softer rather than trying to match (the band’s) intensity, until the end—when it all sort of crescendos.
What's next for the band and when's your next local show after Thanksgiving?
We are in the process of writing and completing new songs for our full-length album, which we hope to release in the spring. Our next local show is this coming Sunday, Nov. 29 at The Waiting Room with Deep Blue and Cages, and“Incantation” will be released at the show. Doors will open at 6:30. Admission is $6 in advance and $10 the day of the show. It is open to all ages, so come join us and dance off your turkey and giblets.