Today I’d like to introduce you to alternative rock quartet Bison Face. Vocalist and guitarist Ernie Hill tells us about the band’s loud guitar music and their ultimate dream to perform with as many other bands as possible.
Band Name: Bison Face
Members: Ernie Hill (Vocals/Guitar), Alex Bowden (Guitar), Jonny Bennett (Drums) & Arthur Sawyer (Bass)
Genre: Alternative Rock
Founded: Feb 2019
Originated From: St Albans, Hertfordshire
Discography: Ladybird (Single)
How would you describe your music?
I can never really put it under one bracket – it’s loud guitar music first and foremost. Alternative, grunge, with elements of shoegaze, ambient, desert rock and a whole host of elements smattered throughout. All of us have our own “sound” and influences that creep through, so the sound of the band fluctuates through a set, but it’s very much a rock outfit. It’s heavy, it’s heartfelt and it’s cinematic. Someone said “Tatooine Grunge” once – I love Star Wars (not the recent travesties) so I took that as a genre compliment!
What is your musical creative process like?
I write all the time, whether it’s music or lyrics, or just prose/poetry. So, I’m usually creating something, and more often than not it will be with a guitar, hunched over at 2am. I never really set out to write anything specific, ideas just come from playing a lot and the good ones stick and materialise into something. Lyrics wise, I write about events or feelings that has affected me, mental health, personal struggles or something off kilter like space travel or aliens. Mixed bag!
How did the band form?
Back in late 2018, I’d come off a session tour and had written a few songs. I decided I needed my own creative outlet so in 2019 this became a proper project. I’d been in a band with Alex before so when he moved back up from Brighton, we started jamming a few of them. I holed myself up in my studio space, wrote a few more and we booked a show to give ourselves a kick up the arse. We recorded our debut single Ladybird late last year and released it March 2020, just before the pandemic really hit. Fast forward a few line-up alterations and gigs, we’re settled on the current band. We couldn’t be more stoked for the future.
How did you come up with your band name?
It was a character I used to draw in comics when I was way younger; Alex and I had a whole list of names that we’d written down and they were all just a bit crap, so when I brought that one up it stuck out enough for us to love it.
Who influenced you within the music industry?
I’ve personally got a tonne of musical influences, the band is heavily influenced by Soundgarden, Foo Fighters, Pixies, Radiohead, Sonic Youth, Blur and Rozwell Kid to name a few.
Other than sound would be the work ethic of people like Dave Grohl and Matt Bigland. I’ve found myself in the position of having music and no band, doing it all myself and playing all the parts. Those guys in particular are a testament to the perseverance and hard work paying off, and just doing it because you have to, for the love of it. And any of our friends and bands we’ve met that work really hard, that’s the biggest inspiration to work hard ourselves, that sense of drive and comradery.
Have you performed live much and what was your favourite gig to play at?
This band has played only a handful of shows, but we’ve all been a bunch of different projects prior. My favourite Bison show would have to be opening for our friends in Fangclub in our hometown late last year; They’re an incredible band and lovely guys and that show just packed out had a special vibe, El Moono played too and killed it. We were super grateful to be on that bill.
What is the best thing about being in a band?
If you love music and you’ve worked hard at your craft then playing music is the greatest thing, it’s better than anything; Being able to write music and play shows with your friends is utterly rewarding. Also, as a songwriter, having people connect with your feelings is a beautiful thing, and really means the world when you hear things like that.
What’s the biggest problem you’ve had to overcome so far as a musician(s)?
Finding people committed enough, that share your complete passion for music is much harder than it would seem. A lot of people love the idea of being in a band but they’re unwilling to put effort in or make any sacrifices. I think we’ve all dealt with our fair share of that, and it’s an incredible feeling having found the other guys and all sharing the same goal.
What plans have you got coming up this year?
After the lockdown measures have eased a bit more, we’re going to record our debut EP and have that out hopefully end of summer/autumn time. Then as soon as we can, we’ll be on the road playing every show we can. I’ve spent the whole isolation period writing, so the next step is to get the new tracks into a practice room and play to people. We still need to play some kind of release show for Ladybird, as we haven’t been able to play a gig since that was dropped.
What is your ultimate dream as a band?
Our ultimate dream as a band is to play alongside as many musician friends as possible during live gigs. There isn’t a better feeling than inviting other musicians on stage to gig a song you all know. The sense of community is immense.
We think just being able to do something our friends utterly love, for the rest of our lives is THE dream. Being able to lose ourselves in music every day and live from it is the ultimate goal.
You can find out more about Bison Face by visiting their website and following them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. Their music can be streamed on all platforms including Spotify and Soundcloud.
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