London quartet Buggs create buoyant guitar bops with a dark edge that casts each track in a deliciously sinister hue.
Recent single ‘Flaws’ was written during the height of lockdown (the height of lockdown’s emotional turmoil, that is, we don’t actually know the exact month in which it was written). Songwriter Alice Western uses the metaphor of a grease trap to capture the anxieties invoked through those spells of isolation and fruitless days spent watching the year disappear whilst seemingly everyone else around you used lockdown to better themselves.
Sat somewhere between the punk-facing output of bands like Goat Girl, sprinkled with the folky patterns of The Staves; Bugss’ debut single, Nick Gowland, is also well worth adding to your playlists.
Flaws’ touches upon the isolation that a lot of us felt during lockdown. Now that you’ve had time to reflect on that period, can you salvage any positives from the experience?
Alice Western: I guess the obvious positive would be this song! I wouldn’t have written that had we not had a lockdown. I think lockdown gave us all a chance for some self reflection and to work out some issues, which wasn’t fun at the time but I feel like I came out of that year as a better person and more self sufficient. Being forced to be on your own so much forces you to rely less on the company of others. I also actually rarely felt bored once we’d got into the swing of things, I’m very good at picking up hobbies. My favourite hobby was making my own inks out of vegetive matter – for example acorns. You can make brown or black ink out of acorns. And then to take things a step further I would make ink out of acorns and then do ink paintings of acorns.
Alice created the cover art to ‘Flaws’, as with previous single ‘Nick Gowland’. When did you get into visual art and what role does it play in your life?
I have always loved painting and drawing and making things ever since I was really young, I can’t really remember at what age I started doing it it’s just something I’ve always done really. I really enjoy creating visual art, it’s something that I find fun in a way I think I find it hard to feel about music – I guess I’m at this point in my life where I’ve dedicated my life to music and it’s also my job and really part of my identity, but painting and making things is just this little thing on the side I enjoy in a much more simple way. Maybe I need to try to feel more like that about my music! But I’d say painting is definitely soothing to me, when i go through really bad patches mentally I can easily just paint for hours and hours listening to podcasts.
The video to ‘Flaws’ also looks great! at what point in a song’s life do you begin to consider it’s visual components?
Thank you! We absolutely love it, Vince Ibay who made the visualiser for us is so talented and absolutely got the vibe of the project straight away. I’d say quite early on in a song’s conception I start thinking about visuals, not in so much a practical sense of what the artwork/video is actually going to look like but more in a way of figuring out the song’s identity and world around it. What colour is it, what does it looks like. Kind of like a mood board. But it is all in my head.
How did your collaboration with the fabulous Sad Club Records come about?
Tallulah and I met outside a pub if I recall correctly! We became friends pretty fast and Tallulah asked us to contribute a song to to the Sad Club Compilation, and things just went on from there really!
Is there a Buggs album or EP in the works?
There is definitely an EP in the works. And by ‘the works’ I mean mainly in my head, but it will be happening soon I promise
photo credit: Jody Evans