What was the beginning point for your music career? How did it all start?
Ernie (Singer/Guitarist/Songwriter): I started teaching myself drums and guitar by ear at about ten years old; Once I found guitar music, I would just listen to Nirvana, Muse and Led Zeppelin and then try work out where the notes were on the neck, or just hit pillows and practice pads in time. I probably started writing my own songs at about 13/14 and have just stuck with it and tried to grow creatively. The first band I started was at school around then and it was a mix of original songs and a few obvious covers, but we had a blast.
Was there any bumps on the road? What kind of challenges did you have to deal with?
Ernie: The hardest thing has been and still is finding people that share the passion, and actually want to commit and just throw themselves into it. I’ve churned through a load of different bands and members and it’s a rarity to find someone that just wants to do music and nothing else. It’s quite an isolating feeling to not have that full comradery of a solid band for a long time, you very detached.
What was the most fulfilling and satisfying moment so far?
Ernie: I think the day we released Ladybird was a big one for me, it was just before Covid hit last year and it was such an ominous feeling of “S**t, I’m really putting myself out there, once it’s up on Spotify and Apple Music, it’s real”. So, I was massively nervous and anxious about releasing anything, Bison Face is very personal to me. Getting such an inundation of positivity was really overwhelming, it is when we release anything, but that first one was special. It kept me going through lockdown having that outpouring of positivity.
How would you describe the music that you typically create?
Ernie: It’s some form of alternative I guess, mainly rock as an overall. Bison Face is hard rock/grunge with a smattering of other influences in there like shoegaze and desert. I write softer acoustic demos at home and some film scores, but the band stuff always ends up loud, riffy, visceral and quite soul bearing lyrically. Whichever project I’m writing for the music always reflect me, or an aspect of me at that time.
What is your creative process like?
Ernie: I constantly write music, I hit 1000+ ideas throughout lockdown just playing guitar or piano constantly and recording everything to go back through. If a song really works, the instrumental usually forms in about 10 minutes and the bulk of the work is done. It’s all in my head and sometimes it almost falls out in your lap while you’re playing and you don’t even realise. I try to not try and write, just enjoy exploring playing and seeing what happens. If you force it to become something it will usually be bad.
Lyrically, I always carry a notebook and write poetry or little phrases, thoughts and feelings down. Once I’ve got a finished instrumental demo I’ll go through the notebooks and write around lines I think fit.
If you could change anything about the industry, what would it be?
Ernie: I’d like to hear more of a variety of genres be given a wider voice in media and on the radio, and subsequently more support for the grassroots venues around the country. They’re vital for up and coming artists to hone their craft and find their feet, and they’ve taken a huge blow from the pandemic.
If you were asked to give a piece of advice to upcoming bands, what would that be?
Ernie: Just stick with it, don’t try and be something you’re not and go with your gut. And don’t be worried about failing, just persevere, it all makes you better and drives you harder.
What has been the best performance of your career so far?
Ernie: Our first local headline show was a memorable one, we’d only been a band for a few months and we packed it out and had a big party. I’m super proud of how that show went, it was the first show people were singing the words back and getting stuck in, so I’ll never forget it. Happy times!
If you didn’t become a musician, what would you be doing now?
Ernie: I’d still be creating things I think, I’ve always loved literature, reading and writing so probably an author or journalist, maybe in film/music. Either that or I’d be doing something with animals or conservation, away from people and in the middle of nowhere. That’d be great, animal welfare is close to my heart.
What is new with the band at the moment? What are you currently working on and would like to share with the world?
Ernie: We’re playing our first show in 22 months, headlining our local venue The Horn in St Albans on 31st July, so we’re rehearsing hard for that. And we’ve got a new single dropping the day before that, it’s called Private Joke Party and it stemmed out of the last couple of months where I was really struggling, so I pushed the release up to have something to celebrate at the show and for a bit of catharsis. After that we’re going to start recording our debut EP in mid-August down in Brighton.