In terms of my Capitol Hill Block Party recommendations from last week, none was higher than my push for our loyal readers to head towards The Builders and the Butchers’ Saturday afternoon set. Though, for reasons I’m still trying to piece together I missed the recommended set, I caught The Builders’ impressive live show earlier this year down in Portland, and absolutely couldn’t believe my eyes or ears. Now, many months and many, many spins of their debut LP later, they’ve quickly elevated to the small group of bands I tenatively deem “favorites”.
Ryan Sollee, lead singer and guitarist for the motley, sometimes-fivesome was nice enough to give some solid answers to a few of my more burning questions on the more literary aspects of the Portland music scene, where the darkness in his music comes from, and oh so much more.
Ryan Sollee :: Photo by kirstiecat
SOUND ON THE SOUND: First of all, where exactly does the name The Builders and The Butchers come from?
Ryan Sollee: It took us about 6 months to come up with the name, originally the band was called The Funeral Band, but we knew we needed another name. I think it’s this way with most bands, it’s the only name nobody hated. SOTS: How did The Builders and The Butchers come together originally?
RS: My friend Adrienne (Autopilot is for Lovers) and I wanted to start writing darkly themed songs to be played acoustic for people at large gatherings. I think the original idea for the band and what it has become is very different, we had a handfull of songs written and started played one night at the house where the rest of the guys live. From there we practiced for about a month and played our first shows at Halloween house parties and outside a Bob Log III show.
SOTS: How did you decided upon your onstage set-up? I saw you guys at The Willamette Week Best New Band Showcase and was blown away by the usage of two auxiliary percussionists?
RS: Since our first shows we’ve had the two drummers, it wasn’t ever talked about, one day Paul just put the bass drum on its side and there it was. We bought an old field snare for Ray at a thrift store. Other percussion has slowly been added to try to mix things up. I like the idea of two people essentially playing one drum kit.