Tel Aviv’s Buttering Trio blend loop-based beats with live instruments such as saxophone, synths and bass to create a style that sits between atmospheric sounds, jazz explorations and broken rhythms. They’ve emerged from studio jams in a smoky Berlin basement to become a world-touring act stopping off at Camden Assembly on Friday, May 12th. We spoke to the band to find out more about their formation and development since.
Every show teaches us about crowd intimacy, energetic steering, the effects of different intentional unfolding of the songs…
First up, tell us bit about yourself - what led you all to forming Buttering Trio?
The forming of the band just happened… It was certainly not a planned-out thing. We started out making beats, together and separately, releasing a unique EP called Party Bear. This EP, somewhat miraculously, got some attention and we got a very big first gig in InDnegev Festival, in the desert of Israel. We got so much energy from this first show, it was a perfect kick-off.
How would you describe your style of loop-based beats and live instruments?
It’s a blend of old and new. The computer based drums are mostly organic-sounding so it doesn’t feel (to us, anyway) electronic, but it does sound new. There’s a delicious amount of steadiness and freedom in this kind of setup. The computer holds it together tightly and we are allowed to bounce or float on top it. And sound wise - it allows for a huge acoustic experience; which is what we aim for.
Were there any particular bands or artists you’ve taken inspiration from to form your style?
As you can hear, there are a lot of influences in our music, and this is why it is very hard to define it. Surely a lot of our influences come from the beat scene - Gaslamp Killer, J Dilla Madlib and many more… To that you can add the love to great artists from the jazz world, dub and soul. And, of course, the key element is living in the Middle East. The music has been going lately more and more into the direction of jazz and soul but we don’t insist on the genre and we let it fluctuate freely.
Why the name?
We started the band while living in Berlin, making beats all night and day. There was a bakery in our neighborhood which had these big bread bagels called Butter-rings. We ate the Butter-ring every morning for a good few months. When it was time to find a name for our first release we took the name of the pastry and it was not in vain.
What was your big break when you started playing gigs in Berlin?
Our first tour, back in 2013, was supporting for Black Milk across Europe. This was a big deal for us back then and a turning point, at least for us in terms of realizing that this music works. Also in 2014 we supported for Georgia Anne Muldrow and Dudley Perkins in Berlin. The connection to Berlin just keeps growing ever since.
You’re playing The Camden Assembly on Friday, May 12th. Have you played in London before?
Yes, we played in the Jazz Cafe two years ago, in May 2015. It was a very moving experience - playing in this legendary venue, of course, was exhilarating, but also the crowd was beautiful. There was a great audience. We met a group of old folks who took a four hour drive for our show. This was another crucial moment in our slow comprehension of the magical power that this music has on people of all ages.
How are you preparing for the show, and what can we expect?
We have immense respect for the London audience, the city being one of the greatest cultural centres of the world, being a fertile ground for so many incredible artists and visionaries… We are always tightening and loosening our live show, allowing it to breathe, trying different approaches. Every show teaches us about crowd intimacy, energetic steering, the effects of different intentional unfolding of the songs… We intend to bring the best of new album Threesome and, of course, the essence of all the preceded it within the trio’s realm.
If you could collaborate with any living artist, who would it be?
Could be interesting to collaborate with Flying Lotus. We were all at some point completely mesmerised by his music.
If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice, when would it be and what would you say?
Do exactly what it is that you’re doing right now.
Finally, if you could wish for one thing to happen to the band in 2017, what would it be?
Make more beautiful music and release it…
Watch ‘The Runner’ on YouTube below, for news and tour dates go to butteringtrio.com.