Buildings
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Buildings

Washington, D.C., Washington, D.C., United States | INDIE

Washington, D.C., Washington, D.C., United States | INDIE
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If you’ve seen Buildings (or BLDGS) live, you know how much their shows can feel like spiritual experience. When the lights fall, the trippy projections provide the visual aid as the dashiki-clad bandmembers take you on a sonic journey that feels like some sort of mystical moment. The dashikis are mostly gone now, but the essence remains. The band’s jams are anchored by timepiece David Rjich’s drumming and Nick McCarthy’s rumbling bass-work. Collin Crowe’s meandering guitar melodies subtly lead you down a path at a pace that alternates between loping and frenetic. - All Our Noise




Bands like Buildings make genre identification a near-pointless exercise. There's no discernible song structure to a Buildings song, but yet they seem too well constructed to be the loose jams. Some of their guitar rhythms have the intensity of post-rock instrumental bands the but unlike post-rock, Buildings doesn't ease you in. The first notes on their EP Endless come quickly and the drums add another dimension of speed, racking your brain before the tempo drops. The songs twist and turn but never seem to meander pointlessly and while there might be hints of familiarity in the melodies (there are hints of everything from Bach to Tortoise) this doesn't sound like anyone else. Furthermore, the psychedelic projections they use during their live sets add another level of intensity to an already impressive sonic experience. So, we'll dispense with attempts at labeling and just keep it simple: Buildings is amazing.

We talked with guitarist Collin Crowe about the songwriting process, the band's visual element and the crazy fifteen-person project planned for tonight's sold out show at DC9 with Lightning Bolt.

Find them online: http://www.myspace.com/buildingsdc

Buy their music: On iTunes.

See them next: Tonight at DC9 opening for Lightning Bolt.

How long has Buildings been around?

With this consistent lineup, maybe a year and a half or two years. But I’ve been playing music with David for awhile and we intended to be in a band called Buildings. We were trying out lots of different lineups and it didn’t really work out until about December of 2008. I think that’s when we got Nick to play bass for us. So then it was kind of a sealed deal. We were playing with other people. We didn’t really play a lot of shows with other people but Nick was the first guy where we thought, “Okay, this guy is irreplaceable” because he has such a weird way of playing bass and it kind of became what we sound like, but if he quit, it’d be like, “Fuck, no one else can play his parts like that.” So, he’s irreplaceable. David drums like crazy: he’s irreplaceable, too.

When did you add Aaron [Leitko] into the lineup?

We’ve done three shows with him. The past three shows we’ve played. Big Bear, the Cherch and Rock and Roll Hotel. But I’ve been meaning to play music with Aaron for a long time. I used to be in a band called Sedtai and we kept losing bassists and our bass parts then were really easy and Aaron was always interested but then we kept being like, “Oh, but this other guy wants to join. We’ll go with that other guy.” But it’s really cool finally playing with him. He’s a really chill dude. He knows what he’s doing.

It sounded like you always knew that you wanted the name of the band to be Buildings. Why were you attached to the name?

Actually, that’s a funny story. David was in a band in California called Buildings. It’s a recycled name. We were just kind of jamming with people some people and were like, “Let’s come up with a band name.” David was like, “How about Buildings?” We thought, “Holy shit, that’s a great band name.” There are a couple of other Buildings’ out there. I don’t really know how active they are or how well they’re doing or anything. But I think they’re kind of on the same boat as us. If someone sues us, sure. Maybe we can get money for it. I’m not sweating it. If any Buildings comes through DC they’re going to look like fools. There’s a Buildings up in Brooklyn. I don’t know if they’re doing anything anymore, though, but they added us on myspace.

You seem to have a cool combination of sounds that you’re drawing from. Would you mind talking about your influences?

I listen to lots of music. It’s not always rock. Me, personally, I’ve lately been listening to ‘60s and ‘70s psychedelic rock but I’m kind of getting over that. I’m really into Indian classical music, too. David’s into pretty much everything. I’m into pretty much everything. I think we’re all into pretty much everything. Nick is crazy for weird ‘80s stuff and I think it really shows in his demeanor and everything. I don’t think we have the same idea of what we want to do at all and usually when people get in bands like that it doesn’t work out or everything is compromised and the band sucks but for some reason we find a way where there’s a really wide range of influences. It’s kind of jazzy, it’s kind of heavy rock. There are psychedelic elements but there’s also classical elements, too. There’s proggy elements. I think there’s a punk energy but we’re not really into being a punk band at all. I think punk kind of had its day and it’s always so literal and abrasive. I guess we’re inadvertently abrasive. Me and David both came from being in lots of punk bands. We like the punk energy but not so much the abrasive and literal. I like that we’re an instrumental band. I like that our songs aren’t necessarily about anything. I wouldn’t say we’re as good as Bach but there’s way more to Bach music than there is to a Minor Threat - DCist


Collin’s mirrored, wide-open eyes never seem to rise to meet anyone else’s directly as he greets them. He speaks rapidly and kindly, trailing his sentences off under his breath. Scanning passively through the crowd, he collects donations at the door and sets up the scene—every so often reaching to gently tuck his piece-y hair behind his ears.

We ask him about Buildings, the band we have come specifically to check out, and learn that he’s a band member. “Oh wow, really?”

“Yep. I’m about to prove it to you,” he says as he leaves the room. He returns two minutes later wearing an olive, wonderfully-wrinkled tunic. I didn’t understand at all how this proves anything until much later.
.................................................."
"Next, Buildings. Celebrating the release of their first CD “Endless” (Sockets Records), Buildings takes the stage sans its fourth member (who is currently tending to Brooklyn). Collin is now joined by two other like-styled band members in tunics (it all makes sense to me now).

The projector mixes neon reds, greens, and blues across Collin’s face and shoulders as the band begins to play. Eyes blink and hands clap-clap-clap across the large screen behind the band. Collin’s head bangs up and down, and in and out, of the visuals. The audience begins to bob and move.

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One tuft of Collin’s hair flaps up and down with each chord, and the all-instrumental tracks fill the tiny room to volume saturation. Full color projections with equally colorful melodies and bass lines mix with tap-y, tin-y, unabridged percussion—swelling into refreshingly experimental happiness and warmth.

The music stops.

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“Can we borrow a bass pedal real quick?”

Only during that sudden break do I wholly recognize the depth of my current infatuation with Buildings.
The bass pedal is replaced, and the rest of the set is a hot, brilliant, mess. A speaker is pushed up against the drum to keep it from skipping forward away from the slam of the foot on the pedal, sticks are catapulting and clattering across the floor, projections are tremor-ing in the background, and everyone in the room is shaking. I adore it.

“That’s it, we’re buildings!”
" - Brightest Young Things


"...was a very interesting guitar orchestra coordinated by Buildings. Buildings are pretty much my favorite local band lately, and it was cool to see what they pulled off: a 15-guitar line-up playing minimal pieces. I think they should do it again sometime, though the logistics must have been a nightmare. It was just a short set and it sounded really cool — mainly the guitarists were just picking one note at a time, making simple harmonies in pretty simple rhythms. I was impressed they were even all (basically) in tune, and that they almost all could fit onto the stage.

In a dcist interview before the show, the Buildings guys said they wanted to do the opposite of Lightning Bolt: instead of very few people making maximal noise, they were gonna be the maximal amount of people making minimal noise. Great idea, and I’m glad I saw it." - District Lies


Buildings - I last saw this trio at the Sockets Records showcase and thought they were the highlight of the night. Nothing tonight changes my opinion, but rather firmly enhances it as I think this is one of the finer bands in the area. The drumming is powerful, the bass playing fast and adept and the guitarist lays down circular rings of melody. I would not say the music is as complex as what they call "math rock" but it may well be. There are layers of interesting sounds created and I kept listening for overtones, space between sounds and all that sort of jazz and it really did add up to more than a sum of its parts. Or more simply, hyper-Mission of Burma sans vocals. Listen to it the way you like, you will be rewarded on some level, that I can guarantee.
Quote of the night: Some fan during the set... "Is this yoga?" - DC Rock Live


For my money Buildings owned the fucking evening. A fairly new band and, instrumental to boot, the DC Trio did what could be called post-rock with DC punk flavors. But honestly that description seems to undercut them. Frankly it's been a long time since I was instantly taken by a band, but everything they did was intense. Mike Watt says that the Minutemen played 100% each time because they thought it would all come to an end and Buildings seem to have adopted that sentiment for themselves. I'm not sure how many people were familiar with them, but I guarantee when they play again, this town is gonna post up and it's gonna be an amazing time. - Franconia Station blog


NATIVE NOISE: BUILDINGS

Accessibility: 8
Originality: 9
Musical Prowess: 9
Recommended Listening: 8
Crush Factor: 9
Artistic Experience*: 10
Overall: 9.2+

*This new rating category was necessary. Throughout the Buildings show, a video of various scenes was playing on a screen in the background, and though I can’t really describe how perfect it was, it gets 10 extra points for how fascinated I was––not only was their music perfectly exhilarating and stimulating, they threw in some synesthesia.


I begin by issuing a formal apology for gate-crashing to all the 23-26 year old superhipsters that were present at Big Bear Café on Friday night to see local DC band Buildings––but hiding the fact that I am an incorrigibly fresh-faced 19-year-old who was in the Shaw neighborhood for the first time ever was next to impossible. And, the way things look, you all will probably have to start sharing Buildings with more than just one little college girl lurking in the corner of a coffee shop soon in any case.

“How did the blessed miracle of Buildings come to be?” I asked the band after sitting down with band members Collin Crowe, Nick Stern, and David Rich, only a few minutes after they had blown the windows out of the little café with a solid set. “Me and Collin met through destiny,” said Rich bluntly. No, destiny is not a girl, like I initially thought, destiny is a random act of fate––I like those. After playing around with the lineup for a bit, they settled on two guitars (Crowe and a new addition I didn’t get a chance to speak with), bass (Stern), and drums (Rich)––but no vocals. Stern explained: “our music stems from the fact that we all see the songs completely differently, and if we added vocals, it would kind of ruin it, because we’d all be anchored to the same thing.” The result is essentially fresh and exhilarating lo-fi SOUND that is hard to put a label on (even their record label Sockets, in their blurb describing the new EP, says that Buildings are not just some “typical post-whatever clone lamery,” well, thank god.)
The band only had good things to say of their label, Sockets, currently undertaking the grand project of “getting new stuff together out of the ashes of the DC music scene.” Really, the scene is in ashes? This was the firmest answer I’d ever gotten in my quest for a reading on the state of DC’s music “scene,” but from what I’d heard before, it made sense. Crowe went on: “DC’s been tame, but I’m so invested in it, I can’t leave, I dealt with years when the only bands were fucking noise bands and they weren’t that great. But now I’m invested in it, I’m in a band with guys I like, it’s getting better.” Rich continued in a similar vein: “there’s a lot of new good bands, there’s more places to play.” So stick around, WGTB listeners, it looks like there is indeed a future for DC music.

Like other DC bands I’ve talked to previously, Buildings has a couple quick weekend tours in mind for summer 2010, maybe a week-long tour at most––it’s hard to sync schedules when band members have full-time jobs. They’ll however be playing several shows in the area, for those of you who will (like myself) be in the District of Fun for the summer. As for the near future, the band will be at the Hexagon in Baltimore this Friday the 23rd, and will be at the Rock and Roll Hotel with Imperial China on May 7th.

When I asked Buildings for words of advice to any aspiring musicians at Georgetown, they had a variety of responses I hope at least someone, somewhere takes to heart: “Try harder to be yourself. If you’re playing music, don’t be afraid to call yourself a band, and don’t be afraid to play a show.” (Stern), “Just have fun. Live fast, die young,” (Rich), “But try hard, set the bar, change music. Take it seriously. Have a good time. Don’t be afraid to ask questions” (Crowe). Are you motivated yet?

As far as their own self-perception, Buildings seems to have a fairly accurate idea of who they are and where they stand, an attribute I can only take as admirable. Crowe was succinct in his assessment: “Buildings is just three guys in a room being who they are.” But it works. They need nothing more, take my word for it.

“I was born to rock.”
––Collin Crowe, April 2010

- WGTB


Discography

Endless EP (5 song CD) available from Sockets Records

coming soon: Tiny Mountains / Tesselations 7 inch

Photos

Bio

DCist wrote:
"Bands like Buildings make genre identification a near-pointless exercise. There's no discernible song structure to a Buildings song, but yet they seem too well constructed to be the loose jams. Some of their guitar rhythms have the intensity of post-rock instrumental bands the but unlike post-rock, Buildings doesn't ease you in. The first notes on their EP Endless come quickly and the drums add another dimension of speed, racking your brain before the tempo drops. The songs twist and turn but never seem to meander pointlessly and while there might be hints of familiarity in the melodies (there are hints of everything from Bach to Tortoise) this doesn't sound like anyone else. Furthermore, the psychedelic projections they use during their live sets add another level of intensity to an already impressive sonic experience. So, we'll dispense with attempts at labeling and just keep it simple: Buildings is amazing."