Buddha Sentenza does not play it hard to get on their new album High Tech Low Life. From the the get go album opener Oars puts it all out there, everything that makes this band so freaking awesome in nine glorious minutes. The Heidelberg, German instrumental band consists of five individuals, each wearing their distinct influences on their sleeves. On Oars you can hear it in an energetic culmination of heavy metal, prog rock, punk, space rock, and soundtrack atmospheres. It is in-your-face-heavy, virtuoso, but has its subtle moments as well where guitarist B.B. Blacksheep shines on violin.
There is a strong sense of joy emanating from the album. A more commercial band might opt for a more uniform sound perhaps, but you can hear these guys are bored easily. Not a minute is the same, and the songs gallop in all kinds of different directions from double bass drum trigger happy to epic fantasy movie soundscapes. Buddha Sentenza does what they want, and they sound thrilled doing it.
By being stubborn and sticking to their own values they have created a thing of their own that is hard to relate to anything else going on at the moment. I will give it a shot. Within the instrumental rock/metal spectrum they might be closer to a band like Long Distance Calling then to many of the more improvisational jam bands out there, but there are some Farflung-related space rock parts as well (synthesizers from outer space). They are not quite as technical as Animals As Leaders (they definitely don’t “djent” -thank buddha-), but they make up plenty by being adventurous and original. Ultimately though, Buddha Sentenza is their own beast. High Tech Low Life is a unique album of five gifted musicians doing what they love, and doing it right.
I talked to drummer Tom “Jesus Malverde” of the band about their new album, the place they are from, and contemporary influences. If anything, he definitely is as passionate about music as he sounds like drumming.
How are you? How has the pandemic period been for Buddha Sentenza?
The conditions for small underground acts and event organizers were already tough before the pandemic. This situation became even worse, but we don’t want to complain, we still keep on doing what we love.
Can you introduce the band, and how did you meet?
We met as students at the University of Heidelberg who enjoyed playing as a jam project together, just directly what came in our minds. Time after time we began to develop more complex song structures, but still integrate jam parts till this day.
What can you tell me about your musical backgrounds?
We have different musical backgrounds. I played in a punk band before, the guitar players are more into metal, the bassist played garage/indy rock and the keyboarder is a prog head.
What does a regular day in your life look like?
I work mainly as a drum teacher in a music school, but beside that I also run a small screenprint business and organize underground shows.
What is the best thing about High Tech, Low Life (and what does the title mean)?
The title is an hommage to an old friend of us called Ombo. He was a homeless man who lived a while in our rehearsal complex. He was a connoisseur of the art of living, a bohemian and a hedonist. He was the perfect example of a man living in a modern world but really reflected his needs and was satisfied with the little property he got and showed us that you don‘t need much to be happy.He was also an artist, who used everyday garbage to create partial complex art. That impressed us.
Where do you live and what is the environment like for musicians like you?
We live in Heidelberg, Germany, but originally I came from a small village where you had no options to do music and art and stuff. So we where forced to create our own entertainment by going in the fields with an generator and played from the back of a tractor trailer. We‘re used to create our own creative environment. We like the idea that you don‘t just consume culture. Create culture yourself and live the D.I.Y. spirit. If the environment doesn‘t fit your needs, start getting active yourself.
Who are some contemporary musical heroes of yours?
Mhhh, I‘m not the hyping type of guy and no fan of big names. I prefer people doing their stuff without any intentions of getting rich and famous. So I would recommend the underrated artists. To drop some Names however: Oma Hans, Nekropsi, Clutchy Hopkins, Dakh Daughters, Neptunian Maximalism, The Budos Band, Dead Quiet, Daniel Higgs, Matt Eliott.
Can you tell me about how you go about composing and recording songs?
Sometimes we just start jamming and arrange the occured parts we like the most. Sometimes one of the guitar players develop a basic structure and then we add instrument after instrument to it until all of us played a part. It‘s quite grass roots democracy based.
What are your immediate and long term future plans?
Playing Shows, releasing more music, meeting interessting people, having a good time.
What should the Weirdo Shrine reader do after reading this interview?
In general support your local underground, visit shows, buy some merch or start beeing creative yourself. In particular visit our bandcamp Site or check out some Videos on Youtube we did and maybe leave a comment.