Arizona’s Reubens Accomplice have been making layered, catchy, sometimes pastoral indie rock for a while now. Earlier this year, their album The Bull, The Balloon, and The Family was given the tenth-anniversary deluxe-reissue treatment. Listening to it now, one can hear their penchant for memorable hooks, subtle earworms on the choruses, and a textured sound that’s aged quite nicely. I checked in with singer/guitarists Jeff Bufano and Chris Corak to learn more about the process of putting the reissue together, their current plans, and more.
What was the impetus for working on the new edition of The Bull, The Balloon, and The Family?
Jeff Bufano: Our friend Jon who co-owns Goodland Records had asked us about doing a vinyl release of The Bull in the past. We originally planned to release it on vinyl so it’s always been something that we were interested in. At some point last year it was the 10 year anniversary of its release so we thought it made a lot of sense to finally get it moving.
When you were revisiting these songs, did the passage of time cause you to see any of them in a new light?
Jeff Bufano: I hadn’t listened to the record in a few years until we started prepping for this. I was still surprisingly happy with the record overall, but I found it to be way more upbeat than I had remembered it being. I think the distance from it definitely changed how I heard it, not necessarily for better or worse just different more detached. I feel like I finally heard it just as a listener not as someone involved.
Chris Corak: I too hadn’t listened to the record in a long time. My more recent memories of the songs were us playing them live. The thing that strikes me most about listening back to the official recordings is Amy Ross’ voice. Her contribution to the record was huge! She’s everywhere on it. It feels like she was a part of the band, rather than just a guest. I feel so lucky to have her on our recordings, to have toured with her and flattered that someone so talented thought our band was cool and wanted to contribute.
Your most recent album, Sons of Men, was released in 2012. Have you been working on new songs since then?
Jeff Bufano: Yes, we are always writing and working on music individually. In the past this stage goes on for quite a while until songs accumulate, emails start circulating, and the desire to put them together kicks in. This band has never felt a lot of pressure to do anything in a timely matter which is both good and bad.
Last year, you posted a series of videos as part of the Works in Progress Project. What was the response to this like?
Jeff Bufano: That was a half assed follow thru on our part. The idea was to post something new once a month without the pressure of it being finished. I don’t think we have a rabid/large enough fan base to support such an idea and maybe it was little self-indulgent to think people want to hear songs in such a bare bones unfinished state, so yeah, the response was pretty meh but in fairness so was our delivery.
You’re currently based in a number of cities — how frequently are you in the same space? Do you have anything else going on, in terms of musical projects outside of this band?
Jeff Bufano: It depends but not nearly as often as we would like. John [O’Reilly] is constantly in the studio tracking drums for people, teaching lessons, playing gigs from clubs to Broadway. He is the only one that makes his living by playing music. Ryan [Kennedy] is in a couple of different bands who keep him busy. Chris and I for the most part help friends in town when they ask but play out the least. We just did a weeks worth of shows with Jim [Adkins] where it was just Chris and I acoustic which was a lot of fun and we are trying to find the time to do that type of thing more often.
Chris Corak: In the past year Jeff and I were getting together under a side project called, Big Son. In Big Son, we were getting together with Sam Means and Jim Adkins to write songs collaboratively. Rather than one person coming in with a structured song, we were creating a song together, on the spot, at the same time. It was a lot of fun for Jeff and I. We were productive for a couple of months straight, but life ended up getting in the way for all of us. Still hopeful we circle back on this.
Image: Cody Cloud