Following up 2020's Put You In The Gulag EP with The Fucks, Robert Craig is back and sounds more agile than ever with his latest project, New Buck Biloxi. He's releasing his anticipated album Cellular Automaton through Total Punk on November 25th and today he's shared with us the first taste of it with the charging garage stomp "Dark Star." We also had the pleasure of talking with Craig about the new project and his takeaways from this year's Gonerfest.
Between the trashy garage punk of Buck Biloxi and the Fucks to the wiry post-punk of PScience and of course the retrofuturism of Giorgio Murderer, Robert Craig has earned his pedigree in just about every sub-genre of punk. The New Orleans-based rocker is back on the scene with his new band New Buck Biloxi and their debut album, Cellular Automation, will be released on November 25th through Total Punk. Today, we had the pleasure of premiering its lead single "Dark Star," a super catchy, adrenalized garage stomp of early punk propulsion. Along with the premiere, we also had the pleasure of talking with Craig about the new project and his takeaways from this year's Gonerfest.
Paperface Zine: Hey Rob! Last time we chatted, you touched briefly on your new band New Buck Biloxi and the single "Dark Star." Tell me more about how this track came about and how it progressed into the sharpened version heard on the new album?
Robert Craig: I'm a fucking Dark Star, OK? Although we are all made of star stuff, some of us are lucky enough to actually be continuously combusting, walking fusion reactors upon the earth. Much like God removed a rib from Adam to create Eve and so that he could suck his own dick, I have removed parts of my own body to help me record the "Dark Star" demo. The version on the record is recorded with the full band instead of just me tracking every instrument, and it's a hair more in-time with itself. It's a tiny bit more polished, but no so much so that it's annoying.
Tell me more about your new album Cellular Automaton that you got coming out through Total Punk in November.
It's pretty good I guess. I kind of enjoy listening to it. I recorded it at home, the same as all my other records except for Streets of Rage, which was recorded at Henry Hell from Total Hell's place. It's got everyone who was in the live band at the time playing their own parts on the record, which is not what I typically do. Streets of Rage comes closest, but I'm playing drums on the A-side. I had recorded several versions of these songs with Erik Nervous but I ended up re-recording everything and adding some new songs I had written while dropping some that I didn't like because I'm very self-critical. This might be my first record that I don't dislike at all, but I had to re-do it a bunch of times to get it that way.
Did you have a similar mindset approaching it like you did with records with The Fucks?
I mean, pretty much. Most of the records released under "Buck Biloxi and The Fucks" were never really recorded with any other people, just me tracking all the instruments. This is really the first one where there's really other musicians on every track on the record and I'm just doing my guitar and vocal parts. I guess it's kind of funny that this is also the first 12" where I'm the only one that gets top billing on the record cover.
What was it like playing at this year's Gonerfest? Who were some of your favorite bands you saw?
My only complaint about Gonerfest this year was that it was too good. There was barely anything that I disliked. Standouts for me were Gee Tee, RRC, Snooper, Green/Blue, The Serfs, Screensaver, etc. Sick Thoughts ruled. The aftershows were wild as always. Got to play one in Schizos alongside TSOT and Cherry Cheeks where we achieved the elusive double-banned status from the venue.
I see you've been at some recent shows with the Sydney weirdo punks (Gee Tee, RRC) and have been performing "I Don't Wanna Go Down to the Basement" with the Satanic Togas. What has that been like and what do you admire most about those guys?
Yeah, I flew up to Philadelphia for a show they were playing that Sims from Mesh and various other past bands put on. My flight home got cancelled and they asked me if I wanted to go to the next town with them. I've been having a lot of fun hanging out with their whole crew. I have fucked up the Ramones cover several times but they've been good sports about it.
What's the New Orleans underground scene like right now? Who are some bands you’d recommend us to check out?
I reject the idea of "underground" music, who am I, Harriet Tubman or the Red Army Faction or some shit? I'm not hard to find, I'm on the internet. It's like when you see a YouTube video that has "RARE" in the title... not anymore, since you uploaded it there are potentially a practically infinite number of copies now that can be propagated outward. I prefer to think of myself as not underground, but marginalized by major record labels like Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, the Central Intelligence Agency, etc. But some good New Orleans bands to check out are Fat Savage, Paprika, Sick Thoughts, Total Hell, and I have a new band called Night Shift that rules. Should be recording some stuff with them as soon as I stop following these Australians around on tour.
Cellular Automaton comes out November 25th through Total Punk Records. Pre-order the new album here.