Longtime Broad & High fans may recognize Dave Buker & the Historians from early in Season 1, when we profiled the Columbus band that blends folk and Americana with electronic sounds. The Historians recently returned to the WOSU studios for an encore performance, featuring three new songs.
In the five years and some change between Broad & High appearances, the band released another EP and a full-length album. A couple of band members departed. Tim Jennings took over on bass. And Buker married band member Leanna Stansell.
Now Dave Buker & the Historians are set to release their sixth recording, It Moves in the Dark, on April 26. The musicians stuck around following their Broad & High Presents performance to tell us more about the stories behind the songs and the Historians behind the instruments.
Meet the Musicians
Fave local venue: Rumba Cafe
Fave local acts: Fields & Planes, The Jeffs, The Salty Caramels, Mojoflo, Zoo Trippin’
Fave local venue: Brothers Drake
Fave local acts: Fashion Week, Paper Morning
Fave local venue: Newport Music Hall, Express Live
From: Central Ohio
From: Central Ohio
Fill in the Blank
If you like ___, you’ll like Dave Buker and the Historians.
Joe: The Band or Tom Petty.
Leanna: One of our songs sounds like a Decemberists song.
Joe: Beards, glasses, long hair.
Paul: Girls with short hair, boys with long hair.
Joe: Tattoos. “Night Moves” by Bob Seger.
When we’re not performing, we are ___.
Dave: A lot of us are teachers.
Dave: Eating. I always eat a lot of food.
Joe: Tim is a parent-to-be.
Paul: Tacos, cats. Tacocats.
Dave: We are cats.
Leanna: Yeah, Dave and I have three cats now.
Dave: So does Paul.
Leanna: Paul has three cats now.
Paul: Just got a cat.
Leanna: Tim –
Dave: Tim’s not into this, no.
___ is Central Ohio’s best hidden gem.
Joe: Elizabeth’s Records in Clintonville.
Dave: Yeah, I don’t know if it’s hidden, but I think it’s really important that we have CD102.5, that we have a radio station that is local and supports bands. And we have a public media station at WOSU that does the same thing.
And maybe a lot of people don’t realize – they realize that exists in Columbus. I think people don’t realize how rare that is. I think there’s only 10 or 12 fully independent radio stations in the country, and we have one of them. So that’s, I think, important to recognize.
Dave: Also, tacos. Yeah, Cuco’s has really good tacos.
Leanna: It’s on Henderson Road.
The best food in Columbus is ___.
Joe: Dirty Frank’s hot dogs
Paul: Local Cantina
Leanna: Can we go eat after this? I’m so hungry [laughs].
Dave: New India. That’s tough to answer, I think, because Columbus has so much because we’re culturally very diverse.
Pineapple on pizza is ____.
Paul: No, no. It’s good.
Leanna: It’s fine.
Joe: I like it.
Tim: I like it.
Paul: I like pineapple with salty things.
Leanna: Yeah! [Dave’s] the only loser.
Dave: I like anchovies. Does anybody else eat anchovies on pizza?
Band members: No.
Dave: And here’s the problem with it, you can’t – like, pineapple, if you want pineapple on your pizza, we can do half and half. It’s not going to interrupt the pizza. You get half anchovies on the pizza, that whole pizza tastes like it. There’s no way around it.
Paul: The box tastes like anchovies.
Leanna: The box [laughs]. Did your cats tell you about it?
On the Stories Behind the Songs
Dave: Alright, we’ll get deep. I can say this: these (three) songs aren’t really personal. Usually they are. When we did our last full-length record, we did an Indiegogo campaign to finance it. And one of the perks was that you could donate X amount, and that would get you a song written based on a story you told us.
So the first one we played, “How Long Can I Pretend?” – somebody told me this story, which is kind of ironic because this girl told me a story about her ex-boyfriend and her ex-boyfriend is also somebody I knew and I grew up with and donated a lot of money too. And he told me a story about her, and so there are songs that are kind of back and forth on this record. So that’s what that’s about, kind of the story that she told me.
The middle one (“It Moves in the Dark”) – it’s kind of dark. A friend of mine basically cheated on his wife while she was pregnant with their first child. And that’s what that song is about. So you know, it’s a real cheery, happy tune. It’s pretty tough.
And then the last one (“In the Black”) is more just – I don’t know that it’s about any one thing. I think that the story that person told me that started that first song kind of just started to ruminate and developed into just more of that same emotion in that other song.
Do you find that these story-based songs fit in with the other stuff you’re already working on, or is it a challenge?
Dave: No, it does. There was one person who told me a story that I felt – it was so specific that it was hard to, like, really put a spin on it that felt right for us from a writing standpoint. And I talked with them about it, and they’re fans of the band and they know our songs really well. And he said, well, something happened to me recently that I think would fit better in the way that you write. So he told me a different story, and I’m working that out.
So I mean, there’s been a little back and forth. But for the most part, if somebody’s telling me a story about a relationship, that’s kind of the way these songs tend to go. We don’t really write things that are sociopolitical. So if that’s the story, then it works.
But it’s been weird. I don’t know if I like it. It’s been an interesting experience. It feels like a lot of pressure. And sometimes I wonder, like, if I expound upon what somebody is telling me and I make some assumptions about certain feelings, I don’t know whether that’s fair or accurate. But that’s kind of bound to happen. So that’s stressful.
In order to write it, I have to identify in some way. So I have to listen to a story and then go, OK, that makes me think of this time when this happened to me, or just a feeling that I can grab onto. And so naturally I’m going to put some personal feeling into it. But I think that comes with the territory and not something that would be at all surprising.