Avi Buffalo: "I’m not angry, just sexually frustrated"

Interview Avi Buffalo: “I’m not angry, just sexually frustrated”

Avi Zahner-Isenberg is casting off his teenage years, but that doesn’t mean he’s all grown up.

Avi Buffalo’s self-titled first album was one of 2010’s most promising debuts. Wistfully romantic and packed with lusty, pent-up frustration in equal measures, Long Beach-based musician Avi Zahner-Isenberg was still a young upstart fresh out of high school when he wrote ‘Avi Buffalo’. Four years on, and ‘At Best Cuckold’, the long-awaited follow-up, might smell less of aerosol deodorant and locker rooms, but there’s still the same wide-eyed loved-up innocence right at its core.

It was a relief, agrees Avi with a muffled “mmhmm”, to break free from the ‘straight out of school’ narrative that dominated excitement around his debut. “I had a lot of time between [‘Avi Buffalo’] and this album,” he adds, while wrestling with various tiny sachets on his sushi tray. “Time to have other real life experiences and enjoy them, but still be in a really intense young-feeling learning-all-the-time mode, you know?”

Having four years to take his time, says Avi, was hugely important. “For my early stuff, I did everything at home with cheap microphones, and I got a really personal sound out of it,” he says. This time he wanted to expand on that – “to mix it with high fidelity. But I tried to keep it really minimal on this record, I didn’t want to overwhelm the really basic good tape audio. This [time] I really got the time to experiment with sounds on my own, any hour of the day, by myself or with other people; that was really really fun to do”

Avi Buffalo has always been full of stories, namely stories about women that Avi has been romantically involved with. “You just get involved with people,” shrugs Avi while sipping from a mug bearing Paul McCartney’s face. “You get emotionally connected to them and then you think about them and write about it.” While the first album seemed sort of angry, flustered and pent up, like an espionaging semi, the second album, says Avi, isn’t as pissed off. “I’m not angry,” Avi says, “just sexually frustrated.”

Taken from the September issue if DIY, out now. Avi Buffalo’s new album ‘At Best Cuckold’ will be released on 8th September via Sub Pop.

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