Yakking with Bison


Artwork courtesy of Bison
Artwork courtesy of Bison

When asked to describe their sound, UVM student-band Bison may resort to “diskopunk,” a term coined by the group after admitting no genre does the sound justice. All three seniors agreed that the sound they have created in their new EP, “PSB,”available on SoundCloud, is a combination of all their favorite aspects of music, resulting in, as vocalist and guitarist Charlie Hill described, “music we never thought we’d be making.”

Going into UVM, the group had no plans of forming a band or recording music. But things fell into place, Hill said, once he and bassist K.C. Dressing met at the end of class one day, after recognizing each other’s similar music aspirations, leading to jam sessions in their home state of New Jersey during vacations. Bison formally formed after drummer Fabian Gaspero-Beckstrom, from Guilford, Vermont, met Hill through mutual friends and started playing with the two casually.

Burlington continues to be a great influence for Bison, not only because of the vast number of venues, but also because music, overall, feels much freer in Burlington, granting them much more leeway with their sound. Recording the CD without studio assistance continued this sense of flexibility, and allowed complete creative control. The collection—recorded, compiled, and edited in Gaspero-Beckstorm’s basement with cables stringing from the attic to the basement—serves as a symbol of the group’s first permanent, official work, acting as a “perfect jumpstart for the future,” Hill said.

The band wrote and recorded the album over the course of many practice sessions. Hill said, typically after about “30 minutes dedicated to waiting for K.C.”

For Bison, the instrumental always precedes the lyrics. “We start playing, and if it sounds cool, we wait until it molds into something, and go from there,” said Dressing. Inspiration comes from everywhere. “Sometimes I’ll hear a song and want to write one like it, but someone already has,” Dressing said. Instead, he compiles what he likes about different songs to create an original one, which contributes to Bison’s unique sound. As for lyrical themes, it varies greatly. For Hill, “sometimes I just write about what I see on stage.”

And on stage is a place Bison likes to be. Filled with a healthy combination of familiar UVM faces and locals, the concert atmosphere routinely proves to them that Burlington knows how to appreciate music, Gaspero-Beckstorm said. “We’re all pretty awesome, so we know and attract good people,” Dressing said, laughing. And this is shown through the genuine communal theme of dancing without concern for spilling beer or bothering the person next to you. “Some bands only do studio, and do live performances just to do live performances,” Dressing said, “but, for me, live is the most important aspect; I’m addicted.”

Though performing live gives them a taste of rock stardom, the constant flow of homework serves as a reminder that college is still their reality. Though it has made the recording process more difficult, it ultimately has “made us more grateful to make music when we can,” Hill said.

Towards the end of the producing the CD, the group became more and more nitpicky over little details. Even a week before the official release party on the night of September 26, the group was still polishing and perfecting the record.

“There are still details we’re figuring out,” Gaspero-Beckstorm said. “Thankfully there’s only three of us and we’re all pretty easy-going.” As in the case with every college student, the band said their futures are by no means set in stone. Once they start to feel more comfortable and confident with their sound, a full-length record will follow. “Maybe I’m just a dreamer, but music is what I want to do,” Hill said. “We’ve done a good job so far, and there’s only more potential to cover after this CD.”