One night in Toronto, when conversations of their favourite live bands led to dreams of being their own favourite live band, Zuffalo was born.
Formed in 2016, Zuffalo is a 4-piece psychedelic funk-rock group based in Toronto. The band comprised of Mikey Vukovich (bass/vocals), Kim Manning (keys/vocals), Sean Steele (guitar/vocals), and Eric Vanier (drums), hit you with earthy beats and monstrous riffs that borderline on the realms of blues and hard rock. Zuffalo’s songs consist of instrumental sections where each member communicates with one another to create unique stories in sound. Soaked in rich harmonies, their lyrics stay true to love, but are also laced with quirky metaphors, and often touch on subjects of science fiction and nature.
Inspired by genre-blending bands like The Allman Brothers, Cream, The Beatles, and Wilco, their music combines strong songwriting with improvisational pieces.
The band released their debut album in 2018, recorded at Locust Ridge Records (produced by Mackenzie Jordan, mastered by Philip Shaw Bova). They released their EP Space in the Spring of 2020, and have recently released their leadoff single “Can You Run Out?” in anticipation of their new album, Birdbrain.
Written during lockdown, “Can You Run Out?” is about longing for human connection, and is particularly inspired by John Lennon’s 1974 record, Walls and Bridges.
The band shares on the single,
“We were setting up to record a song of Sean’s called “Time is a Flat Circle,” when on a break, Sean played a demo of “Can You Run Out?” off of his phone to our producer/engineer Mackenzie Jordan. Mikey walked by overhearing and stopped in his tracks. “What’s that?!? We should record that!” So we immediately went to “Can You Run Out?,” without any rehearsal. The acoustic guitar and bongos really glue everything together, with the acoustic sounding especially interesting because it was recorded into a cardboard box with a microphone inside.”
In our quest for a deep love or lasting friendship, walls may feel like they’re caving in, or bridges burnt, but it is much worse to be with those that make you feel all alone, than to be all alone. Like the opening line articulates: “We’re all a little bit lonely, even with someone else.” The next lyric goes on to say, “It may be better to die, than to rot on the shelf.” Sometimes waiting around for someone to come back or make amends, can do more harm than good, as you sit back and drown yourself in thoughts of what could have been. There is no quick fix to make things right. No amount of money, liquor, or hope, will bring you any closer to where you want to be. So, hold on to someone when you got em,’ and hold on to love when you’ve got it. Learn to recognize who and what is here to stay.
Recorded live off the floor at a barn in Baden, ON, the band has announced the release of their latest record, Birdbrain, featuring the aforementioned single “Can You Run Out?” Surrounded by beautiful sunsets, amazing meteor showers, and the peacefulness of nature, the band became inspired to create a collection of guitar-driven tracks with uplifting psychedelic rock/folk and pop-infused melodies.
“From the wood of the studio space, to the acoustic piano, vintage gear like the Fender Rhodes and Hammond B3, roomy drum sound, tube amps and acoustic guitars, we want the music to breathe with warmth like many of our favourite albums. Although we record digitally, there is a desire to emulate some of the warm acoustic qualities of tape, and by recording live off the floor we hope to capture the feeling of the room as we all played together.”
Since the musicians are always reacting to the vibe in the room, this makes the Zuffalonian audience essential, and Zuffalo always aims to keep their audience groovin’ down.
One thing’s for sure, with a band that’s got so much love to give, it’s impossible for them to run out, and they’ve put their hearts on their sleeves as a way to share that love with us all.
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