Tom Burtless Singer
Bryan Zells Bass / Guitar
Matt Chavanne Drums
Tom Stoklosa Keyboard
Years Active 2013 – Present
Latest / Upcoming Release “Locked Inside” (released 2/28) / More singles to come soon!
Best Wings in Buffalo Tom B: Kelly’s Korner probably clinches the top spot for me just due to my love of everything North Buffalo. Barbill and 9/11 Tavern are right there behind them though. Bryan Z: Barbill for wings. Gabriel’s Gate too. Tom S: Central Park Grill. Kelly’s Korner is good too.
Favorite Venue to Perform Tom B: I think I can answer on behalf of the whole band and say Town Ballroom. It’s been such a treat that we’ve gotten to play there as much as we have. All of those shows have been absolutely perfect – except for Matt’s in-ear pack dying as we closed out one of our sets. Also playing Adelaide Hall in Toronto was a very cool experience. It was our first time playing across the border and the crowd responded really well to us.
Current Album on Repeat Tom B: I’ve had the new Tame Impala on somewhat frequently since it’s come out. Also very into the new Weeknd album that just came out. Tom S has been listening to “Heaven Surrounds You” by Surf Curse and “Sorry” by The Slums (RIP). Matt has been spinning The 1975’s self titled. Bryan has been playing The National’s newest release I Am Easy to Find along with Gorillaz, Sean Rowe, The Wild Reeds and Elbow.
Photo by Greg McClure
Tell us about how this project got started?
Tom B: This project got started in the basement of the house I lived off Allen St when I biked home from class one day with the song structure for Do You Know Anything coursing through my head. I went on to make that song and the rest of Safe Haven, starting the band in 2013. Since then we’ve had 2 more EPs, several singles and a full length album.
Are you working on anything new / specific at the moment?
Tom B: Yes we are! We have slowly but surely been wrapping up our second full length album which (hopefully) will be coming out later this year. We have a few singles that will be coming out in the meantime leading up to that.
What would you consider your Best Local Show Experience?
Tom B: I’m not sure about best but my first thought upon this question is when we played with Lesionread back in late 2014 or early 2015 at Dreamland (RIP). HB was closing in on our first year of playing shows and still feeling very new/just starting to make friends in the indie scene. I just remember watching Shawn close out the night by having everyone lay on the floor as he ran around all of them doing god knows what. It was the first time thinking “wow there’s a lot here I’ve yet to uncover”.
Tom S: My best local show experience would be the first time I saw Dreambeaches playing a basement show at Curly’s. I met Corey standing in line for the bathroom and that started a cascade of events that led to me joining Humble Braggers.
Anyone you’ve collaborated with recently?
Tom B: My friend Denzel (who goes by denzelworldpeace) recently asked me to collaborate on a song that we’re both super proud of called “Time Can’t Help.” He’s making some great electronic music right now that everyone should go listen to.
Top 5 favorite Buffalo Bands / Artists?
Tom B: Number one has to be, without a doubt, Del Paxton. I don’t think there’s any other band from Buffalo that I listen to more on a regular basis. Sleepaway was a huge influence when I was younger. I speak for Tom S and myself when I say that we really really miss The Slums. I especially loved their last EP they put out – it’s become an essential part of my running playlist. Our good friends in Dreambeaches also continuously inspire us with each new release they’ve put out (and I hope they make something sooner than later). And as of late I’d say that Ex-Pat has been getting quite a few spins after recently seeing him perform at Nietzsches just a little while ago.
What has your recording experience been like?
Tom B: We’ve always done some hybrid of professional studio and home recording for this project. I think the more we’ve shifted the dial toward the latter the better everything has felt. We’ve done a few sessions tracking everything at a studio and I think without us being able to sit and tinker with things we feel like we lose a bit of what makes our songs sound like us.
What are the ingredients to a thriving music / art scene?
Tom B: I think the people who can find the ways to attract non-musicians and non-artists to be interested in and witness what our local scene has to offer will allow us to thrive. I also think unfortunately we’ve lost a lot of DIY venues in the past few years (Little Baltimore, Modeling Factory, Dreamland) that helped promote a lot of local artists in unique spaces. I hope we see some return of those kinds of venues in the near future.
Photo by Krit Upra