The Last Bison will be swapping the Appalachians for the hills of San Francisco when they hit the Rickshaw Stop this Friday, March 29. The up-and-coming combo have already had a whirlwind of a year, releasing their debut LP, Inheritance, on Universal Republic and embarking on an ambitious tour in support of their efforts. Inheritance sees the expansion of their original 2011 EP of the same name, adding four more songs to their original six.
“Both recording experiences were equally amazing in that they were so completely different,” frontman Ben Hardesty tells the Appeal.
“We recorded our first album at this hole-in-the-wall in Richmond, Virginia. We did 11 songs in 18 hours. It’s a miracle that it came out so awesome; we were in and out of the studio so fast. What was amazing about recording in LA was simply the grandeur. We went from a humble experience to something like this, which was also humbling.”
With so many members, including many classically trained musicians, The Last Bison are consciously fine-tuning their own unique brand of grandeur where composition takes precedent. “We’ll spend countless hours crafting instrumentation,” Hardesty says, “We have to be really careful about what we play with so many people. We don’t want it to just sound like noise.”
Hardesty and his bandmates share more than a mutual love of music: just about every member is related to each other in one way or another (“I mean, our sound guy and our merch guy are both some of my best friends,” Hardesty explains.) and all but one was home-schooled. The Last Bison truly is a family affair, spanning multiple generations thanks to Hardesky’s multi-instrumentalist father, who plays banjo, mandolin, and guitar in the band. Members’ ages range from 18 to 47. “My dad brings the average age up to, like, 23,” Hardesty says with a laugh.