Locky Buchanan [2012-2016]
As a senior student at Scots [2012 – 2016], Locky Buchanan could usually be found in one of the music rooms in the Creative and Performing Arts Centre with Isaac Hooper, rocking out on the electric guitar.
Locky still remembers those sessions as among his favourite memories of Scots: the perfect way to zone out of the challenges of school and teenagehood. So when he graduated from Scots and moved to Auckland for university, he was quick to look around for a similar way to express himself. But for the first few years he struggled to find anything concrete. “I’d been doing a few things up until , but nothing with any real intent or purpose.”
Eventually he’d had enough. “Feeling that frustration of not being in a band, I just searched up ‘NZ bands’ and found a pretty shoddy-looking website on Google. It was a bit like Reddit, and listed a whole bunch of people putting their ads out to do musical things. Honestly, about 80% of it were things like ‘70-year old Blues keys player looking for a saxophonist’. I thought, ‘Man, this is a bit hopeless’.”
He eventually stumbled across Layla. A 20-year old with a soulful voice, she was starting an indie band: exactly what Locky was looking for. Layla had already been playing alongside Southern – a perpetually beanie-clad guitarist who had written a few songs already. After a few tentative sessions, they decided to play together.
They went to their first open mic night at a now-defunct Auckland bar called the Backbeat. But to play, they needed a name – something they didn’t yet have. “Any creative will tell you that the hardest thing is to put a name on the thing you create,” Locky laughs. “I looked at Layla, and said give me a first person name. She said ‘John’. I looked at my bass player and asked for an object, and he said ‘Comb’. We’ve since dropped the ‘John’ part, but that’s how the name came about.”
This summer, The Comb played at two of New Zealand’s largest festivals: Rhythm and Vines in Gisborne, and Soundsplash in Layla’s native Raglan. “It was scary man,” he says of Rhythm and Vines. It’s “such a popular festival. Something like 30,000 people end up there each year. The step up from smaller shows to that stage – it was a learning experience.”
But he knew, as he jammed out on the stage in front of thousands of cheering people, that this was what he wanted to do. “It was at that point of us existing as a band that we realised, this is where we want to end up in terms of competency and creativity and presence.”
So watch the stage at your next music festival for a shaggy-looking man with shoulder-length locks, a guitar in hand and groovy tunes to play. It’ll likely be Locky, with The Comb in tow, ready to rock through the next level of the New Zealand music scene.
Listen on Spotify here https://open.spotify.com/artist/7I99JJY2qurW9MFwToWv8Z?si=VmtYtRhdTC6zA5-A3qPc3g
Words by Pete McKenzie [2012-2016]