Western Mass indie group Cars Go West talks origins and debut album

Local band is joining the indie scene


By Joanna Buoniconti, Collegian Correspondent

Cars Go West, an indie band from Western Massachusetts, has amassed quite a following through their recent release of an album on popular streaming services.

The band formed in 2013, with four teenage boys bonding over their shared passion for making music in the small town of West Springfield, Massachusetts. Two of the band members, guitarist Craig Buddenhagen, and bassist and lead vocalist Dan Callahan, spoke with the Collegian about their origins and debut album. They attribute their deep connection to music to its ability to help one find a bit of solitude in the turbulent transition that accompanies the years between childhood to adulthood.

Their self-released album entitled, “(Be)” features 13 original songs. According to Buddenhagen, it is a “revamped B-side from a few years ago.”

He further explains that the parentheses within the album title are a philosophical trait, referencing, the phrase from Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” “to be or not to be,” which attests to the band’s acknowledgement of not knowing what the future holds for them. The quartet had released an EP almost three years before their album, but having not received a lot of recognition for it, they decided to record some of their old songs along with some new ones.

Similar to most bands out there, the integrity of their music relies on the brotherhood bond of the band members. Over the years, they have each strengthened their skills in their respective roles. Buddenhagen explains that the band’s sound is a mixture of classic rock and psychedelia, with classic dance pop and modern indie rock influences. With a chuckle, Buddenhagen describes the band’s sound as”Psychedelic Mid-Fi Indie Alterna-phunk.”

Callahan and Buddenhagen collaborate in writing all of the lyrics and melodies of the songs. Callahan has a strong attachment to the song “Lace,” the fourth track on the album, due to its sentimentality.

“Craig and I first recorded it acoustically about six years ago and I love the way it changes at the end,” he said, “It’s also one of the most fun to sing.”

One of the band’s goals for this year was to play as many shows as possible and it’s safe to say that the quartet is heading toward great things. They have scheduled many gigs throughout Connecticut and Massachusetts and are currently working on some new music. It is undeniable that the quartet pours their hearts and souls into their music, and if you check out some of their shows, you will be guaranteed a great performance from this local and up-and-coming act.

The band’s next show close to campus will be at New City Brewery in Easthampton on March 29. For more performance dates, visit Cars Go West’s official website.

Joanna Buoniconti can be reached at [email protected].