With Buke and Gass, it’s DIY folk

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Buke and Gass are the quintessential DIY band.

The pair — Aaron Sanchez and Arone Dyer — does everything themselves, right down to making their own amps and instruments. That peculiar name even comes from their homemade toys — a modified six-string baritone ukelele, aka the buke, played by Dyer, and a guitar/bass hybrid (the gass, pronounced like base) played by Sanchez. And let us not forget the toeborine that Dyer plays with, well, you get the idea.

This instrumentation comes partly out of necessity — there is just the two of them, after all, and a gass produces more sound than your standard bass, and a guitar was a bit too heavy for Dyer, who gets wrist pain. It’s also a fun project for the self-described tinkerers, a never-ending modification process for Sanchez especially, a former instrument maker for the Blue Man Group.

“We’re always tweaking our sound,” said Sanchez, who obsessively modifies his gass in ways that only he, or a similar music geek, would understand.

For now, though, that sound seems to be working just fine for the two. When they first met roughly 10 years ago, they immediately started making music together, first in the post-punk noise group Hominid. When that disbanded, they went their separate ways — Dyer as a bike mechanic, Sanchez for the band Proton Proton — but reunited a couple years ago as Buke and Gass. They quickly drew attention for their folk-stomping sound, Dyer’s supermelodic, hypnotic vocal lines, and, yes, those homemade instruments.

After hours of improvisation, the two put out their debut full-length album, “Riposte,” earlier this fall, recorded out of Dyer’s Red Hook studio, Polyphonic Workshop. But their live show is something to behold, not so much for showmanship — effects pedals and foot percussion keep them seated for the duration of their set — but for their compelling synergy, described as a “weird fight click” by the band.

“We’re similarly obsessive and anal,” said Sanchez from his studio recently on how the two get along so well.

“Don’t use that word,” interjected Dyer.

“We’re particular,” Sanchez concedes.

Next up for the band is Silent Barn on Jan. 8, an aptly DIY venue on the Bushwick/Ridgewood border.

“It’s got bleachers. How can you go wrong with bleachers?” says Dyer.

Well, you can’t — unless you want to see the toeborine in action.

Buke and Gass at Silent Barn [915 Wyckoff Ave. near Hancock Street in Bushwick], Jan. 8 at 8 pm. Tickets $7. For info, visit

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