BUFU Records' Ben Katzman Talks Japanther, Jellyfish Brothers, and "Punk Rock Friendship"

Photo by Carlos Morales

Ben Katzman, a South Florida native now based in Boston, got his start in the music world at a young age, booking his friends' bands in high school. "We were 16 still, and we knew what it was like to have no one really care about you."

He recalls when he played a reunion show for his band Acidosis after returning from Beantown for the first time, and underage kids got kicked out of Churchill's before they had even played. It got him thinking about booking shows and creating a safe space for music fans of all ages.

Drawing inspiration from Ian MacKaye's Dischord Records, which the Minor Threat frontman started at 16, he decided to just do his own thing.

See also: Miami's 20 Best Punk Bands of All Time

Via facebook.com/BUFURecords
A BUFU Records sculpture by Craig McManus.

Now, Katzman is the leader, along with right hand man Chris Collins, of the aptly titled record label, By Us For Us Records, or BUFU for short.

What makes the label special, and what permeates everything BUFU, is Katzman, Collins, and crew's relentlessly positive attitude. As he put it, he's "naturally stoked" about everything.

In August, BUFU will put out Brooklyn noise rock duo Japanther's newest record, Instant Money Magic, releasing a limited run of 300 vinyl copies.

"It's a huge honor for me to put it out, because Japanther is one of the first punk bands I listened to when I was like 13 or 14. All of the pictures there are of me playing shows when I was younger, I'm wearing my Japanther shirt. So it's a crazy honor."

The relationship came about when Katzman and fellow Boston staples Dylan Ewen and Chris Geller messaged Japanther's Ian Vanek and Matt Reilly about the possibility of opening for the duo's Boston stop.

Unfortunately, Vanek and Reilly had already found someone. But the guys then jokingly messaged the Japanther dudes, suggesting they should play a show at Katzman's house. They responded, "Yeah, we're down for the house show."

"Japanther ended up playing my basement," the BUFU boss says. "It was crazy. From then on out we kind of became their Boston connection."

See also: Four Bars That Could Help Fill Miami's Rock Club Gap

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