Interview with Gavin Tate of The Gaa Gaas

The Gaa Gaas Brighton Aug 2011 by Katherine Missouri

The Ringmaster Review ever since being seduced by The Gaa Gaas debut single Voltaire has eagerly and persistently tried to convert all and sundry to their psyche punk/post punk beauty through word, voice and with the kind help of The Reputation Radio Show. Neglectfully we have not actually got the band to sit down for an interview so we remedied that by grabbing the time of singer/guitarist Gavin Tate from the band to catch up on all things The Gaa Gaas as well as look back on their early days.

Hello and welcome to The Ringmaster Review

Please introduce the members of the band.

Huurah! We’re the artists formerly (known) as Gavin, Chris and Mark.

How did The Gaa Gaas begin?

It all started in my Mum’s garage, got some amps and a drum kit in there and put loads of posters over the walls and ceiling (a couple of nude lady ones as well, I’m not going to lie much). We began just jamming as an instrumental trio and then soon found a poor excuse of a P.A system for the vocals and that’s when the Police started showing up every night!

What inspired the band name?

A psychedelic prog group from Germany called Gäa. We started off as a messy garage band and I thought (that) The Gaa Gaas really suited what we were doing and still does.

Was and is there a vibrant music scene over in Jersey? 

Yes but it’s long gone now, an amazing garage punk night called BOMP kicked off around 2002 held at the best venue in Jersey which was called The Q Bar now The Live Lounge. It was a 7 night a week place and BOMP was on Thursday nights; they would bring some really good bands over and have local support. There were a few other great nights there as well, an indie night called Moroccan’roll and some great Drum&Bass/Motown/Reggae nights.

There seems to be a more frequent emergence of strong and very diverse rock bands from Jersey in recent years, besides yourselves we have come across Top Buzzer and Hold Your Fire to name a couple. Is there less distractions to take youngsters away from music there than elsewhere in the UK for example do you think?

I think most towns with not a lot produce the best bands and I’ll be honest in saying Jersey didn’t offer a lot to musicians aged 17 – 25 apart from a long fight to play your own material in clubs, most club owners always wanted bands to play covers which was rubbish if you wanted to play your own songs to people. In a way it made us want to escape!

You moved away from the island, relocating to Brighton. Was this a necessity for you and is for all bands really hoping to make progress?

You can’t do anything more than play the big local festivals in the island. You’ll get promises but they never happen. The only way you can do it properly is to move somewhere else, not just the UK. I know bands from Jersey who have started up in Europe and are doing really well; it just takes a lot of ammunition and a few massive guns!

As distinct as your sound is anyone who hears it can name some of the influences, for the record though what are the major influences musically which have shaped or flavoured your creativity?

There are so many. I’d say The Fall has really shaped us, I love every era and they’re still producing great records to this day!

Many I have introduced your music to fail to notice the ‘Almost Red’ era Killing Joke sounds whereas it seems obvious to me, is it them or me? Haha

We’re always getting compared to either Killing Joke or Bauhaus and when I told my Dad about it he said (in a scouse accent) “Think of it as a massive compliment Son” so I think you might be right on that one! ;)

There seems a definite revisiting back to the post punk era with bands recalling inspirations from the likes of Joy Division, Wire, Pil, Gang of Four etc, do you think you may have instigated that a little yourselves?

I hope so, when groups like Neils Children split up I was really gutted because there wasn’t many bands trying to maintain their own sound by using those types of influences. There were lots of bands just trying to sound exactly like Gang Of Four because it was in at the time. I thought the Neils boys were really on to something and had produced a great sound that was their own. There are some other really good bands instigating it at the moment like… Wild Palms, O.Children and Disconcerts.

Do you still see yourselves as part of an underground movement with this new emergence of bands?

We’ve never really felt part of any movement. We originally started because of bands like The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster and the whole garage revival so if we’re part of anything I think it would have to be that. It’s been slow for us being from Jersey and having to relocate but I’m happy with everything we’ve done so far and the debut album is going to be a reward to everyone who has helped us along the way!

Your debut single Voltaire was unleashed in 2010 on The Playground Records, how was that initially received?

People couldn’t believe the transformation of the band. We were always trying to look like a band and always ranting about being in a band but after the single was released we actually had it written in stone. There were 8/10 reviews, some reviewers hated my voice and some loved it but I think the statement was made and I always wanted the first release to make a strong impact!

The single was produced by James Aparicio (Nick Cave, Mogwai) and mastered by Robert Harder (Brian Eno, The Slits) , how did those link ups come about?

We were put in touch with James Aparicio through our former record label and when we signed to The Playground team we were introduced to Robert who we plan to continue working with, the man is a genius!

I mentioned Voltaire as your debut but there was the Repulsion Seminar EP before that. Tell us about that and are the tracks are still available in some form?

The only hard copy releases we have are the Voltaire 7″ vinyls that we had to get pressed up ourselves as we were messed about by the label. There were 200 copies of each of the EP’s but they sold out pretty fast!

You took a long time to release anything officially was this down to the band striving for the exact sound you wanted or merely lack of opportunity and finance?

I think a lot of it was to do with relocating. Brighton isn’t the easiest place to get known. When we first arrived there you couldn’t get a gig, demos would be put to the bottom of the pile and we were looking at a 3 month wait just to play The Prince Albert but soon we managed to gig quite vastly and the name was getting more popular in London, it was a case of waiting for the press to take notice and then soon label interest started. We didn’t have the funding to be D.I.Y; I was stealing food every day to exist and putting my equipment in Cash Generator to fund touring. I don’t regret any of it though we’ve had some amazing times!

You have also had tracks featured on various compilations, with a new one out right now I believe?

Our first ever release was a psyche-garage cover of Plastic Bertrand’s “Ca Plane Pour Moi” released by Filthy Little Angels Records. It was for a compilation titled ’1978′ with lots of bands covering songs from that year. Our cover got the best reviews and is a signature to our early sound. The Peter Out Wave compilation CD was released last week on Swedish label Peter Out Records, a 17 track album by bands from all over the world. They asked us if they could include Hypnoti(z)ed (Alt Version) on the album and we gave them the nod!

How does the song writing work within the band?

It’s made up of jams mostly. We got heavily in to The Stranglers ‘The Raven’ album and loved the improvisation they had so we started working on songs with the same analogy and it’s really worked out. I think bands that just go in to a room with a song wrote 2 hours before at home are really missing out on the musicianship that can be worked. Listen to (The Stranglers) and throw your Arctic Monkeys albums in the bin.

You are almost veterans of festivals not only in the UK but in Europe, which has been the most rewarding and pleasing to return to?

Drop Dead Festival was an amazing experience. Great bands and great ideologies! We’re due to play Fave Rave in Berlin again, that was one of my favorite European ventures, such a great city!

Do you get a distinct audience for your hypnotic and intrusive sounds or is it generally varied at shows?

A lot of the people that come to our shows are dark wave kids. They like the darker element of our sound and the groove that goes with it but we’re trying to mix it up a bit. The album is going to have a dance feel to it! The dance element in bands needs to come back and we’re hoping to revive that!

What have you lined up for the rest of the year gig and festival wise?

We’re relocating to London and starting to write and record the album in full, having a bit of time off over the summer but will begin playing shows again in August starting with a festival appearance at Vale Earth Fair in Guernsey with bands such as Roots Manuva and then we’re due to play some come back shows for a certain band later on in the year. We’ll announce a 12 date UK tour at some point as well, really looking forward to getting back out there!

Is performing live the most rewarding aspect of the band for you?

It’s definitely the most fun part of being in the band but I’d say the most rewarding aspect is when we have written a track, recorded it and hear the response from the fans. It’s all about the fans, they’re what keeps us doing it as well as our own passion to write, record and play. If they don’t like it then we give them a massive slap! ;)

Going back to compilations, I think you will correct me I am sure, it seems that your songs have been on more compilations than your own releases. Is that right and was it planned or just how things worked out?

Yeah I’d say that is true but I think it’s a good thing, I don’t know many other bands who get asked to be on a 2000 pressed compilation CD released in Europe without an album out. We’ve been quite lucky in that respect, completely fluked it!

What is next song wise in regard to releasing something?

Our next single is called ‘(SYS)’ and it sounds like the second chapter of Voltaire which is what we were striving for. It’s a faster pace and it’s a bit Twisty, people are gonna think of bands like Joy Division on this next release. The B-side will be Statues, a song we made available as a free demo download but has recently been mastered by Robert Harder who has made it sound FAT.

Any chance of an album or multi track EP sometime soon?

We may release another EP but we’re concentrating more on writing the full album, we want to get it out there next year for our 10 year anniversary, god we sound old!

Many thanks for talking with us, much appreciated.

Have you any words for you’re the readers?

Learn about cooking, baking, meal planning, cuisines, entertaining, holidays and more with Allrecipes’ informative articles and step-by-step photo tutorials - allrecipes.com

And finally tell us the song or tracks which made the deepest impact on you as people leading to the choice of music as your life.

Gavin: The Count Five – Psychotic Reaction

Chris: Black Flag – TV Party

Mark: Led Zeppelin – Ramble On

www.thegaagaas.co.uk

Listen out for an upcoming special Bone Orchard show from The Reputation Radio Show featuring the new remastered by Robert Harder version of Statues.

www.reputationradioshow.com

The Ringmaster Review 22/06/2012

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Seething Akira: Incoming Transmission EP

Having just released their new Incoming Transmission EP, Seething Akira emerge from its four tracks to stand strong as possibly if not right now certainly in the future, the biggest UK rival to the likes of US bands brokeNCYDE and Hollywood Undead. Combining a blistering brew of electro, rap, dubstep and crunkcore, the Portsmouth band leaves the senses writhing in pleasure with their stark and intrusively blistered trance manipulations. Their EP is a frenzied surge of filthy sonic fingerings and distorted atmospheres thrust forth with a challenging imagination and punk attitude. The Incoming Transmission EP shows that Seething Akira may not be the finished article yet and is itself not quite flawless but the promise and striking pleasure it gives marks the band and their acclaim by the masses as an explosion just waiting to happen.

A trio on the EP but now a duo looking for a guitarist and drummer, Seething Akira forces the ear into attention from the off with a sampled storm and old easy listening radio sounds introducing Come Here****Chickens! Scathing scraping electronics tease and niggle to announce the forceful vocals of Kit Conrad with Charlie Bowes alongside as the band begins to bully the ear, the provocative distortions and disentangled sounds meshing with impressive ease for a startling effect. The track persistently switches and surprises with an aural slight of hand merging dub elements with caressing melodic play and hypnotic trance metal intensity into caustic rap brought with a screamo tint. Like a merger of Enter Shikari and Hollywood Undead without the need to persuade with open hooks and stereotypical rhythms the band waits until the climax to unleash their pent up energy in a rampage of infectious wantonness brought with scorched eastern promise and senses scrambling invention.

The track is the best on the release though closely pushed by the following Dead Rabbits. Another dramatic intro leads the ear into a more expected rap vocals delivery over epic strikes of sound as the atmosphere intensifies. The song is more ordered than the opener though always unpredictable and enterprising and though arguably it lacks the same contagion its oppressive intimidating breath makes it a song just as effective and compulsive.

The EP is completed by Even Angels Break Hearts and Neil Buchanan. The first is a stark social commentary brought with anger and defiance within a mellower yet striking weave of sounds. As the anger rises the track flexes its muscles with a darkening of its now oppressive intensity and ear seizing guitar invention. As with all the songs on the release the band brings an expansive yet concentrated assault on the senses with layers of synths and programming speared by disorientated beats to captivate and unsettle in equal measure, this particular song the most atmospheric and provocative of all. The second of the pair splatters the senses with a dark carnival swell of sound off of a child spoken intro. It then spends its whole four minutes jabbing and pinching nerves and synapses with biting heavy rhythms and snarling bastard intertwined sounds all soundtracked by a soaring electronic swarm of warmth. At times it reminds of Senser  without ever revolting into a fully balanced song, but it is exactly the constant corruptive barracking of unconnected sounds, like a sonic version of walking on hot coals for the ear, which makes the song so exhilarating.

Seething Akira and the Incoming Transmission EP will not be for everyone but if the likes of the aforementioned brokeNCYDE, Hollywood Undead, Enter Shikari and Senser leave you twitching with pleasure then Seething Akira might induce you into a full on meltdown.

Grab the Incoming Transmission EP for free through the link http://bit.ly/KDAbjl

https://www.facebook.com/seethingakira

RingMaster 22/06/2012

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Louise Latham: Reclaimed

The majority of artists whichever medium they immerse within find their full potency from the darker hues and shadows of life, the strongest emotions and instigators of ideas being those from the most extreme intrusions of happiness. Welsh singer songwriter Louise Latham is no different and with her excellent new album Reclaimed has brought forth songs which are borne from the fires of lost and shattered relationships as well as other full shadows. Whether the songs are personally driven or from close contact to the experiences of others there is a passion and breath permeating the album which is heart given not just a simple portrayal. The album though is not a heavy and morose feast but an evolving fusion of light and dark.

Cardiff girl Latham lived and slept the album during its creation. Her promo for the release stating in her own words “I slept next to the Telefunken analogue machine in the studio for the entire two-month period,” and further went on to say “It was quite a magical time, feeling surrounded day and night by the recording process, which for me is a creative process as involved and fulfilling as writing.” The attention spent on the release which she recorded with producer Arno Guveau in his home studio built specifically for the project, is evident in every note musically and vocally as well as the individual emotive atmospheres combining for an overall one of stirring passion and deep reflection.

Though the majestic folk pop sounds of Latham are not those to generally ignite the sparks of burning fires within this heart there was no denying the power and grace of the songwriting and its realisation. It took time but there has emerged a sure connection which will draw one back even after this review is completed even if only to particular songs. The most irresistible thing on the album apart from the songs and the voice of Latham herself was the wonderful use of strings throughout. Never adverse to the seductive haunting caresses of a cello or the inciteful plaintive teases of a violin let alone the instinctive yearning of the double bass, the songs held a mesmeric kiss upon the ear and with the also excellent piano play of Latham each song is a treat for the ear and heart.

I cannot claim each song found an eventual sure home because of simply personal taste but there was never a moment when the album did not have the fullest eager attention and though some tracks may not have left the firmest invitation to return as did others, each beautifully crafted and presented track was a delightful warm collusion of artist and recipient.

Many songs did light up beyond the ear especially the opening Saint. The song is a wonderful expressive admission of the heart, its hypnotic beats and stirring strings creating an impassioned air behind the outstanding touching vocals of Latham. Her voice is powerful and dramatic without losing or deflecting from the heart of the song. She has the perfect balance of insisting on attention without demanding it allowing her dark and often shadowed impressive lyrical composing to reach and touch every thought.

Further tracks like the magical Old Soul a song as haunting as it is emotive, Erase Me a folk rock track to enchant and excite all, and the exceptional Young Boy, only bring strong pleasure. The last pair of this trio reminds a little of Fleetwood Mac, or more Latham does of Stevie Nicks in her irresistible delivery and makes for nothing but pleasure in their company.

With Gilded Bird expansive in sound and emotion and the elegant closing title track seeing out Reclaimed wonderfully, this is an album which will thrill and wake up the emotions of all singer songwriter/folk hearts. For others like us with differently seeded tastes there is still a wealth of near perfect enjoyment to make Louise Latham and Reclaimed worth a sure and prolonged moment of our time.

RingMaster 22/06/2012

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