Gengahr | Full Interview
I think lyrically it has that fairytale aspect to it because when we did these first five demos it was Halloween.
Gengahr are a band going through the hot-tip motions. They’ve had a dizzying past year, with occasions like Glastonbury, SXSW and the O2 Arena all in hand. The announcement of their debut album means things will only grow for this (loveable) bunch of subtle guitar popsters.
How does it feel to finally have an album ready?
Yes it’s amazing. It’s definitely been a long time coming. We’ve been doing this, along with other musical projects since we were like eleven years old, so it’s been a long wait until we’ve finally been able to put something out. So I’m just really excited to let people hear it, it’s very fortunate that we’re able to put it out there.
How did the whole record come together? Obviously we’ve had a few singles…
It was relatively painless. When we first started this project it was the end of 2013 and we kind of did five demos straight away at a studio in Devon. Four of those songs are now on the album after we re-recorded them. We felt that when we had those early recordings that we were onto something so the rest of the process hasn’t been very stressful because we knew we had the bulk of it already. So that was quite a nice way to approach it. So whenever we had time last year we’d go back to that studio for a week or a few days and just do a few tracks. It was a really smooth and painless process.
Your singles have a certain dreamy sound to them, why would you say this is?
I think lyrically it has that fairytale aspect to it because when we did these first five demos it was during Halloween - so it was by chance. That’s why we gave them those names like ‘She’s A Witch’ and ‘Haunter’, they’ve generally got given that kind of vibe and it just stuck. The more recent songs aren’t so much like that but they kind of set a precedent and we thought, yeah that’s pretty cool - so it continued with that feeling. We never set out wanting our sound to be dreamy, we just wanted it to be more gentle. In truth when we were fifteen or sixteen we were making punk music, and now we’re older it’s different, we wanted to make it more sophisticated I guess. I think the dreamy nature probably comes from that, how little we add on to some of the bits as opposed to piling it all up and making it this big indie rock album. We wanted it to be more soft and I guess that’s where the dreamy nature comes in.
You caught our attention at Dim Swn last year, would you say you owe a lot to small festivals?
Yeah definitely. We did loads of little ones last year and then managed to get some big ones off the back of it. I think those smaller in-city festivals are really great, we did Leeds recently and Liverpool Sound City is coming up. They’re changing year on year and getting bigger and bigger. I think it’s really nice because new acts are able to get attention from these things when they don’t have Glastonbury and all the other stuff. So it’s a nice way to introduce new acts to the public.
You’ve done loads of big stuff already, was there a moment when it all really clicked for you guys?
Yeah there’s been a few. The first one was when we were told we were doing Glastonbury, that was like, shit, this is getting serious and more scary. So that was the first big one and then signing the record deal was another. You feel like you can dedicate your entire life to it at that point where as before you’re concerned about paying the bills and keeping yourself alive. Once you get the backing then you can relax into the music more and you get more out of it than before. So they’d be the big moments for me.
You’re doing some shows with The Maccabees right now, how are they going?
Yeah we’re right bang in the middle of those shows. It’s been amazing so far, they’re a really lovely bunch of guys, really accommodating as well. They’re a great band as well. It’s quite nostalgic for us because when they started we were in our first bands and wanted to be making music because of people like them. So it’s weird that they asked us to come and do a tour with them, it’s so cool.
Is it hard to take in big moments like when you played at the O2 Arena? That’s just huge…
That was just nuts. That would also be on the list of big moments. For us it just felt so surreal and dizzy almost. It was obviously so terrifying but it was just beyond terrifying so I found it quite amusing how silly it was. It was just amazing. Once we’d come off stage and released it was done we could really appreciate it. But before going on during the build-up it was just ridiculous.
There’s a big headline tour lined up also, how does it feel to be going it alone?
Yeah it feels great, we’ve done three headline shows now, we did two in London and one in Brighton and it’s really different. For our first London headline show I was much more scared than that huge show at the O2 Arena even though we were playing to one hundred people. There’s so much more pressure because when you’re a supporting band no-one really gives a shit. If they like it, they like it and if they don’t, they don’t. If somebody has bought a ticket to see you though then it gets scary and piles on the pressure. At the same time it’s much more rewarding because people actually know the music. The whole of last year nobody knew who we were, it was an interesting task to win people over but it’s a lot more fun when they’re already won over. It’s been amazing and we’re only just crossing over to that side of it so the tour still seems quite a way off.
I guess you’ll have much more freedom with the shows as well?
That’s another thing we’re looking forward to, being able to put in more material and doing a more extravagant performance. With the headline stuff we can throw in a cover, extend sections, fuck around. I’m looking forward to it a lot.
There’s lots of new stops on the tour, we’re looking forward to the show at Exchange in Bristol…
Yeah we last played in Bristol with Darlia at Thekla towards the end of last year. That was one of the best shows on the tour actually we really enjoyed that. We’re looking forward to coming back and hopefully a few people might show up who were at that show.
Check out ‘She’s A Witch’ right here: