Do you know the feeling when you look in the mirror and scan your hand across your body and you see the reflection do so too? You tilt your head, the reflection follows in perfect synchronicity, you recite your deepest secret and the reflection already has it memorized? Listening to Gasol’s latest album, Interceptor, felt like that; like putting a name to a feeling you can’t describe and somehow they’re already ahead of you, laying out the things you struggle to name over intricately layered chords and immersive rhythm.
I had the opportunity to meet with Gasol via Zoom, which felt more like talking shit in someone’s living room. Jeff, the founder of the five-man band, guitarist, and lead vocalist, creates beside an eclectic group of individuals: Sam on the drums, Crod and Micah on guitar, and Alex on bass.
Sam, tapped out melodic beats with his drum sticks, sipped coffee, rolled some tobacco, and immediately established himself as the rebellious, introspective one. When I inquired about how the internet has changed the way we consume music, he said there is nothing like discovering new music organically, “Think how rare it is to discover the work of a jazz artist from 1940 in a live setting.”
Sam has a surprising jazz background that once noted, is apparent in his artful, improvisational style. He went on to explain that today we often are fed music through haphazardly curated sites and social media, but there is no better way to unearth new music than being present at live shows where we have the unfiltered opportunity to decide how a song makes us feel. It is refreshing to strip away the veneer of brilliance from popular artists by standing in front of a band that puts a few of your favorites to shame. The true artists have honed their skills.
Alongside Sam in the rhythm section, Alex plays an intricate bass that is tangibly funk-influenced with each driving riff. His style seems effortless but, as all members noted, he does his homework. Alex was eloquent in describing the music scene as it was and how it will shift after the pandemic, admitting that it was hard to navigate transactional relationships with other musicians and venues and moving forward he expects to see a wider door for all artists.
Micah exists on his own exoplanet and graces us with his humble wisdom in concise chunks. Among playing serene, textural guitar layers, he shared that he plays the drums, has been experimenting with synthesizers, and he paints. We explored the interesting notion of introspection versus media projection. Micah is hesitant to rejoin the online world because the way we tend to present ourselves seems more like we’re chasing money or popularity, and I don’t disagree. Social media plays a vital role in this era of distribution of music, but Micah, like his bandmates, enjoys doing things for the love of them. That kind of honest art is rare.
The newest addition to the band, Crod, joined just last year in 2019. I’ve followed his music journey through social media and have personally seen his exponential growth over the years, both musically and in his photography. Crod brings a bright and shimmery sound to Gasol, adding new dimension to each song. He is a zeitgeist for 90’s shoegaze, often playing in a dreamlike state that appears aloof, but is impressively intricate.
If we think of Gasol as a body, Jeff is definitely the bones. He founded Gasol in 2017 and has been refining it’s structure and sound ever since. Jeff’s vocals and experimental guitar pieces paired with his crafted landscape of ever-changing time signature is comparable to some of the most notable post-punk bands in history. His lyrics and delivery dance on the divide of spoken word and alternative ballad. I asked Jeff if his songwriting inspiration stemmed mostly from his happiness or sadness: “I wouldn’t say I write from a place of happiness or sadness, necessarily. I think I write to confront unknowns, which could be in the form of excitement or from ambivalence. It kind of makes writing a song a journey. I might go into one wondering why the subject matter appealed to me, and come out of the song with a better understanding of my feelings or values towards something.”
I asked each member to tell me about the others. Sam, Micah, Alex, and Crod collectively noted Jeff’s ability to write music that highlights the strengths of each member, while giving them the space to improvise and claim autonomy. In Gasol’s 2018 album, Augur, you can detect the spaces Jeff carved out for ad-libs, taking cues from bands like Sonic Youth by tacking up small influences of pop on their experimental wall of sound. Their lyricism paired with persistent clatter bounce back and forth between glittery and macabre, forming a cohesive and balanced wave of sound that crashes over you, submersing you.
You may be wondering how you haven’t discovered Gasol sooner. Admittedly, marketing isn’t their strong suit, but there is something so desirable about the lack of showmanship a group of extremely talented individuals carry. It’s like that distant lover you keep trying to get back into your bedroom, but they only stop by when you’ve stopped looking; a perfect trap. The element of surprise incites hunger.
Gasol, we’re hungry.
So how can you support them? As our world shifts back into a place of coming together, we need to actually come to together. Show up. Donate or order takeout from small, local venues and restaurants that support artists like Gasol, so they can reopen their doors and provide a platform for art when the time is right. Stream Gasol’s music on Spotify, Apple Music, and on Bandcamp where limited merchandise is available.
Now more than ever, we are clinging to the creative outlets that make us human, that tether us to each other and to the Earth. We are all excited to see what’s next for Gasol.