With the release of their début album ‘A Dream Outside’ marking them out as one of the most exciting new bands of 2015, odd-pop four piece Gengahr will be hitting the road this Autumn to play their biggest headline shows to date.
Having garnered experience supporting the likes of The Maccabees and The Strokes, the North London band have also packed in an Australian tour and numerous festival slaying performances over the summer including those at Glastonbury, British Summer Time and Y-Not.
In October, the band will return to the UK live circuit for 13 UK shows where they’ll play their biggest home-town show to date at London Scala on the 8th October), before taking in Cambridge Portland Arms (14th) tickets on sale here. In anticipation of their debut headline show in Cambridge, we caught up with frontman Felix Bushe to discuss the album, love songs and new material…
Hey Felix, how has 2015 been treating you so far?
It’s been a great year so far thanks. We’ve had a really busy festival season so it’s been nice relaxing for a week or so before we go back on tour again.
We’ve seen you play Cambridge numerous times over the last 18 months opening for others, so its great to see you play a headline show here. How have you found the response and dynamic as a support band vary to headlining your own shows?
Well the headlining thing is still very new to us but the few we have done so far have been great. You learn a lot from playing as a support act but we are very excited to make that step up and play our own shows. It’s nice to be more in control of the night and get to play more songs as well.
Your debut came out earlier this year, how do you think people have reacted to it?
I think it’s been really positive. We couldn’t have asked for anything more I don’t think. I’m not sure anyone really expected us to release a full length quite as quickly as we did but I hope it was a pleasant surprise more than anything else.
‘A Dream Outside’ seems to have really hit upon something, judging by the attention it’s received. Has the sudden increase in popularity changed what being in a band feels like?
I don’t think so no. Not much has changed for us at all really. We have the same routine we have always had, we play shows and when we don’t have shows we are back in the rehearsal studio working on new music.
What we like about the album is the contrast between darker lyrics and more jaunty rifts and chords, what comes first for you as a band, the music or the lyrics?
I think usually it’s the music but we don’t really have a strict way of writing. It changes song by song really and i think that keeps things exciting and challenging. I think there has to some element of spontaneity with the writing to keep things fresh.
How much experimentation is involved in your music?
We keep structures and parts very flexible when writing and the songs often change a great deal before we finally settle to record them. One of the best things about doing a lot of the writing in a rehearsal space together is that we can bounce of each other and things can happen quickly.
What was the hardest track on the album to finish?
It’s hard to think of any that were particularly difficult to finish. We have a policy where if things get difficult and we are struggling to enjoy the song we are playing then we will generally scrap it and work on something else. It seems important for vibes that songs don’t feel laboured over. If I had to pick one though I would have to say Dark Star as it was a song that we weren’t going to put on the album but decided to play around with it on the computer and it ended up being an instrumental.
How do you find writing about love?
I think it’s always easy to write about how you are feeling at that moment and It’s really difficult to fake it in songs. I enjoy writing love songs but at the same time I need to feel there is enough variation in what I am doing so I try to explore different avenues as much as i can.
What is the best love song ever written?
That’s impossible to say really… I’d probably give a different answer each day to this but today Im gonna say Joy Division and ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ or for a slightly more optimistic option The Bee Gees and ‘How Deep Is Your Love’.
You play Cambridge on your debut headline tour, how are plans going for the tour? How do you find your sound transfers to a live setting – do you have to compromise/change anything?
I think we always aim to go a little bigger live. It’s been really exciting putting together the live show for the tour. We have a bunch of new songs we are going to be playing and hopefully a few other special surprises as well!
Which songs do you most enjoy playing live?
I think some of the album tracks have been really fun to play live. We added tracks like ‘Trampoline’ and ‘Embers’ and they have been going down really well. It all depends on what the crowd enjoys most though really that’s always the most fun.
As a band, are you constantly working on new ideas for new material or are you going to get all the debut album touring out the way before thinking about the next release?
We are always working on new stuff, it’s a constant process for us. We will probably do what we did with the last album and write and record bits when ever we have time off the road.
What is a lyric you can’t get enough of?
Marika Hackman is a great lyricist. Cinnamon is beautiful song and i really like the first line in particular: Honey bee, fill me with that sticky stuff, golden in the light, viscous sweet delight I am sugar blind.
Gengahr ‘A Dream Outside’ is out now – Gengahr play The Portland Arms on October 14th