North London's Gengahr have had a pretty busy last couple of months, which should come to no surprise to any music listener out there who can appreciate a good pop hook. Not only has the quartet started 2015 off on the right foot by supporting alt-J on an array of European tour dates, but they have also more recently landed their name on some big festival bills, including The Great Escape, Latitude Festival, and Best Kept Secret Festival. If that wasn't enough, the act comprised of Felix Bushe (vocals / guitar), Hugh Schulte (bass), John Victor (guitar), and Danny Ward (drums / vocals) have also just announced their debut album entitled A Dream Outside.
Slotted for a June 15/15 release via Transgressive Records, A Dream Outside exists as a sonic explanation for all of the hype surrounding the foursome. It's filled with (from what we can tell from the tracks that have been released to-date) untraditional, guitar-driven melodies that prove to be both stark and woozy, bounding and murky. To unpack it all, I chatted with Felix Bushe, who gave me the run-down of all-things Gengahr.
Brontë Martin: You have a bunch of shows slotted across the UK this summer. How's that going so far? Are you testing out the new stuff off A Dream Outside? It must be kind of a whirlwind.
Felix Bushe: We have just finished a pretty big UK run and then we had a couple of European dates before heading home. We have been playing a few tracks off the album and the response to the new stuff has been really good. I think we are still working out what the best order for everything live is and so we have been mixing things up a bit as we go but hopefully by the time the festivals are in full swing we will have worked out the perfect set for everyone!
BM: You also recently got back from SXSW. Was that your first time playing in America? How was that?
FB: I think it's probably been the best experience for me so far with Gengahr. I've always wanted to go to the States and it couldn't have been a better experience. We only played a few shows but both were really busy and the crowds were great. As well as getting to soak in the amazing atmosphere of the festival we also got to see a whole bunch of awesome bands that we haven't been able to see back in England yet.
BM: Apart from touring, you guys also just released "Heroine" (off A Dream Outside) just over a week ago now. How's the reception been?
FB: I think it's been really good. The last track we put out was "She's A Witch" and that was a re-recording of an early demo we had online so quite a few people had already heard it. "Heroine" though is much newer so it was nice to get something out that no-one had heard before.
BM: Leading up to the June 15 release of the album in full, what can listeners expect to hear?
FB: People who have heard the singles will probably have a fairly good idea what to expect from us by now but I would still like to think we have some surprises up our sleeves. A couple of the tracks were written right at the end of the recording time and weren't planned to feature this time around. I think they are probably a little different to the rest of the album and perhaps hint at where we are going to take things in the future.
BM: I know you worked closely with producer James Bragg on this album. How do you think he contributed as a whole to A Dream Outside?
FB: James has been a great part of the team from the beginning. We recorded our original demos with him over a year ago now and we never thought about working with someone else after that. We knew that we wanted to co-produce the record from the start and we have very strong ideas about how we think the record should sound. James is the perfect guy to help you realise your vision. It wouldn't have been possible to get the record out sounding like it does without him.
BM: Who might enjoy A Dream Outside? Who are your listeners and what do they look for in music?
FB: I'm not sure really… It's probably quite a mix of people who listen to Gengahr. I never saw us as a band with any serious commercial potential so i always imagined we would be trying to convince the musos to dig our shit but I've been surprised at how many younger listeners we have picked up in the past few months.
Want to catch the boys live? See the below tour dates.
01 May – Amsterdam Melkweg (PIAS Nites)
03 May – Sounds From The Other City, Manchester
11 May – Birmingham Institute *
12 May – Glasgow O2 abc *
13 May – Manchester Ritz *
14 May – London Coronet *
15 May – The Great Escape
16 May – The Great Escape
23 May – Liverpool Sound City
24 May – Liverpool Sound City
18 June – British Summer Time Hyde †
19 June – Hurricane Festival
20 June – Southside Festival
21 June – Best Kept Secret Festival
03 July – Blissfields Festival
07 July – Festival de la Cite, Lausanne
17 July – Latitude Festival
18 July – Longitude Festival
19 July – Melt! Festival
02 August – Y Not Festival
05 September – Soundrive Festival
* w/ The Maccabees
† w/ The Strokes
^ w/ Circa Waves