You Indie Feature: An interview with Matt Arbogast of The Gunshy

The Gunshy

The Gunshy

For his first proper full-length in several years, Chicago’s Matt Arbogast, who performs under the moniker The Gunshy, assembled a robust cast of collaborators and pulled out all the stops for his fifth record, Silent Songs.  

A bit of a departure from his Waits-leaning, barroom-prophet past, Silent Songs offers swells of strings, horns, gang vocals and tracks with a much quicker pace than the finger-picked ballads he’s known for. As the saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Well, Silent Songs isn’t a fix, but a reinvigoration of a powerhouse songwriter with time-tested chops.

You Indie recently caught up with Arbogast, discussing the difficulties of touring life, new horizons and his brilliant new record.

What was your approach or mindset during the development and production of this record?  Were there game changers that forced the tide of the record in certain directions?

The process of making Silent Songs was a long one. After finishing the last record, There’s No Love In This War, I wanted to make a louder, thicker album. I started playing live with a pretty steady four-piece line up and we worked on some of the songs that would eventually end of up Silent Songs. I then realized that I’m kind of addicted to having a ton of different instruments on my recordings. Recording as a straight up four piece wasn’t feeling right. At about the same time my wife and I bought an old house here in Chicago. I built a studio in the basement. The construction and set up of the studio took about six months. When it was done I had a majority of the songs for the record finished. I started tracking the album with a bunch of friends and eventually completed it. Everything was tracked and mixed at my place except for sax. Jeff Rosenstock recorded that at his place in NYC.

You had a lot of help from friends on this record?  What importance did you put on making this a collaborative group project and how did it pay out?

Once I decided that I wasn’t going to record the record as a four-piece rock band, it made sense to make it a collaborative effort. Many of the songs deal with second guessing music, but ultimately relying on it. Having friends help to create a big sound for many of the songs reinforces the community aspect of music that has really structured my life. I live in Chicago because of friends I made on tour. I met my wife at a show. Just about everyone I know is a musician.
Having a decent sounding studio space makes collaboration much easier. My friend Sean Bonnette plays in an awesome band called Andrew Jackson Jihad. He lived in the second floor of our place for 9 months while I was recording the record, so he played some guitar, bass and did some singing on it. One of my favorite guitar players is my friend Mike Huguenor. He was living in Chicago for a while when I was recording the record too. We actually recorded his solo 10″ at my place. After finishing up his record, he added some guitar parts to my songs. Most of the other players were Chicago friends who offered their talents.

What are the predominant lessons you’ve learned about yourself and songwriting over the course of five full lengths?

Not to overthink it and not to force it. Most of the songs I’m the most proud of were written quickly and came out pretty easily.

I’ve also realized that writing songs is going to be a part of me for my entire life. Getting through some of the late-twenty/early thirty junk and still being motivated to tour and write music is kind of a relief. I’m always afraid that I’m going to lose it.

This is your first record in seven years, and it seems that your last was picking up serious steam with features on NPR and other exposure.  What happened during those years?

I got a little burnt out on touring. While tours were slowly starting to get better, it can be tough playing to empty rooms most nights for 7-8 years. I just kind of realized that if I was going to play music forever, I needed to figure out a way to do it that was sustainable. So I stopped touring for a bit, started a graphic design company, and worked on putting together a life that centers on music but not always my own. I started recording other bands in my studio and we built a 75 person acoustic show space in the attic of our house. I’m also going to start releasing records for other people and bands next year. I’ve always wanted to affect as many people with music. I just realized that my own songs don’t necessarily have wide appeal. I write these dark, often uncomfortable songs. Forcing them on people all of the time just doesn’t seem right. If I can continue to get the personal fulfillment out of my own songs and maybe have a few people that appreciate them, I can be content. I can use my studio, show space and label to help spread the gospel of rock music.

We did put out an EP, split 7-inch with Andrew Jackson Jihad and a couple of other random things after the last full length though.

Is this your first tour with a proper band and who will be on the road with you?

We’ve toured as a four-piece a few times in the past. It’s been almost five years though. We’ve done a couple of tours as a five-piece too (with trumpet).

You’ve played with a wide variety of artists, everyone from Elliott Smith to Andrew W.K.  What have your favorite shows been?

Right now the show I’ve been thinking of the most though was with Magnolia Electric Company in Lexington, KY a while back. I think it was 2003. Jason Molina is one of my favorite songwriters. That show had stuck with me as one of my favorites prior to his passing, but even more so since. They had just recently changed their name from Songs: Ohia and were touring in support of one of my favorite records (called “Magnolia Electric Company”). Such a great, great show.

I just recently played a solo show with King Buzzo from The Melvins, which was a pretty incredible evening. Buzzo was a sweetheart and his fans were some of the best I’ve ever come across.

(Catch The Gunshy at Canal Public House on Wednesday, July 23 with Joe Anderl, Mean Mug, and The Florals.)

The Felix Culpa announce split with Foreign Tongues

The Felix Culpa has reunited and announced plans to release a split record with labelmates Foreign Tongues via No Sleep Records on August 12. The four-track record will be available digitally and on limited edition 12” vinyl and is available for pre-order now at https://nosleeprecords.com/product/7294.

In anticipation for the upcoming split, The Felix Culpa has partnered with BrooklynVegan.com/Chicago to premiere their first new song since 2010’s album Sever Your Roots and their eventual separation in 2011.

Listen to “Karma City” now at BrooklynVegan.com/Chicago: http://bit.ly/1m97w7l

The band will also make their return to the stage this summer at the Wicker Park Fest in Chicago on July 26, followed by select tour dates this fall.

Octaves to tour with Horse The Band (2014)

Baltimore natives Octaves announced a string of shows next month with Horse the Band.  These are the first shows of the summer for Octaves; they’ve spent the last few months writing new tracks that will be announced and released soon.  Check out an in-studio video that the band recently posted for a sneak peek at what they’ve been up to here.

8/8/2014   Baltimore, MD @ Sidebar

8/9/2014  New York, NY  The Marlin Room @ Webster Hall

8/10/2014  Philadelphia, PA @ Barbary

8/11/2014  Amityville, NY @ Amityville Music Hall

8/12/2014  Boston, MA @ The Middle East (Upstairs)

8/13/2014  Hartford, CT @ Webster Underground

8/14/2014  Pittsburgh, PA @ Cattivo

8/15/2014  Cleveland,OH @ Grog Shop

8/16/2014 Lansing, MI @ Mac’s Bar

8/17/2014 Chicago, IL @ Beat Kitchen

Moral Mazes ready seven-inch

Moral Mazes was formed from a friendship earlier this year between some legendary characters of independent music: Jonah Matranga (Far, Onelinedrawing), Jeff Dean (All Eyes West, Dead Ending), Darren Zentek (Office of Future Plans) and J. Robbins (Jawbox, Burning Airlines).  This band is a studio project at its finest, and this new two-song 7inch is an absolute amalgamation of the members’ collective bands and influences.

The Magic Tommy Jackson 7inch is set for release on September 2 on vinyl and digital formats – pre-order info, song premieres, and more news coming very soon.

The Foxery join Spartan Records roster, share “Broken Vessels”

Seattle-based Spartan Records welcome Louisville based alternative rock band The Foxery to the labels growing, eclectic roster. The sextet will be releasing their debut full-length album, Unless, on September 9 and has unveiled the record’s first new song, “Broken Vessels,” today at Diffuser.fm. The album is also available for pre-order at iTunes and on limited edition vinyl from Spartan Records (http://spr.tn/the_foxery).  All pre-orders will include an instant download of “Broken Vessels.”

Stream The Foxery’s “Broken Vessels” now, exclusively at Diffuser.fm: http://bit.ly/1t4AnLI

Coming on the heels of several independent releases, incessant DIY touring, and months and months of persistent writing, The Foxery has found their home on Spartan Records with their debut full-length Unless, unquestionably their most prolific recording to date.

Entirely self-produced, The Foxery spent months dialing in tones, finessing tempos, and meticulously creating the layers that define the new record. Once the band had finished recording, acclaimed mixer J. Robbins (Jawbox, mewithoutYou, Jimmy Eat World) took the reigns for final polishing.

Follow The Foxery now at https://www.facebook.com/thefoxeryband for additional news and updates.

Beebs and Her Moneymakers featured on Sound Check Chat podcast

Beebs and Her Money Makers

Beebs and Her Money Makers

The Sound Check Chat podcasts with Michelle Beebs of Beebs and Her Moneymakers went live on Tuesday, July 15 via iTunes and Stitcher.

Access the podcast here: http://goo.gl/KXevwU

Orlando, Fla.’s Beebs And Her Money Makers began their summer-long stint on the Vans Warped Tour in June, bringing their colorful, funky and fun approach to concert-goers around the country. The band is led by kazoo-wielding mistress Michelle Beebs, who was featured in Fuse TV’s “Warped Tour Roadies,” which followed the experiences of her up-and-coming band during their stint on last year’s tour.

But this was no typical “Behind the Music” documentary. Beebs emerged as an affable heroine, as she mixed with her musical heroes, met her brother for the first time and reignited her relationship with her father.

Sound Check Chat recently caught up with Beebs around the release of their latest effort, Würst Album Ever, to discuss the band’s approach, her love for funk and how the band may have once saved a life.

On March 15, 2014, the podcast launched via iTunes and Stitcher, as well as at the Sound Check Chat website (http://www.soundcheckchat.com).  Previous podcasts included interviews with Grieves, Buffalo Killers, Circle Takes The Square, The Jazz June, Hawthorne Heights, and more.

In addition to the podcast, Sound Check Chat provides a show notes page providing background behind the podcast and artists covered, as well as links to topics discussed on the show.

Additional details about future podcasts, including those already in progress with Those Mockingbirds, My Goodness, Afghan Whigs, Frameworks and more are forthcoming.

The Dillinger Escape Plan, Cold Cave support Nine Inch Nails, Soundgarden tour (2014)

The Dillinger Escape Plan has been tapped as support for one leg of the Nine Inch Nails and Soundgarden summer tour. Here are the shows featuring DEP:

8/2 Holmdel, NJ @ PNC Bank Arts Center
8/4 Bristow, VA @ Jiffy Lube Live
8/5 Virginia Beach, VA @ Farm Bureau Live at Lakewood
8/7 Charlotte, NC @ PNC Music Pavilion
8/8 Atlanta, GA @ Aaron’s Amphitheatre at Lakewood
8/10 West Palm Beach, FL @ Cruzan Amphitheatre
8/11 Tampa, FL @ MidFlorida Credit Union
8/14 Austin, TX @ Austin360 Amphitheatre
8/16 Woodlands, TX @ Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion

Additionally, Cold Cave (ex-American Nightmare) will participate in another leg:

8/17 Dallas, TX @ Gexa Energy Pavilion
8/19 Albuquerque, NM @ Isleta Amphitheatre
8/21 Chula Vista, CA @ Sleep Train Amphitheatre
8/22 Irvine, CA @ Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
8/24 Mountain View, CA @ Shoreline Amphitheatre
8/25 Los Angeles, CA @ Hollywood Bowl
8/27 Sacramento, CA @ Sleep Train Amphitheater
8/29 Portland, OR @ Sleep Country Amphitheater
8/30 Seattle, WA @ White River Amphitheater

Grey Gordon readies debut full-length, tours (2014)

Grey Gordon has announced plans to release his debut, full-length album, Forget I Brought It Up, on September 2 via his label No Sleep Records. In anticipation of the upcoming release, Gordon has partnered with AVClub.com to stream the record’s first new track, “Target,” today! Also, No Sleep has launched a pre-order for the record, which is available on limited edition vinyl here: https://nosleeprecords.com/product/7305.

Stream Gordon’s new song “Target,” now at AVClub.com: http://avc.lu/1mHtgIm

Catch Gordon on tour this fall with The Fossil Youth and follow him now at https://www.facebook.com/greygordonofficial for additional news and updates.

Sep 9 – Fort Wayne, IN – The Den

Sep 14 – Chicago, IL – Beat Kitchen

Sep 15 – Kent, OH – The Outpost

Sep 17 – Buffalo, NY – The Lair

Sep 19 – Worcester, MA – Ralph’s Diner

Sep 20 – Sayville, NY – Soul Sound Records

Sep 21 – Montclair, NJ – The Batcave

Sep 22 – Baltimore, MD – Charm City Art Space

Sep 23 – Richmond, VA – Big’s BBQ

Sep 24 – Fayetteville, NC – Drunk Horse Pub

Sep 25 – Savannah, GA – The Bomb Shelter

Sep 26 – Orlando, FL – Uncle Lou’s

Sep 27 – Valrico, FL – Cloud House

Sep 28 – Ringgold, GA – Cloud Springs Deli

Sep 30 – Nashville, TN – Exponent Manor

Oct 1 – Springfield, MO – House Show

Oct 2 – Conway, AR – House Show

Oct 4 – Rosenberg, TX – The Shed

Oct 5 – San Antonio, TX – The Korova

Oct 6 – Midland, TX – Keggler’s Lounge

Oct 7 – Albuquerque, NM – Lab Rats

Oct 8 – Mesa, AZ – 51 West

Oct 10 – Van Nuys, CA – White Oak Music

Oct 11 – Fresno, CA – Chinatown Youth Center

Oct 13 – Redding, CA – House Show

Oct 14 – Eugene, OR – The Boreal

Oct 15 – Olympia, WA – The Northern

Oct 16 – Bremerton, WA – The Charleston

Oct 19 – Denver, CO – 7th Circle Music

Oct 22 – Cedar Rapids, IA – Just Jules

Oct 25 – Oklahoma City, OK – The Conservatory

Additional Dates To Be Announced Soon

Major League share acoustic track “Montreal”

Huntington Beach independent label No Sleep Records has debuted a new acoustic track called “Montreal” from Brian Joyce of New Jersey alternative/pop-punk rock band Major League. The song is taken from No Sleep’s upcoming release A Comp For Mom, which pays tribute to the label’s president Chris Hansen’s mother, Linda Hansen, who recently passed away. The new compilation is scheduled for release on August 5 and is available for pre-order now at https://nosleeprecords.com/product/7217.

Stream Major League’s new acoustic track “Montreal” now, exclusively at PropertyofZack.com: http://t.co/aAkmT0tH27

Major League’s song “Montreal” will be featured as a full-band track on their forthcoming sophomore album. The group recently wrapped recording on the record with producer Will Yip (Title Fight, The Wonder Years, Balance and Composure) at Studio 4 in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania.  A release is expected later this year.

The Story Changes share video for “Statelines”

The Story Changes have shared their video for “Statelines” via New Noise Magazine.  See it here:

http://newnoisemagazine.com/video-premiere-story-changes-statelines/

The band recently hit their 10 year anniversary as an artist, and released With Just One Song, I Give This All To You, a 130+ page book documenting the band’s lyrical content mixed with photos from the road and in studio. The book is available at their online store here: http://thestorychanges.storenvy.com.