Over the past few months, Gauntlet Hair
has received some serious buzz about their cryptic name and, perhaps more importantly, their experimental electro-pop MP3s. Although band members, Andy R. and Craig Nice have yet to release an album, they've received plenty of attention in the blog circuit on songs like, "Our Scenery," "All Eyes," and "I Was Thinking." We caught up with Gauntlet Hair for a moment to discuss the Denver music scene, their history as a band, and their future fatherly plans.
You guys have been making music together since you were fifteen, how did your collaboration begin? Has your music style or method changed since you formed as a band? How would you describe your current style?
AR: It began at Craig's house in his mom's basement our freshman year of high-school. The style has obviously taken many forms since we were fifteen. It started with punk rock, then moved into grindcore, thrash, math rock, noise, experimental folk, some sort of repetitious chant rock, alt pop, electronic whatever, and now Gauntlet Hair—the culmination of all phases. There are more to come I'm sure so I hesitate in trying to describe what the current status of the band is. I'd like to think that we never care to know where we stand musically.
Andy, what's the reason behind not sharing your last name?
AR: There is something about my last name (maybe it has to do with there being a 'U' in there) that makes it difficult for people to properly annunciate. I'm just making it easier on everyone.
Who are some of the biggest influences—musically or otherwise?
AR: Most of the heavier influences for me reside in the nostalgic category. I f*cking love Seal, haha. Bought that album when I was nine. Also during that time, hearing songs like Portishead's "Sour Times" or Sneaker Pimps "6 Underground"... they were so vivid to me at that age—sexy and wrenching in a way. Prepubescent longing or something. I feel that music is purely sexual when it comes down to it. The bread and butter of the writing process being frustration, heartache, happiness, depression, etc... all trace back to the fundamental—whether or not you have someone to love and/or f*ck.
CN: Theres a lot of drummers out there that I find extremely interesting and inspirational. Greg Saunier being on the top of my list. But lately I've been more interested in deriving ideas from more "poppy" songs...like Beyonce or something. Since I've introduced the electronic pieces to my set, I can't help but be into those heavy dance beats.
You've definitely found a style of music you're comfortable playing—trippy guitar effects, firecracker drums, and ultra-reverbed vocals. What led you to experiment with these styles, and what kind of music do you see yourselves playing in the future?
AR: I wouldn't describe the guitar effects as trippy. I really only use three different effects in all G.H. songs. Those being reverb, delay, and chorus. If I was throwing on a bunch of flanger or effects that controlled the playability of the guitar, then you could call it trippy. All effects that I use maintain the percussive element to our music. Speaking for myself, I plan to transgress the use of reverb as much as possible in future writing.
CN: When Andy and I started playing music, I never would have thought I'd be playing electronic drums someday. That change came about after the move to Colorado. We had dug a little deeper into the electronic scene out here and I became more and more fascinated with those beats (the Beyonce ones, I mean). I'm not trying to go nuts and confuse people with weird patterns and shit, I like playing what feels right. I suppose that answers the second question too...I have no idea what the future holds. I love surprises.
For only two members, you guys have a very large sound. Do you ever see yourselves expanding the band?
GH: We already have. Live we were maintaining that very large sound with the use of loops but the playability and energy were suffering for it. So we've added two members to the live equation.
Between you guys, Tennis, Woodsman, and Tjutjuna, it seems like this year a lot of bands are coming out of Denver. What do you think is the cause of this outburst of creativity in Colorado?
AR: I think that it has always been here. I can name a handful of other bands out here that I think should be further than us or the others mentioned, in popularity. We were all just lucky to find the right people to listen—to have the right blog to post us. It's not fair really.
CN: That's always been the greatest thing about Denver. When one band comes up, they're likely to mention their friends bands...since were all friends here, there's a crazy amount of love and support floating around in our little scene. I think the outburst is due to friendship.
What's the inspiration behind your video for "I Was Thinking...?"
AR: There was no inspiration on our part. My friend Caitlin flew out from Chicago to visit me and brought her VHS camera to document the trip. After she went home, she was watching the footage and decided to cut it up and put it to our music. When she sent it to us we thought it was perfect. It in so many ways summed up what the song was trying to say..."F*ck all ya'll, Craig and I don't need ya." At the time that was the consensus.
You've attracted quite a bit of attention without even releasing an album yet. How do you think this came about, and does it make you feel more prepared to release a full album?
AR: Well, sadly, we owe it to the blogs. They did most of the work for us, really. I think now we at least have the comfort of knowing that people will be listening when the album is released but it doesn't make us feel more prepared so to speak. The only thing that makes us prepared is knowing that the album is worth listening to.
CN: I don't really feel prepared for anything. This whole process is still very new to us. I just want our fans to be able to listen to the new stuff as soon as possible.
On your website you say that "the writing of our full album is currently underway." Can you expand a bit on your writing process?
AR: That's a difficult question to answer because it takes no specific form. We wrote and recorded this album in about three weeks. We just let inspiration and chance do the work for us. I think that we are under the good sense that sitting on an idea is poisonous. You have to just purge, constantly and quickly.
What can we expect to see from you in the forthcoming year?
AR: A few upcoming tours and the writing of the second album.
CN: A child.
Favorite album, band, song?
AR: I've been feeling Orange Juice lately... Not much else though.
CN: Women, Public Strain, "Eyesore"
Stay tuned for more on Gauntlet Hair.
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MP3: "I Was Thinking"