Thursday, May 30, 2019

The Townhouse Asks Jennifer Pochinski: What is Art?

With You I Leave, oil and collage on panel, 48 x 38 inches, 2019

I think Art is a force or a vibration in which the artist plugs into. In order to really connect, there must be a balance of surrender and taking a stand. Painting is my favorite kind of art. "Practice" is such an underused word in painting. For me the practicing (or just painting a lot! ) has been an exercise in both handling paint and detaching. Becoming detached creates an opportunity to take risks which may lead to the lightning to strike in the bottle. The art that I respond to is simply talking, rather than talking to (the viewer). Showing, not telling.


Jennifer Pochinski is a painter based in California. She has had numerous national and international solo and group exhibitions and exhibits with Dolby Chadwick gallery in San Francisco, b. sakata garo in Sacramento, and Tregony in the UK. You can view more of her work on instagram @jenniferpochinski or her website

Friday, May 3, 2019

Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Townhouse Interviews: Beau Beasley from Insect Warfare

Insect Warfare were a no-holds-barred, grind throwback from Houston, Texas.  Though they were around for a relatively short time, they have rightly earned themselves a place alongside the legends of the genre.  While Grindcore certainly isn't for everyone, there can be no mistaking its merit as an art.  It's a primal expression of human emotion, or perhaps as Beau Beasley might see it, a reflection of its demise.  Beau was the guitarist and a founding member of Insect Warfare, and he was kind enough to do and interview for the Townhouse. 

Evan Jones Who are you, and what do you, I guess did you, do in Insect Warfare?

Beau Beasley My name is Beau and I did guitar/electronic noise blasts in IW.

EJ What was your musical journey?  When did you start playing guitar, how did you get into this music, early influences, etc.?

BB I started playing guitar around middle school and at that time was just interested in learning Slayer and Metallica riffs.  I kind of did that by myself til senior year in High School when I started playing with a death metal band called Coffin Grinder.  It sounded kind of like Symphonies era Carcass with some Death riffs thrown in.  After that I just played guitar and bass in a bunch of punk, power violence, noise, and grind bands.  There are too many early influences to list but as far as grind goes I remember being really in Napalm Death, Brutal Truth, and Carcass like most people in my age range.

EJ What is your day job.  How does it affect your music?

BB I run a giant machine called a Pitney Bowes DI2000 mail insertion system.  Basically I press start and then constantly fix it when it fucks up, which is all the fucking time.  It doesn't really relate to my music but there's been many times when I'm sitting with it running and thinking about how much it sounds like a power electronics record.

EJ So what do you say to critics of heavy music, and particularly of y'alls brand of heavy, which is on the even more extreme end of the scale?

BB Do you mean critiques as in negative?  If so then I think this kind of music is really a type of thing that you either get it or you don't.  There are still a lot of people who can't get past the 20 second song thing.  "That's not music".  Well, its not supposed to be.

EJ Grindcore is one of the many thousands of (I kid...kind of) sub-genres in metal.  However, as a visual artist I know that while there's a little merit to classifying things into genres, 99% of the time that's all it is.  A name.  And there's too much gray area for it to really mean much more than that.  Do you or IW as a band ever think about genres and what they mean? 

BB I really like to look at genre name like Witch House and think about how that really is just like the most extreme form of someone trying to create something new or kitschy as far as genre classification goes.  It applies to all forms of music.  I remember at some point in the late 90's someone telling me they listened to Fastcore and someone listening to Slowcore, but I mean, isn't that really just Thrash (punk variant) or Sludge?  People just try too fucking hard to be cutting edge.  That being said, I don't think there is any other word that describes grind core better than GRIND.

EJ Does it have any effect on your approach to Insect Warfare?  I guess I mean do you feel any obligation to the idea of grindcore in writing music for Insect Warfare?

BB Not really.  I just kind of listened to Napalm Death a bunch and what came out is what came out.

EJ So you guys wrote some pretty extreme music, or as your Spotify bio states, grind in its least accessible form.  To someone who might say, wtf why would anyone want to do that, I would ask you, what is the point?  What drives you guys to make this kind of music?

BB Hm, I guess as far taking music towards its least accessible form I would say that we tried that with the 2nd and final 12" "Noise Grind Power Death".  That was really just an attempt to write anti music (which was done before us by bands like world, Arsedestroyer, Anal Cunt, GBN, etc.)

EJ So I read an interview you did where you said one of the reasons to end IW was because you didn't want to regurgitate the music.  That's a very admirable and tough decision to make for an artist. Is there anywhere left for grindcore in general to go in your opinion?  I think about minimalist painting for example.  At a certain point, you've ended up with a blank canvas.  Where can you go from there?

BB I can't speak for anyone else but when trying to find ways to take IW in a direction that would keep us from repeating ourselves it just didn't sound right and didn't feel natural.  I'm sure someone will make that progression.  It needs to happen.  I've said it before and I will say it again, Discordance Axis were the last band to truly move the genre forward.  In my opinion, we kind of moved it backwards but it worked with what we were doing.  I know it sounds like I'm trying to sound hip but I just feel my statement about DA is accurate.

EJ Now there's also a lot of shock value in the cousin-genres of grind.  Themes of mutilation, gore in general, Satanism, ya know.  To me, it's easy to be shocking, but it's a lot harder to be honest.  I sense IW wasn't/isn't about shock-value.

BB No, we made a decision pretty early on not to include gore, misogynistic, and religious type themes into our music and instead just focus on the downfall of humanity.  I'd rather try and observe reality instead of just write some pointless shit. 

EJ Tangent, what's the most extreme band in your opinion?

BB GG Allin

EJ In another interview someone from IW described the music as primitive.  Maybe it's as simple as that?

BB Yeah there's really not much to what we did.  When I was writing riffs for IW it was really at a time when grind was kind of drifting away from the things that were laid down by Napalm Death, Terrorizer, etc.  I just kind of chose to try and take it back to its primitive beginnings.  This kind of relates to the previous question where I stated I felt that we pushed grind backwards instead of forwards (good or bad I'm not sure).

EJ So I've never been to a grindcore show and I'm not in the scene beyond the fact that I like the music, but as with punk music, there's also kind of a lifestyle or a worldview associated with grindcore.  Do you think you necessarily have to be "in the scene" to get everything out of the music there is to gain, or do you believe it can speak for itself, and listening can be enough?  

BB I don't really feel I'm part of a scene.  If you saw me on the street you probably wouldn't know I played in a grind band.  What drew me to grind (and underground extreme music in general) was the fact that it was anti-scene.  The irony is the more I got involved I realized it was even more of a sheep scene than most scenes that don't scream about being anti-conformity every song.

EJ What are you listening to these days?

BB To be honest, nothing.  This has probably been the only time in my life that I've never listened to music. I' m constantly working on music in my head and playing that but I don't feel the desire to put on a record or anything like that.  I think it might be too that I sit in a room 9 to 10 hours a day with a droning machine and when I'm not there I just want my ears to rest.  I did listen to trap music for a while though because I was becoming really fascinated with the production more so than the songs. Some of those 808 hits those guys are dropping are fucking speaker destroying.  That's what I'm into I guess.  Complete sonic destruction.  Trying to fit sounds in a song just doesn't interest me much right now.  Hearing them fucking ruin a speaker however …..

EJ You once likened being in a grindcore band to throwing money into a burning trashcan haha. Rarely does true art, the things that change people's lives and their way of looking at the world, pay.  Why do you think that is?  Why do the meaningful honest things we create tend to not reap a financial reward? 

BB Well, money should never be the point.  All great art is created because someone was more concerned with getting something out of their heads foremost and not worried about what financial gains will be achieved afterwards.  People can say all kinds of things about us for signing a license agreement with Earache but for one, we aren't making any money off that (trust me, all of us are slaving away at day jobs) and two, the things I wrote on World Extermination are probably the most sincere things I've ever worked on in my life.  The reason those songs sound like that were because that was a time of heavy depression, paranoia, betrayal, and isolation for me.  Thinking of where that record would go or if we would see a dime was so far away from my mindset that it's almost unfathomable to me someone would think that.  I was just trying to get all that frustration out and what I had at the time was IW.  Anyone who wants to shit on that and try to act like that's not true can if they want but its true to me at least.

EJ Is it maybe better that way?  Does it keep it pure? 

BB Well yeah, of course.

EJ Is grindcore dead?  That's a little tongue-in-cheek.

BB I actually think its more alive now than it was in its hay day.  The internet has done wonders for it.

EJ This has become a staple here at the Townhouse: what do you think of the state of music these days?

BB There are too many bands because everyone wants to start a band camp, release a shitty demo, break up, and use up all the good band names in the process.

EJ Do you pay any attention to the effect technology has had on music?

BB Yeah this is actually the one part of music I'm interested in these days.  Aside from recording technology I'm just amazed at some of things happening between computers and music.  I saw a guy a few years ago in Houston (can't remember his name) that basically just had a laptop on stage and had it jacked into the PA.  He was running coding scripts and using that to generate the music/noise that was coming out of the PA.  It was great.  That truly interested me.  It wasn't music but just sound moving in all these crazy, weird, weaving rhythms.  I hope more of that type of thing happens.

EJ And what's next for you? 

BB Death at some point.

EJ Anything youd like to share in closing?  Promotions, life advice, anything at all.

BB I don't really have any good advice on life but I always kind of found this quote from John Carpenter interesting: "To Make Michael Myers frightening I had to make him walk like a man, not a monster".  I think that pretty much sums up humanity to me.


Though they're now officially disbanded, Insect Warfare music and merch can be purchased from their Bandcamp.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

The Townhouse Interviews: Austin Cairns (R Beny), Part One

Austin Cairns is an ambient musician from the San Francisco Bay Area who works under the moniker r beny.  His work is a journey that explores the timeless and beautiful notions of human emotion and nature.  Mr. Cairns and I spoke fresh off the release of his new album, Cascade Symmetry. 

Evan Jones First off, let's get the formalities out of the way.  What's your name, and who are you?

Austin Cairns My name is Austin Cairns and I make ambient music with modular and hardware synthesizers under the name r beny.  I am based in the San Francisco Bay Area, where I was born and raised.

EJ And who or what is r beny, and how did you arrive at and settle on (for lack of a better term) ambient music? 

AC The name r beny came about almost by pure accident.  Essentially it is an homage to Canadian photographer Roloff Beny.  A few years back, I set up a YouTube channel to do a few quick tutorials on some the gear I was using at the time.  I needed a name and preferred to go under a pseudonym.  I had a few of Mr. Beny's books (of which I was immensely inspired by) and without being able to think of anything better, I came up with r beny on a whim.  I actually had intended to change the name, but the channel grew fairly quickly and the name just kind of stuck. 

My roots in ambient and like-minded music go back even further.  I grew up playing guitar and it didn't take long for me to discover reverb and delay pedals, while at the same time discovering artists like Brian Eno, Tim Hecker and Boards of Canada.  I found ambient, experimental and electronic instrumental music to be highly emotional and expressive in a way that words were not.  I try to make music that expresses emotions, ideas, and memories that I otherwise cannot convey.  Ambient music has been the perfect vessel for that.

EJ That's the second time I've heard about your YouTube channel.  I suppose I need to check it out.  I had not heard of that photographer though, and just looked him up. His photographs are beautiful, and I get the connection between your work and his. 

Is he part of the reason for the emphasis on photography of your album covers?  Both covers are beautiful.  

AC The original tutorial premise of my YouTube channel has long since been abandoned.  It's become mostly one-off live tracks, either featuring specific pieces of hardware or specific techniques relating to the hardware.

I can't say his photography work was explicitly the reason for the use of photographs for the album covers.  Photography has been another long-time hobby of mine, specifically 35mm film.  Beyond other music and emotion, my music is immensely inspired by the visual world and by nature.  The covers were a culmination of all of that, and that includes being inspired by his and others photographers work, but mostly trying to connect the visual inspiration to the music. 

EJ What do you think it is about ambient music specifically that so effectively conveys emotion?

AC When you remove lyrics, percussion and rhythm from music, I think the ear tends to pay more attention to melody, texture, and space.  I can't speak for everyone, but those are some of the things that help define emotion in music to me.  Hearing a certain texture will make me feel sad, or happy, or it will remind me of an old friend, etc.  I think it's a trait of primarily instrumental music, not just ambient music.  I remember reading something in a magazine once that likened it to painting with sound.  In that, I think it's hard to exactly quantify why it conveys emotion so well.  Part of that has to come from the listener being open to it as well. 

EJ I didn't know you practiced photography as well.  Are the photographs on your albums yours then? 

AC The album cover photographs are indeed mine.  I love the way film looks.  No matter what you shoot, it just adds a special quality.  I don't consider myself a good photographer, it's the film that's doing all the heavy lifting.

EJ I'm a painter by trade, and thinking about synthesizers in context to visual art makes complete sense to me.  Music in general is a lot like painting, but synthesizers with their blinking lights, the color-coded chords shooting out everywhere, the physical and heavy presence of a synth setup, are much like visual art.  And yet at the same time, they are also pieces of technology.  Sound robots.  So in one way it's kind of the antithesis of what we generally think of as visual art and yet as you said, they convey emotion so effectively.  Is that contrast, between the organic nature of sound and the inorganic nature of the tools you're using, something you pay attention to or try and utilize in your work?

AC The contrast of organic sound and inorganic instruments is something I think about all the time. Electronic instruments can be very rigid or cold, too robotic.  I try to add a bit of a human element to things, off kilter patterns, flaws, lots of movement.  It can be hard when working with sequencers to make things sound organic.  On my new album, I ended up playing most of the parts by hand, rather than sequencing.  The different parts shift in and out of time with each other.  Every part separately is very loose, but it all comes together when you hear the whole piece.  I found that process very inspiring and hope to explore that a bit more in the future.

EJ You use film in your photographs and for me, film immediately conjures ideas of a different time, even maybe a time we haven't experienced but can feel part of because of the quality of the image.  In short, film is nostalgic.  Synthesizers are antiquated sort of in that same way, and I get a really strong sense of nostalgia especially from Cascade.  Are you thinking about nostalgia at all when you're making your work?  Do you think that's something that just comes with the territory of the tools you're using? 

AC I think about nostalgia quite a bit, both when making music and in general.  I have an interesting relationship with it. I think there's a fine line between nostalgia being powerful and moving, and nostalgia being forced and uninspired.  I love the type of nostalgic quality that film brings out of photography and that tape brings out of music. There's definitely a deliberate attempt at nostalgia in my music, I like to think it comes from places of truth - trying to evoke past events, time periods, relationships. Synthesizers and tape recorders certainly go a long way in being able to evoke those feelings.  But it's a carefully thought out process - like shooting on film compared to just slapping a washed out filter on a photo.

EJ I would assume also that you're trying to put it into the actual writing of your music as well?  And is the theme of nature in your work part of that?  I get the sense that nature is nostalgic for you, where it's not exactly about nature itself, but about us existing in nature, if that makes any sense?

AC I'm definitely aiming for a sense of nostalgia in the writing of the music.  The tools just happen to lend itself to those senses very nicely.

There is a part of it where nature and nostalgia intertwine.  A lot of it is personal experiences and nostalgia, but there is a part of it that's about us existing in nature...or not existing in nature whether it's in the distant past or not-so-distant future.

EJ So that sort of makes me think of sci-fi themes.  Maybe because I just saw Blade Runner. Are you playing with ideas of time in that way too?  Putting us in different places in both time and space?

AC I'd say the idea of time and space don't enter the conversation too frequently.  Perhaps it's bleak, but I often think of the end of humanity; nature winning out, or at least humanity wiping itself out. What would that be like?  But it's not something I'm thinking about too much when making music.

EJ I knew there was a reason I wanted to talk to you! Haha I often think of the end of humanity as well.  I think your music made me think of this, because when jotting down my notes for this talk, a question that popped into my head is where do you think the human race is headed?  Sometimes I wonder if we're already at the end and we just don't know it yet. Are you hopeful for us or do you think we've kind of reached the end of the line?

AC Hah, hopefully I don't come across as too cynical.  I like to think I'm a realist.  Right now, I think humanity is on the fast track to...I won't say the end of the line, but a rather bleak future.  Nuclear weapons and the people in charge of them are undeniably terrifying.  Our climate is rapidly changing for the worse and we are not doing enough to prevent it or prepare for it.  Technology is growing and will continue to grow at a blindingly fast pace - this has major implications for the world's economies and things like health.  Everything is rapidly changing.  Would we even be having this conversation 100 years ago? 

I think all you can do is hold out the best hope you can muster. 

EJ To me, all the things you just listed are certainly a danger, but the glaring reality that we're just starting to deal with, and that you pointed out, is the unstoppable advance of technology. 100 years ago the world was nearing the end of the first globally devastating war, which probably looked and felt like the end of it all, but we weren't exactly dealing with replacing ourselves through our own creation.  That idea is something I'm not really sure we've had to deal with before? 

I think it's interesting to consider something like your music in that context because your music wouldn't have been possible 100 years ago, and we wouldn't be able to "talk" across the continental United States with near immediacy, you know?

AC A lot of the technology being developed right now is scary because not a lot of people are questioning it.  The ethical side of it.  We haven't dealt with anything like it before and it's almost impossible to because of how fast it changes/develops. 

Being able to share my music and meet and talk to all sorts of amazing people - none of that would have been possible without this technology.  I sometimes don't know how to react to it because I'm extremely grateful to be able make those connections with people.

To Be Continued...


R Beny's music can be purchased here:, and you can see more of Austin's beautiful photographs and synth sketches on his Instagram, here.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Some Lyrics

A whole new world of "would"

When the bad outstrips the good

It's the reap/sow interface
That'll help you win the race
It'll help you build a rocket
Help you build a ship
There's a good chance you can help
There's a price on this return
But there's absolutely no rush
Absolutely no rush
And no time, no time, no time, no time

As the spider takes the fly

As the gray does take the dye
As the drink does numb the pain
As the songs all sound the same
With diminishing returns
And the hackneyed twist-and-turns
As the egg runs down your face
We'll still bang on the bin lids
Cause dad forgot the kids
And they throw us to the pigs
And it's hard lines, hard lines, hard lines, hard lines

It's my tail and I'll chase it if I want to

Song: "It's My Tail and I'll Chase It If I Want To" from the album Self Preserved While the Bodies Float Up, by Oceansize

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Best Buddies. Stevenson

Image result for stevenson best buddies

Some "downer-pop" (cool term, not mine) from Montreal-based, Stevenson.  

Friday, September 16, 2016

The Townhouse Asks P. Seth Thompson: What is Art?

You Have Arrived (Wes’s Last Dream), 2015.  20 x 24 in.  Archival pigment print mounted to Dibond.  Edition of 5. 
Signed by artist on label, verso

"Art is a manifestation of the human condition.  I normally don’t like art that focuses on social or political issues; even though some people say my work is political. I think art needs to be more than an artificial construct that our society has deemed important.  That said, I respect artists who go down that path but it seems derivative and it really doesn’t change anything in the end.  Art, for me, needs to question the very nature of who we all are in the greater universe.  I hesitate when writing this because I feel the reader will think I am a crystal carrying, whole foods shopping new age guru. Maybe I am? I don’t know.  

But that’s the best part for me. We will never know anything so we create to find out something, but we will never get a definitive answer.  People always want an answer and they expect the artist to give it to them, but that’s not my job.  My job is to present them with a question and they can go find the answer.  I think that is why people usually are magnetized to socially aware art because it’s easily digestible.  When you present work that makes the audience consider that they are nothing but a construct that has been manufactured, altered, and manipulated to consume then they back away slowly and retreat into art that makes them know something they already know.
So, in the end art needs to kick people in the ass and make them realize that our world is nothing more than an illusion.  The only truth is our perception of it."


P. Seth Thompson is a digital/multi-media artist based in Atlanta, Georgia. From 2011-2013, He worked as curatorial assistant in the department of modern and contemporary art at the High Museum of Art and is represented by Sandler Hudson Gallery.  Currently, Thompson is working on a new body of work titled Insufficient Data for an Image, which will debut next March at Sandler Hudson Gallery, and is curating a group exhibition for the Zuckerman Museum of Art titled Racecar, which will be on view summer 2017.  His work can be viewed online at Sandler Hudson's website and at his own website, here

Thursday, September 15, 2016

One Fine Selection No. 47

This week's fine selection is "The Well" by Ovlov. 

how'd you know you roam my wheel to ride beside my own 2 tries? 
then you sew my arm back when it's wrong to let it grow too far



Thursday, August 25, 2016

One Fine Selection No. 46

This week's fine selection is from Owls' first cousins, Joan of Arc called, "The Hands".  Enjoy.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Townhouse Asks Mary F. Coats: What is Art?

"Art is a mantra, as well as a form of numina: an ancient term for 'divinity' or 'divine presence.' Numen (singular of numina) is also sometimes used to describe the idea of power residing in an object, just as a grouping of words repeated as a mantra is believed to hold power. Art is a mantra and numen in the way that it helps me make sense of my surroundings and purpose."


Mary F. Coats is a painter and visual arts educator.  She was recently featured on Booooooom, and more of her work can be viewed on her website.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Balls Be Trippin'. Golden Python

After my interview with David from Gulfer the other day, I checked out Golden Python. Their EP Balls Be Trippin' is very rad.  Give it a listen.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

The Townhouse Interviews: Gulfer

I was lucky enough to stumble upon Gulfer recently.  They're a Montreal-based band that is keeping math/emo rock fresh.  The most important thing about Gulfer is that they're honest. From the outside in, Gulfer seems to embrace mid-late 00's math and emo heartily, and because of that they're nostalgic.  Maybe nostalgic isn't the right word.  More like a revival.  Gulfer hasn't taken the formula of the genres that influenced them and decided to be another anonymous math rock band that's complicated just to be complicated.  I think Gulfer is rather carrying the torch of great bands before them, and crafting a new sound for the genre, and keeping it relevant.  We'll have to wait for the release of their new LP to find out where they're taking us. Anyway, enough from me.  David from Gulfer stopped by the Townhouse to give his two cents on the matter. Enjoy! 

Evan Jones Hello there Gulfer. Who am I speaking with for this interview?

David My name is David! I play bass and sing occasionally. Vincent plays guitar, and sings, and writes the songs. Joey and Julien are the newest members of the band and play guitar and drums respectively. 

EJ What have you guys have been listening to lately?

D Collectively we've been stoked on new releases from Hovvdy, Jank, Tiny Moving Parts, Horse Jumper of Love and Frameworks. Personally I've been listening to Fraternal Twin, ASC, Kiyoko, Sales, Weatherbox, Viva Belgrado, Deer Leap...I could go on forever. 

EJ Anybody you recommend I put on the ol' radar?

All the bands we're touring with! Alaska are a super talented, young prog-emo band from Las Vegas that are really mind-blowing. I Love Your Lifestyle from Sweden are reinventing that riffy emo-punk sound and are the nicest coolest people. Vasudeva, Pipedream, Bayone...all those bands. 

EJ Awesome. Musical heroes of yours?

It's hard to speak for the band but personally I would say Sigur Ros, The Smiths, Coheed and Cambria, Burial, The Mercury Program, Aphex Twin, Colossal, Do Make Say Think...but I'm probably the only person in the band who cares about any of those groups! 

EJ That's a great list, though. Speaking of the band. How long have you guys been Gulfer?

We formed at the end of 2011. We've had a few lineup changes since then, growing to a four piece in 2013, and then switching out two members this year. So Vincent and I are the only original members. 

EJ You're members of some other bands as well, right?

Yup! Vincent and Julien have another math-rock band called Golden Python, Vincent has a slacker-punk band called Stevenson that I just started playing bass in. Julien has a crazy math-metal band called Bisbaye. I have an electronic project called Bas Relief, I play in my friend Andy's band Commander Clark Group, and my old band Names is starting to write again. Joey used to play in Quaaludes. 

EJ Wow. Ya'll are busy.  Did somebody misspell golfer one time and thought it was a good band name?

Pretty much. We were really frustrated and couldn’t come up with a band name so we started joking around and I threw out the word Golfing, which became Golfer, which became Gulfer. We were looking for a short, memorable, unique name and it stuck. 

EJ Who helped shape Gulfer's sound?

I attribute it to a combination of UK groups like Colour, TTNG, and Tubelord, Sargent House stuff like Tera Melos and Maps and Atlases, and USA riff-emo like Algernon Cadwallader. Basically everything that was popular in 2012. 

EJ TTNG'S new record is pretty rad isn't it? I've read you guys like them. That's who led me to Gulfer.

It’s awesome! I can’t wait to see them in a giant festival setting on their home turf, that will be such a fulfilling experience after having been obsessed with them for a decade now. 

EJ So what's the weather like in Montreal?  There's a reason I ask. We'll get to that later.

It is raining pretty torrentially as I write this but generally the summer has been pretty good. Of course it gets super heavy and gloomy and cold in the winter.

EJ Hmm. Anyway, how do you guys feel about the term math rock? Is there a collective hatred for the definition as I find other bands have? Seems to be a touchy subject.

We are pretty cool about it. I guess we don’t fit in 100% to the math-rock paradigm because we have some pretty poppy parts and we sing a lot. So it’s only one aspect of our sound, but one we definitely identify with. It’s the only genre of music I haven’t gotten sick of and find consistently interesting. I totally understand why people don’t like the term, or genre names in general, but I think it acts as an important frame of reference and perhaps as a vehicle for people to discover lesser known bands. 

EJ I haven't really heard anybody express that view on it yet. I like it. A YouTube commenter on one of your videos said they wish you guys could be their math teachers you're so good at math. Are you guys good at math?

I am awful at math, dunno about Vince or Julien but Joey is a neuroscientist so he can probably solve a bunch of math problems on our behalf. 

EJ Haha I would imagine he could.  And what about the 'emo' classification? I've never really liked the term myself...I don't think it conjures up the correct associations with a lot of bands' music. I'm not sure I even understand it. What is emo music to Gulfer?

I guess when the band started we  got really into the emo-revival scene. Bands like Prawn, Brave Bird and You Blew It! were and still are huge influences, and bands like American Football, Empire! Empire!, Colossal and Castevet have been really important to me for many years. We wanted to take that sound and fuze it with the math-rock sound that we’d loved since we were teenagers. It was also our attempt to fit into a community that we didn’t have much of a reputation or connection to. 

EJ Is it an accurate definition of your sound?

I think it is, but at the same time I kind of regret classifying ourselves that way. Ideally we should have let the music speak for itself, and not be so fixated on genres and scenes. But it seemed like a good idea at the time. 

EJ Does it even matter?

I think it does, but that is probably because I think about this stuff way too much haha. But at the end of the day I think our preferred designation would be math-pop. 

EJ Somebody's gotta do the thinking! Anyway, back to the weather. I see your music as really bright and optimistic, in the way of TTNG or Enemies. Like those bands, Gulfer doesn't seem to match what I picture the weather to be like in Montreal. Is that true?

I mean it is super gorgeous in the summer here! So maybe not. It depends on the time of year I guess! It also comes through in our lyrics, like Freal for Real is basically all about how horrible the winters are here. 

EJ That leads me to this question: what is truth? Jk. Or answer if you'd like…

Cigarettes are simultaneously dangerous and healthy. 

EJ Woah.

So you mentioned Maps & Atlases in another interview. How do y'all feel about the change in their sound over the years? I think it actually says a lot about the state of music (maybe it will always be this way and always has) where to 'break' a band has to compromise some of the sound that made them great in the first place. I always find it odd when bands do that. Would Gulfer ever change its sound to ‘break'?

I don’t really like the more recent Maps & Atlases releases but I’m happy you brought this up because I haven’t listened to them in a while and I’m gonna check them out again! I think our tastes and all change and develop and we shouldn’t limit ourselves to any particular sound for any reason. I think lately we’ve been influenced by a lot more straightforward songwriting and I think we’ve begun incorporating that into our sound. But it’s not calculated by any means, just a reflection of what we’ve been influenced by lately! 

EJ Are you guys hopeful for music? People have strong feelings about the internet and music. I for one might've never found out about you guys had it not been for the internet, and I've been in contact with some of my favorite bands thanks to the internet.

I am so hopeful for music. It is a wonderful time to be involved with music, almost exclusively because of the internet. I don’t think there has been a better time for small-scale, DIY, niche music to flourish. 

EJ In the interview I mentioned above, you also talk about the importance of an honest sound in your music. That's actually what led me to contact you guys. Honesty was the first word that came to mind listening to you. What are some of the things you're trying to get across in your music? Thematically, emotionally, sonically?

Well we are just writing and playing the music we wanna play. So I think the most important element of our music is showcasing what we hope is a sound completely unique to our band. Other than that, we are just trying to have fun, be positive and be funny in our own way. And of course we want to impress people with our shredding. 

EJ Shredding is most important.  What would you guys be doing if you weren't playing music?

I would still be involved with music in some capacity, working as a promoter or booking agent. Julien works at a bike shop so maybe he would be doing that more full time. Joey is a scientist of course so he basically does that full time already. And Vincent would be a daddy professionally. Stay at home daddy. 

EJ And you just got signed, correct?  Working on new material?

We did and it is the greatest thing that ever happened to us. Seriously. BSM saved us from breaking up. So ya! We are working on a full length for them. We have 5 songs written. Hope to write the rest after tour and record it this winter.

EJ Any hints as to where your sound might be headed?

Simpler, more simple-punk parts, and more of an indie rock influence. I think there are parts that sound really disjointed, kinda like that band Palm, but also super pop-punk at the same time. 

EJ Awesome.  Anything else you care to say that I've missed?

More touring bands should come to Montreal, it is beautiful here! 

EJ Great weather I hear haha! Anything to promote in closing?

We are touring Europe Aug 15 - Sept 8! Our first LP What Gives is being pressed on vinyl and should be available soon. Check out our other bands - Golden Python, Stevenson, Bas Relief and Bisbaye! 

EJ Well I've got some heavy listening to do! I really appreciate you stopping by the Townhouse.

Thanks for having us! 

You can find Gulfer on their bandcamp, and be on the lookout for the release of their debut LP with Big Scary Monsters. 

Evan Jones is a painter, drummer, and avid music lover.