Formed in 1993, Canadian punk band Gob have released five studio albums. Continuing on the path of creating kick-ass records, the four-piece release their sixth studio album Apt. 13 today (via New Damage Records). We’ve been fans of this group since the very beginning, so it was a treat calling frontman Tom Thacker before the album’s release to discuss record labels, creating a fun album, pushing the envelope, the influence of The Ramones’ “fuck you” spirit, and creating music with his best friends. Enjoy!
AMBY: Hey Tom, welcome to A Music Blog, Yea? and thanks for speaking with me. I’m really happy we could make this interview happen.
Gob: For sure, that’s awesome.
AMBY: It’s been seven years since the release of your latest album Muertos Vivos. Now the band is back and are finally about to release a sixth album titled Apt. 13. What was the moment you all knew it was time to get back together and release some new music?
Gob: In a way, we were always “together”. We started the record in 2010 and I was pretty busy touring with Sum 41 at the time. There happened to be a window there and we got together and started the record. One thing led to another, distraction wise, and it took a long time to get it going and finished. It wasn’t just making the record, but finding the right people to work with. I felt like it would be good to have a third party so we looked around and settled with New Damage Records.
AMBY: What led you to wanting a partnership with them, specifically? They’re a newer label who we’ve worked with before. We think they’re great.
Gob: I looked around and saw which labels were out there. We’ve been on every type of label to tiny indies to majors and knew we wanted to be somewhere in between. It actually came through a friend of ours who suggested them, so I contacted the label and found out that they partner with Dine Alone – which was a label I was looking at, too – and New Damage totally got where we were coming from and fit perfectly.
AMBY: I’ve been following your album updates and love what I’m hearing so far. There’s less of a pop influence as I read the album “puts focus on a fuller, more layered rock sound”. What inspired you to take the album in this new direction?
Gob: It’s hard to say, really. I think that our last record was pretty heavy and dark; it was almost a metal record in a sense. It wasn’t necessarily written that way, but we ended up… I don’t know, maybe we were angry at the time?
AMBY and Gob: [laughs]
Gob: Maybe that led us to making a super heavy record. We love it and don’t want to take anything away from it, but we tend to make albums that have a reaction to the previous record. It seemed like we should make a more fun record since our live shows are more fun. It seemed like we should do something that was a little less dreary. I think the songs were written pretty fast; I had a bunch of songs that were really different and I wasn’t sure if we had a record at the time; all the songs were so different than each other. I brought them to the guys and asked, “what do you think?” and we picked through them all to create the record.
AMBY: In another interview, you once said, “it’s embarrassing when you sound like all of the other bands” and that you really try to create a unique sound for Gob. When it comes to songwriting, do you try to tune everything else out while writing? How do you try to separate yourself from other punk-rock bands out there?
Gob: I don’t really tune it out since I’ll still watch other bands and we’ve toured with almost every band in our genre. I’m not really embarrassed for them, but I feel like I’d be embarrassed if my music sounded like everything else. Obviously, I’m not judgmental of a lot of bands out there because they sound similar… About ten or twelve years ago, the music industry was super saturated with pop/punk-rock bands and a lot of them sounded very similar. We definitely try to make an effort to sound different from the other bands. The music industry is now saturated with indie-folk, so I think there are probably a few indie-folk bands out there who are thinking “maybe we should put down the banjo and think of something else.”
AMBY: [laughs] I absolutely get that.
Gob: We’ve always been into pushing the envelope. When it comes down to it, we’re a punk-rock band. It’s going to be guitars and drums. There’s piano on this new record because I started playing piano a lot. Some of the songs were written on piano! They become a rock song but they start off on piano. I feel like you can’t really limit genres of music…
AMBY: With the passing of Tommy Ramone, there’s been a lot of people talking about punk music and bringing it to the forefront. Who would you define as the ultimate punk band and how did they influence you?
Gob: That’s a tough one. It’s a lot easier to say when you’ve been in a band for five years or something because you have fewer influences… The Ramones are definitely one of the bands who made us do what we do; they had great songs and a real “fuck you” spirit. That’s basically where we came from. I love The Clash, The Stranglers, Misfits… The Ramones are definitely one where you can hear something on all of our records that pays an homage to The Ramones.
AMBY: You’ve been playing tons of festivals in support of the album. Was it difficult for the band to get back into the swing of things when it came to playing live?
Gob: Yea, we had to get back into the swing of things. It’s awesome to see people still coming to the shows. Also, it’s great seeing the new fans who are younger.
AMBY: I saw that! There was this little boy with a mohawk on stage with you all. It was wicked.
Gob: [laughs] That kid was awesome. He kind of looks like the baby version of me. He came up on stage and after playing a guitar solo he looked at the mic and looked at me and we thought, “okay, we’ll let him sing”.
AMBY: That’s great [laughs]. When we spoke before you took the stage at Lachie Music Festival, you told me how you’re going to be a little loose. It was impressive how ridiculously tight you sounded and the performance really brought back memories of the countless hours I’ve listened to your music.
Gob: Really? Awesome. Thank you so much.
AMBY: It’s my pleasure. With the new album soon released and all of the history the band has together, what would you say is best part about being in Gob?
Gob: Playing music is the greatest job you can have. I feel blessed to be able to do this. I think that hanging out with your boys is a great part. We’re all pretty tight – that doesn’t mean that we always get along – but it’s awesome to be doing this together with three of my best friends.
Thank you Gob, for giving us your answers!
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Interview by Alicia Atout | @AliciaAtout