Gimme Your Answers 2: An Interview w/ Gaz Coombes

Gaz Coombes
Gaz Coombes
, alternative-rock icon and ex-frontman of legendary group Supergrass, recently hopped on the phone to catch up with AMBY! Enjoy our exclusive interview as we discuss evolving, Alice in Wonderland, whimsical songs, solo performances, and he takes us inside of his home studio.

AMBY: Hi Gaz!

Gaz Coombes: Hello! How are you doing?

AMBY: I’m well, thanks. How are you doing?

Gaz Coombes: I’m good, thank you. Yea, not too bad.

AMBY: On behalf of my site, thank you so much for catching up with AMBY today. I’m really happy that we could do this.

Gaz Coombes: No worries. I know about you guys, actually. I see all of your stuff on Twitter and elsewhere. That’s really cool.

AMBY: That’s awesome! Thank you. Well, I’m going to dive right into the main question fans want answered – your latest record Matador was released a year back. What’s next on the recording front for you? Are there any plans for a new single or release?

Gaz Coombes: Yea. I’m in the studio at the moment, basically working on new ideas. It’s a continuation, really. I had a year of touring and it’s been an incredible year of playing Matador live. It’s getting back in the studio and running with new, instinctive ideas. It’s been great – it’s been a mad couple of weeks, actually, getting back in there and working with sounds and seeing what hits or which sounds come out naturally! I always love this part of making a record.

AMBY: This March you’re embarking on a tour of North America. I’ve waited years to see you in Toronto and am so excited for the show.

Gaz Coombes: Oh me too!

AMBY: Tell me a bit about these upcoming solo gigs.

Gaz Coombes: It was a really busy year of touring with the band and doing big shows and festivals. I think it was some of the best touring I’ve done in a long time. When it got to the end of the year, I had a couple of radio sessions that I did on my own, and a couple of the versions of the songs which came from that kind of sparked an idea… I always loved the fact that musicians I admire could go and present themselves in any way, whether on their own or full band. I was really interested in trying that out – what happens if I take my piano and go on the road for a bit. I kind of went on tour by accident.

AMBY and Gaz Coombes: [laughs]

Gaz Coombes: It suddenly turned into this two week tour. I love to tour. Basically, I’ve been desperate to get to American and Canada for months, and I think this felt like a really great way to get there. It’s so fucking expensive, to get the whole band together, it’s unbelievable [laughs]. The response here has been brilliant and beyond what I expected. So, hopefully he says with a smidgen of confidence, everyone will love it.

AMBY and Gaz Coombes: [laughs]

AMBY: I think, and correct me if I’m wrong, but the last time Supergrass came through Toronto was 2006. When was the last time you were in town?

Gaz Coombes: It would have to be the same time, I think! I’m not sure if I came back since. It’s kind of crazy.

AMBY: It’s been about ten years since you’ve been in Canada, that’s crazy.

Gaz Coombes: I’ve really missed it and am desperate to get back.

AMBY: I noticed how you recently quoted Alice in Wonderland the other day with “Who are you?” asked the caterpillar. “I hardly know, sir. I know who I was, but I think I must have changed.” What is the significance of this quote for you?

Gaz Coombes: [laughs] If I have to explain it, it’s no fun!

AMBY and Gaz Coombes: [laughs]

Gaz Coombes: It spoke to me. I feel like it’s on a beautiful edge and things can go so many ways. Musically things are so exciting. I’m changing and I’m evolving. I think it’s quite cool to recognize when things are changing for a good reason.

AMBY: Books like Alice in Wonderland are very enchanting and whimsical, as are many songs on Matador. Was the novel in any way an inspiration to the record?

Gaz Coombes: Totally. I liked playing with these weird, other-worldly bell songs, these twinkly sounds. The music in Alice in Wonderland doesn’t mean anything to me, but the surreal vibe is something that comes as an inspiration.

AMBY: You mentioned how you evolved or are evolving right now. If current-day Gaz Coombes could tell Gaz Coombes from, let’s say, ten years ago anything or any advice what would you tell him?

Gaz Coombes: I think it’s been an amazing fifteen or twenty years. I had Supergrass from being seventeen years old. I wouldn’t really change much. I think, if anything, I’d tell myself to be more confident. I was really reserved and shy back then, but I think that’s what added to the ingredients. I have no regrets, you know?

AMBY: Absolutely. We know you for the music and performances, so outside of those things, what do you enjoy doing on your downtime?

Gaz Coombes: I like to watch movies and I have two kids who keep my very busy. I have my studio as well, which makes me kind of sad to say, but I tinker away here in my spare time. It calms me.

AMBY: Going back to Matador, the Mercury-nominated album initially began to take shape in your home studio. Is that where you’re recording this new material now?

Gaz Coombes: Yes. I’m in the early stages though, so recording and writing and getting a quick idea down and then recording it straight away. I’m working through in that way. I’m in my studio at home and I don’t know what’s going to happen.

AMBY: Take us into your studio for a moment – what does it look like? What’s in the room?

Gaz Coombes: I just walked down the stairs from the basement to the cellar and I’m down here in the control room with my recording console in front of me. There are lots of little amplifiers – I’m into these little seventies amps which are really funky. They’re so cool. I’m walking into the hallway where I’ve got my piano and some bigger amps here in the hallway. I’m now in the drum room, the live room area, where I’ve got a kit set up and more amplifiers [laughs]. And there’s a mirror, for checking out my grooves when I’m recording.

AMBY and Gaz Coombes: [laughs]

Gaz Coombes: That’s about it. I’ve never done that before!

AMBY: Really? That’s neat – an AMBY first.

Gaz Coombes: Yea [laughs].

AMBY: Well to wrap things up, is there anything you’d like to say to your fans who will be reading our interview?

Gaz Coombes: Thanks for speaking with me. It’s great that I’ve got to much support on Matador. I’m really looking forward to bringing it to the States so I can play it live. Live is where it’s really connected this year. I can’t wait to see you all.

AMBY: Thanks so much for the great interview, Gaz.

Gaz Coombes: Thank you.

***

Thank you Gaz Coombes, for giving us your answers!

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Interview by Alicia Atout | @AliciaAtout

One thought on “Gimme Your Answers 2: An Interview w/ Gaz Coombes

  1. I had never heard of Gaz Coombes until stumbling upon this article! I really liked the way you set up the interview. Easy read and I think you just helped gain him a new fan! ;) Keep up the great work!

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