After the recent premiere of SPIRITS’ killer full length album, it might be a good time to shed some more light on what another powerful anthemic hardcore punk band has been up to with their amazing project. GUT FEELING have been around for a couple of years, but there is probably a good chance that you haven’t had the opportunity to entertain your brain with their faithful and true offerings. Their recent 7” EP released in April 2014 is a perfect showcase of their powerful sound and a totally worthy blast of genuine hardcore, reminiscent of when angrier punk was just beginning to gain ill repute. Launch the record to see for yourself and read my interview with the band below.
Hey Jimmy! Thanks a lot for taking some time with IDIOTEQ! What’s up? How are you? Please shoot us a brief introduction of the band and its members.
Hey, Karol! Thanks for the opportunity to do this interview with you! I’m doing good, keeping busy, can’t complain. Brief introduction… Let’s see, we started GUT FEELING in 2011, mainly as friends who’d been in a few bands together in the past and missed playing together and having an excuse to get together and hang out. It was our drummer Dan who reached out to Jonathan, Gannon, and I about starting a band. I’d always thought that I didn’t have it in me to start another band from scratch, but we decided to give it a go and immediately really liked how it was going. I’d been trying to convince Chuck to sing with us for a while, but I think it took him hearing the songs recorded before he was sold on the idea, ha. Jonathan ended up with a job opportunity in Hawaii shortly after we released our first record, so another old friend, Nick, stepped in on bass and that’s been the line up since.
Cool, thanks! I’m really into the high energy of your newest EP offering. This record, alongside the debut LP from SPIRITS, should be handed over to people on the streets whenever there is a rapid pressure drop. This joint is a killer! How do you feel about this release? Do you have any interesting stories about anything that has happened during the writing and recording process?
Oh wow, I’m a huge fan of the SPIRITS album (and everything else they’ve done including TEST OF TIME) so I appreciate the kind words! Really great band.
We’re really happy with how the new record turned out, from top to bottom. We always try to do something special with the artwork/packaging, and I really love how it came together. Gannon’s usually the idea guy, and Chuck is a designer so he makes it a reality with the help of some generous friends (Thomas Sara, who drew the artwork, and Death By Ink, who printed it.) We recorded with our good friend Kris at Legitimate Business again, who is amazing, and Brad at Audiosiege handled the mastering once again. Overall I’d like to think it’s step forward from the first record.
I don’t know that anything particularly interesting happened in the process, other than the fact that we were able to get it done at all! We’re all a little older and live spread out all over North Carolina, so it can be damn near impossible just to get everyone together for a practice. Dan tends to nail everything in one take, which helps, ha.
Cool! What’s the story of you teaming up with 4 different labels to put it out? Can you introduce them to the readers who might not have familiarized themselves with GUT FEELING?
When we recorded our first EP we didn’t have any real plans beyond putting it online for free and seeing how it went, but shortly afterwards our good friends John and Caroline approached us about releasing it on vinyl on Headfirst. They had recently done a split release with Grant and Bitter Melody (the amazing Discourse 7″) and both labels were looking to do another. It seems like a great arrangement for smaller labels and bands since there’s less investment for the individual labels, and allows them to be able to release records that maybe they couldn’t take the risk on otherwise? GUT FEELING’s not really in a position to be able to do a ton of touring, and we’d like to keep our records free/pay what you want online, neither of which contributes to records flying off the shelves, ha.
Grant had worked with Dario and Goodwill on a couple of projects, including a 7″ for our friends in Just Die! and we’re interested in doing a split with us and Just Die! Sadly they broke up, but Dario was still into in working on the European side of our next record. I met him while I was in Europe with CATHARSIS and got the chance to hang out and talk with him, and he’s been on board and supportive, so he’s handling the European pressing. Dario is friends with Héctor from SP Discos and he was kind enough to be into handling the South American side of things so he and Goodwill went in together on the record. Due to the nature of the screenprinted covers and special stuff in the packaging Chuck made a whole new layout, which turned out pretty great.
Are you taking it on the road in the coming months? Any plans to hit Europe?
We’ve got a steady lineup of shows over the summer, some long weekends, but it’s tough for us to do a longer tour right now with everyone’s work and family schedules, not that we wouldn’t love to. No concrete plans for Europe, but hopefully soon!
Ok guys, so how do you find the current state of the fast paced hardcore punk like the one you decided to praise with your own offerings? Are there a lot of bands in the vein of CHAMPION, etc. in your local scene?
I think there are a lot of great bands and records in that style coming out right now. Aside from the aforementioned SPIRITS, I’ve been a huge fan of the newest records from PRAISE, TRUE LOVE, PROTESTER, AMBITIONS… I’m really looking forward to hearing new stuff from ANGEL DUST, MINDSET, TRUE IDENTITY. I’m sure I’m forgetting a ton…
While there is no shortage of absolutely killer bands in our area, I wouldn’t necessarily say there’s much in the vein of CHAMPION, etc. Our friends in FUTURE PRIMITIVE are doing a cool fast melodic thing. There are some really good fast punk bands like NO TOMORROW, SKEMATA, BLACKBALL; and we’ve got a lot of great heavier stuff like SOCIETY SUCKER, DOWN IN IT, YOUNG AND IN THE WAY. Again, I’m sure I’m forgetting a lot of friends and bands (sorry!) Plenty of great punk and hardcore locally for sure.
Have you noticed any major differences between touring different parts of the States? Can you paint us a picture of American punk and alternative music scenes in different areas you’ve managed to discover?
This relates a bit to #3 below. I’d say when we were all younger and first started touring there was probably a bit more diversity, both in north America and Europe, but with the advent of the Internet age and YouTube I think things have become a bit more homogenous across the board? Growing up pre-Internet maybe forced you to forge your own thing. Even when you were trying your best to copy your faves you could only glean so much from photos and thanks lists in records, from whatever zines you could get your hands on. The Internet has made it a lot easier to get a blueprint of what’s going on at any given time or place, for better or worse. There are definitely still differences from one town to the next, between the east coast and west, north and south etc. whether from an individual place’s tradition and culture of hardcore/punk, or just from whatever the ruling band or kids in that town like, which is just how it goes.
The US is pretty large, so it might be tough to paint a picture of all the cities and towns out there, ha. Some places are so large that they defy classification and have a wide range of thriving punk and hardcore scenes, while small towns will often have a more diverse group of kids who show up and support whatever is in town. Some cities have such strong and tight knit historical punk and hardcore scenes that they have a culture all their own. Things are generally pretty good, in different ways, all over.
How do you feel about the current digital era and its relation to the old school punk roots and DIY ethics? How do you see the electronic/digital times impacting the foundations of hardcore punk and the whole movement?
While it’s not without its failings, I’d say so far the digital era seems to be pretty great for redefining the means of production and distribution. It’s still kind of early to say how things will shake out and where the tech will eventually grow and take us, but right now, it’s amazing that you can make a pretty legit sounding record on your computer at home, layout the cover art, and release it to the world, all on your own. Maybe more importantly, if it’s a good record, (theoretically) people will listen to it.
It used to be that maybe you’d order a record, on the promise that it was coming out, from a band that maybe you’d never heard but liked their name or logo or the fact that your favorite bands all mentioned them in their thank yous, or simply because that’s what the popular label of the moment was pushing. Weeks or months later the record would show up, and maybe it’s not so good, but that’s the record you’ve got, and maybe after enough listens it’ll grow on you?
So now there is a lot more music out there, and more every day. And with the exception of the big labels and the few bands on those labels, in theory, the playing field’s a little more level for everyone. There is probably a discussion to be had about how all of this is affecting how much we value a band/artist’s work. When I got a record as a kid it was something special, something I pored over and stared at and scrutinized. And if it was good? I’d listen to that record so many times and for so long that I knew every note and word by heart. When I went to the YOUTH OF TODAY reunion a few years ago in DC I found I still knew every last word. Now, and I say this as someone who I imagine isn’t consuming nearly as much new music as younger kids, I check out so many demos and eps and albums online that when someone asks me if I’ve heard the new record by whoever, it’s tough to remember. Some of that’s surely my fault, for not being as invested at 41 as I was at 18, but, and this is the argument, right? maybe a record has to be damn good now to stand out. And maybe that’s fair and where we should be heading, and maybe it’s not. At least not for punk and hardcore where sometimes, at its very best, is just kids making noise that moves them and their friends.
You have a point, buddy. You are either really right here, or you must be too old for this shit, haha ;)
Ok, so back to the specific tunes and people that keep you going, what bands from NC would you recommend us to check out?
Ha. Probably a little of both I’m sure.
In addition to the above mentioned bands, our singer Chuck has two new bands he’s playing guitar in, NERVOUS HANDS -more of a rocking punk band, and EXHAUST -fast hardcore, both really worth checking out; and our drummer Dan has a new band, PAID IN FULL, which is a great moshier heavy band. And our friends in TOTALLY SLOW are a really catchy melodic punk band worth looking into.
Thanks! Would you like add anything before we sign off? Cheers for the chat!
Thank you for the chance to do the interview! Love the site and am stoked to be a part of it! Hopefully we’ll see you in Europe before too long.