With their release of the album ‘Where Wildness Grows’, Gengahr have just returned from their headline European tour and are now travelling the UK. The Gryphon had the pleasure of catching up with lead singer, Felix Bushe, about all things Gengahr.
So you’ve just come back from your European tour, how did it go?
Yeah it was great, we haven’t really toured Europe in a long time. I think last time was a support tour- we did a few shows with Jungle. Before that we did a little run with Wolf Alice, so it was nice to go and do our own shows again.
Did you have a support act?
We just had a different band perform with us each night. That was kind of nice – we got to make new friends everyday.
Do the support acts stick within your genre of music?
I don’t think we stick within our genre of music so I think it would be quite hard to ask somebody else to do the same!
So how would you define your genre of music you play?
I think it’s pop, I think it’s alternative, I think it can be quite psychedelic at times, grungy at times. I think the joining factor of all of it is that it’s pretty much all done with guitars. We have quite a simple palette to make music from.
Do you all have similar tastes in music?
We all kind of listen to different things but there is a lot of stuff that crosses over, we have a lot of similar tastes. I think we’re all good at unearthing new things that others haven’t heard before. Often getting back together and touring is when we get to share music more. Everyone has a new thing they’ve been listening to and they’ll play that on the bus; we’ll all have a listen and think ‘ah, that’s cool’.
What was your favourite gig on the tour, or even favourite gig ever?
We played in Newcastle last night, which was great. That was one of my favourites to be honest. I also think the last few times we did headline tours were big highlights. They weren’t necessarily the biggest shows but the crowd response was great. We had really good shows in Europe as well, ones that kind of surprised me, like Stockholm was really great and I think that you’re never really sure as a band from the UK what’s going to happen in Scandinavia, so yeah that kind of took me back. All the big cities are generally kind of great but when you go to the smaller places, those are the ones that are normally more fun in a way because the crowds are better and the show’s a little more intimate.
Do you prefer playing abroad or in the UK?
I prefer the crowds in the UK but you’re looked after a lot better in Europe. I think all bands would say that. Bands in the UK are very hungry and they work really hard. They have a really good work ethic because they aren’t treated very well. I don’t think people consider what we do worthy of any special treatment in the UK which I’m fine with because that’s all we really knew. When we go to Europe they lay out a spread for you and everyone goes out of their way to make sure you feel comfortable. Its quite weird at first, you wonder whether its just the venue and whether they are just particularly nice but it’s a real thing, I think they’re very proud of their venues and the jobs they do.
Do you think its because you’re British?
No, I don’t think so at all, you kind of play with the support bands in Europe and we’ve done other shows, the bands walk around like they rule the place, they’re kind of kings in their own tiny little worlds. British bands don’t really have that, we’re more humbled by our experiences. We’ve never got ahead of ourselves in that respect. Speaking to a lot of European bands, they just don’t like touring in the UK, they just think it’s shit because they don’t really get it, they’re like ‘four warm pints of lager and a packet of crisps’. They’re used to having full cooked meals and somebody carry their guitar in, it’s a different world.
Do you have any funny backstage stories from tour?
I just think that we work so hard at the moment that we limit, or we try to. Hugh did lose his phone, wallet, coat day one in Hamburg, which was quite impressive. Well I say it’s impressive but for him it’s not. But hopefully long gone are the days, you know those like when Dan snapped his collarbone on the first tour we did in the UK. I think we’re kind of a little bit more wary, we try not to be fucking stupid all the time but generally I think that when you start headlining shows, you have to get in earlier and you have more work to do and more responsibility. Support tours are just a bit of a laugh really, play for about half an hour, you load in late and then you just start drinking at 7, you know? There’s a level of responsibility, as much as we want to have a good time, people have paid money to come see us so we need to make sure we don’t suck.
So obviously you’ve just brought out a new album: can you tell me a bit about it? I heard that you had an album ready to release but decided to start again!
Yeah, we’ve been working on the album for about 2 years, recording and writing. That sounds pretty dramatic when you say it like that I guess, but we didn’t really feel happy at the first go at it you know?
Was that a big risk?
Well it was fucking expensive, I mean if I could change anything I wouldn’t have wanted to have done that again but at the same time, you can’t put out something that you don’t believe, it’s not worth it, it’s not worth anyone’s time, but I learnt a lot from that experience so I don’t consider it to be a waste at all. It was financially strenuous for everybody and that kind of shit’s quite difficult, it’s expensive being in a band I guess and you don’t want to do stuff like that. It doesn’t make for smart business but we’ve kind of managed to make it work and I’m glad we did take the time to do it again. It’s always a thing when bands have their second album, there’s a lot of pressure, especially if people said their first album was good. I think that if you make a bad album, not a lot of people get the opportunity to recover from that. I think that we would have be naïve to think that if we put out an album that stunk that it could have pretty much been the end of any commercial success we would have had as a group.
Do you have a favourite song on the album?
Maybe ‘Rising Tides’ or ‘Pull Over’.
Lastly, I wanted to ask who runs your Instagram – there’s some really cool photography on it!
I kind of do most of it. We actually forgot our camera today, we’re all into that shit, except for John, he doesn’t give a fuck. He’d rather there was never a camera anywhere. I think, myself, Hugh and Dan, we all like photography, and that kind of stuff is quite fun.
Image credit: Mushroom