“Zine Musical” interview with Gary

The Brazilian blog Zine Musical interviewed Gary to talk about our history, process, music, and future. You can read the original here. Below are Gary’s actual answers, which are a little easier to read than the English->Portuguese->English translation:

[ZM] Gary, when everything really began?

[GT] Unbeknownst to us we really began right off the bat at our 1st jam together in July 2016. Julie and I met for coffee first after trading some recordings and decided to book a rehearsal room for a 3 hour session. I came in with some prepared ideas but that went out the window as soon as we plugged in. We just started playing and time flew by. It was natural, complementary and a mutual feeling that we clicked. The next weekend Rian joined us on the kit and it happened again x3 … a spontaneous instrumental flow of exploration.  At that time we were in other bands as well so we would get together once a month to jam and record ideas. By the fall we realized we really wanted to play shows so I called in Steve who I had played with before on bass and started to look for a singer. That was not going so well so after the holidays we decided to step up and do the vocals ourselves.  We went ahead and booked studio time @ Witch Ape Studio with my amigo Tad in early spring and busted out “These Beautiful Things”

[ZM] Why the name “GUEST DIRECTORS”? Where did it come from?

[GT] That one came from Julie. Ya gotta have a name so we put a list together and each of us picked a few we liked and that name ended up on all of our choices. That we had made the right choice become apparent after we realized because of the particular guitar tuning I use most of our songs end up being in the key of G or D… the initials for Guest Directors!

[ZM] Let’s talk about These Beautiful Things. It’s clearly how powerful it is. Amazing the atmosphere you guys could create together. Despite a lot of awesome bass lines, dynamic drums and the trippy voice of Julie, your guitars get together so well harmonizing and going deep on distortions and reverbs. (Any comments?)

[GT] Thanks Breno, those elements – awesome bass lines, dynamic drums plus trippy voices along with our telepathic guitar parts and tones is really the basis for our sound. We have all been playing music for a long time before Guest Directors and with this band it feels like there is a good general consensus as to when and where to tighten things up as well as when to keep things loose.  We cut the basics live together in the room. Being first and foremost guitar players we both had ideas for overdubs we had been hearing in our heads so those got sprinkled in. Julie did the heavy lifting on the vocals/lyrics on this one and she really stepped up –

[ZM] In 2017 you guys have released a digital single, two songs, again recorded at Witch Ape Studio with Tad Doyle, but mixed by Steve Fisk. These songs ended up also on the Captured in the Light’s EP, right?

[GT] Yup

[ZM] Captured in the Light has a vibe more post-punk and dream pop. What changed on you guys from the first to this second EP? This one still has an obscure texture but it’s more clean in comparison with the previous EP.

[GT] You picked up on that! We did not go into this EP with any idea of changing the way we work or sounded but circumstances and scheduling got complicated. As a matter of fact we went back into Witch Ape studio to do basics again and found that Tad had just gotten a new setup he was still sorting out so we ended up being the guinea pigs. We also did some recording/mixing at Earwig Studio (where we later recorded Dream The Currents) We recorded vocals at Aileen Paron‘s studio as well as some mixing at Steve Fisk‘s. I really can’t say if any of that is the reason it sounds different but in hindsight I am glad it does.  Also it now occurs to me how descriptive the title of the EP is!

[ZM] Gary, why did Steve Melle leave the band? (you don’t need to answer if you don’t feel comfortable)

[GT] Steve ended up buying a house that was over an hour outside of Seattle so logistics were not good for getting together as often as we liked. He told us he did not want to hold us back… ha at least that’s what he said!

[ZM] The last EP Dream the Currents from February, 2019. And it consolidates the band with solid songs giving us a powerful sound. After 3 years you guys have a more confident chemistry, but it’s curious because Charles Russo just entered the group. How did it work? Was it a hard transition? And tell us a little bit more about this masterpiece.

[GT] When Steve decided to leave that left things back to the way we started out so we just continued to jam and record ideas.  We always play by ear plus use a lot of partial /broken chords that may or may not relate to a bass part so really the bass becomes the spine of the song.  As songs developed we started doing demos in garageband and Rian would bust out the bass parts (also an accomplished guitar player) so there was some direction there. Charlie def has had his hands full trying to decode our more intuitive approach. The songs we chose for DTC ended up being pretty stylistically diverse which also is an intuitive thing with us. The song Minor Mendings was first attempted when we did CITL but the results convinced us it was not ready yet so getting the definitive recording together this time was really satisfying. The EP was done start to finish at Earwig Studios working with Don Farwell.

[ZM] By the way, Dream the Currents was in the top 100 releases for the year in the illustrious Big Takeover magazine, sounds great! Congratulations for that, Gary. What’s your feeling with public feedback about the group?

[GT] Yeah the Big Takeover thing was a great morale booster that came out of left field, any recognition big or small is nice including this interview! Our main efforts have been focusing on writing/recording/artwork activities.

[ZM] GUEST DIRECTORS has 4 music videos but I would like to highlight “Minor Mendings”. It’s really trippy! How was to make this one? (unfortunately I just got to know the band through this one but oh! how it amazes me – the song and the video).

[GT] This song ended up something that I think we are all proud of. Certainly we spent a lot of time working on an arrangement, getting the transitions the way we wanted plus combining melody, noise, sparseness, feedback, aggression, and an ending that is perfect! All from basically a 2 chord idea that started spontaneously from a jam and the willingness to explore. The video is rad and was done by the mysterious Charles Russo.

[ZM] Is that you singing on “Where You Belong” and “Spinning Round”?

[GT] Yup!

[ZM] What changed from the 90s to these actual days? Can you tell us a little bit about your experience playing on TAD?

[GT] The one thing that has not changed is the ambition to write and play… everything else has changed!  TAD was a monumental experience in so many ways. I am grateful to have gotten aboard the train and see the world.

[ZM] Gary, final question and the big one: when you GUEST DIRECTORS are going to release new material?

[GT] Well, we have the songs together now. We had booked time to record the beginning of May but that changed due to C-19. That is on the shelf for now till this plays out I guess.