Look! Quick! It’s sunny outside. In case Twitter or someone you’ve had to email for work hasn’t already mentioned, the sun is in fact shining in London today. It just so happens that we have the perfect soundtrack to match. Ok, we might not be on California UV-scales yet but five-piece, The Gromble, are sending across some warmth from the other side of the Atlantic. Referencing 90s pop culture (their name is taken from Aaah!!! Real Monsters), absorbing all the saturated neon light of Drive in their latest video, along with a touch of the absurd, it’s needless to say we were hooked instantly.
For a band whose members grew up in the same scene, their new album, Jayus, has been a long time coming. They began the project nearly five years ago and during its creation, went through three lineup switches. We can only admire their perseverance, and there’s no denying it paid off. Jayus finally arrived in February, tracked entirely between their family homes and produced and engineered (or at least the majority was) by drummer, Stefan Macarewich. Post-release, we quizzed Spencer from the band on their evolving lineup and how it felt to finish half a decade’s worth of work.
Hey guys! Obviously we’re going to ask about the name…
The name is a character from a cartoon we liked as kids. The real story is that it was voted the “least worst” band name on a short list.
What made you want to form a band?
Most of us have played music our whole lives, this band sprouted after our high school band dissolved. The first band I started was specifically to play my seventh grade battle of the bands. We called ourselves Mothra and we were absolutely putrid.
You’ve gone through some line-up changes; how did you settle on the final band makeup? What made you want to work with each other?
We have gone through some line-up changes. Working on a record for such a long time it can be hard to maintain focus and keep everyone interested and engaged. We feel our current lineup is streamlined and strong, it lets everyone fulfil their role quite nicely. What made us want to work with each other was recognising each other’s strengths and eclectic influences, as we hear things so differently and are drawn to different types of music. We definitely feel the band is more than the sum of its parts.
What would you say has had the biggest influence on your sound? Do you think you’ve changed much since you started?
We draw influence from everywhere so there have been a ton of influential bands, albums, producers etc. We’ve definitely changed in style since we began, our 2011 EP was a very guitar driven jangle-pop outing. A big change came with the addition of our drummer Stefan Macarewich (who does all of our production and engineering) and our keyboardist/saxophonist Spencer Wiles (who does all our string and horn arrangements). Before the two of them our sound was a lot less refined, just a typical four piece rock band.
The album has been in the works for some time. How did it feel to finish it?
It felt great to finally finish! There’s always work to be done though and finishing the music is really only the beginning of the journey for an album cycle. I will say though that it was great to have a product that we could be really proud of and that we feel accurately represents us.
How much did the album stick to or sway from your original vision?
Essentially we tracked two full albums for Jayus. We had almost completed it about a year and a half in, and I recall being in a parking lot after a gig and just hearing from the band that the album was sounding terrible, the songs weren’t good, and the vibe wasn’t there. I didn’t take it very well, and was pretty sure we would break up at that point. Instead we went back to the drawing board, stripped the songs down and then built them back up, sometimes salvaging the lyrics and melody, sometimes starting something completely new. We still have demos of some of the old versions of these songs, they were a lot heavier and generally pretty weird.
How important is linking your sound and visuals?
Incredibly important! It’s something we’re still working on but always cognisant of.
What else do you have planned for 2016? Are there UK gigs in the future?
We have immediate plans for some new music videos, a few really unique live performance videos, and we’ve already begun working on brand new music. We’ve always been a band that runs away from momentum, so we’re trying to keep a steady flow of music coming this year! No UK gigs planned as of yet but we’re working on it for the later part of this year.