10 Aug 2017

925 TIL I DIE: Vapour Trail Meets GANG To Discuss Their Debut Long Player

GANG are an almighty trio from Brighton who've just released one of the best debut albums of 2017. 925 Til I Die is an odyssey, a slow, sludgy heavy rock odyssey that travels through angular grooves and torturous howls on its path to documenting what this here Earth will be like in 925 years time.

For this record, the individuals that power GANG became the Doppelgang, green life forms from an altered future; they preface the record's release with this.

“The Earth is a skull and you are the headlice, where will you go when the hair isn’t so nice? The year is 2942. 925 years since strange beings consolidated their grip on world power. Each Monday the people will gather to receive their weekly plant ration and to watch the content on the screens. The plant will keep each individual subdued and prevent any uprising. The content on the screens will keep their brains working to a sufficient level so as to prevent their minds descending into a vegetative state. During this ceremony, the masses will show appreciation to their supreme leader, the Chancellor, and the Home Secretary.”

Armed with a fierce DIY ethic, some evil guitars, and a huge imagination, GANG's album came out a couple of weeks ago on their own M8s Records label (more on that later).  Truly one of my favourite albums of recent times, I was chuffed to get the chance to chat with Eric Tormey (who sings and shreds in the band) about the record, the label, and the altered sphere they've carved out for themselves.

Your interviews and press releases talk a lot about Gang’s music taking its place in the band’s own conceptual dystopic future. Tell us a bit about the inception of the “Doppelgang”...
The idea was born when it came time for us to do press photos for our last single. We really don't enjoy ‘going through the motions’ of being a band. The things you don’t really want to do but still have to. We decided we wanted to subvert the whole thing and do something creative, simultaneously taking the piss out of the whole concept of marketing a band. After that we began to flesh out the concept a lot and build upon it…

Or perhaps it's real?

You say perhaps jokingly this record’s set 925 into the future… I take it you don’t envision a bright future for humanity?
Not the way things currently are. Humans seem to have a tendency to ignore approaching doom until it is too late and unavoidable. Aside from anything else the world is grossly overpopulated and equally underprivileged. And let's not get started on the mis-advertisement of everything we're constantly subjected to. But their has to be a shred of hope that the the future's bright and it becomes green not orange.

How many of the lyrics on the album tie into this narrative? 
To me it’s more of a thematic journey than a narrative. All of the songs’ themes relate to each other, and as you progress through the album. It is meant to be a metaphor for death as a natural and beautiful part of existence. Death is more universal than love. Everything dies, even stars and galaxies.

One of the tracks that stood out to me immediately was the spacey skit The Big Prang. Tell us a bit about it and its composition. 
We actually improvised that one, it kind of came from a loose jam. We all freaked out a bit while we were playing it, I think we may have performed an occult ritual by mistake.

What’s with the eerie chanting at the end of the album version of Dead?
Sacred voices welcome you to the afterlife. The chanting was totally improvised, we just went into an abandoned church in Kent and recorded it on an iPhone.

What are your personal favourite tracks from the record? 
I have no favourite children, probably whichever one I’ve heard the least recently. I quite like Rawboned, it's pretty chill.

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925… is obviously quite a heavy album, with lots of dark, sprawling guitars, but there’s also a lot going on melodically. What musical influences do you have that might not be immediately obvious?
Abba, Billie Holiday, John Coltrane, Motown, Boogie Down Productions, Henryk Gorecki, Spyro the Dragon.

And what influences you outside of music? 

Who did the cover art for the album? 
Our friend and longtime collaborator Jordan Gray, who does all of our artwork. It actually says ‘Gang’ and ‘925 *UNDERWORLD SYMBOL*’ on the front cover in hieroglyphs. He’s such a wonderful artist who really thinks about what he is trying to convey. Plenty of hidden meaning.

How long did the record take? Tell us a bit about the process… 
Over a year. We recorded the raw tracks then left it to stew for a year, then finished it off just before release. We spent that time thinking about approaching labels, but we were put off by the ideological hierarchy of the music biz so instead we decided we wanted to release it through the label I’d started 6 months prior: M8s Records. Our dad (ex-Ozzy Osbourne guitarist) shreds a wicked solo on track 4, that’s a pretty interesting story I guess?

Tell us a bit about your label, M8s Records. 
I started M8s Records with my sister in December as a retort to the financially bloated coke-fest known as the music industry. It’s meant to be an alternate platform for people that don’t want to support or participate in an infrastructure which promotes and upholds outdated garbage including sexism, racism, classism as well as just mind-numbing, bland, homogenised, unprovocative nothingness. The sooner people realise that almost every large industry in the world is controlled by stuffy old men - who don’t give a shit about equality, and just want to exploit a social movement by giving the illusion of empowerment - the better.

The whole concept of "creative industries" to me is a paradox. When art is made in the hope of making money something is askew.

M8s is meant to be more like a sustainable community which supports itself from within. It's based around emotional profit not monetary profit.

Which other bands are you loving right now?
Inevitable Daydream! Their album 'I Will Get To The Sky On These Strong Legs' is the best of 2017. Also our dudes in Chastity Belt and So Pitted, and all the other lovely music makers about at the moment.

925 Til I Die is out now, and you should buy several copies; one for you, one for your boyfriend, one for your mum, and one to keep in the freezer.

Listen to it on Spotify here...

(Words: Cal Cashin)