In Conversation with Gengahr

First gaining attention through their single ‘Fill My Gums With Blood’, the rise of psych-pop band, Gengahr, has been immense. They’ve played major UK festivals including Glastonbury and Leeds as well as supported alt-J on their European tour. I caught up with lead singer Felix Bushe before their tour around Europe begins at Exchange in Bristol on October 7th.

You released your debut album, A Dream Outside in June this year, which is really exciting. How does it feel to finally have it out there? 

It feels great, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do and we’ve been making music for quite a while so it was a real pleasure for us to finally get it done. It’s good to have it out there and have it slowly making its way to people.

What’s the process behind making your music? With lyrics for example, is that more of a joint effort or does one person take control? 

Lyrics particularly are more of a personal thing, a lot of the time there’s a sort of personal attachment to your lyrics. I think it would be very difficult to write that as a group. Maybe if you’re writing commercial pop music then you’re writing quite generic lyrics which are applicable to anything and you wouldn’t have such an emotional attachment, but when we do it it’s quite intimate. We do a lot of the music communally though and a lot of the stuff we come up with is done in a rehearsal room together.

I’ve read that you’re passionate about art and film. Do you find a way to channel that interest into your music? 

Myself, Dan and Hugh were all doing Art Foundations together and we’ve carried on making art since then. Me and Dan do a lot of graphic work for the band, putting together posters and that side of things and I have quite an active input in the music videos as well. It’s something I’m quite enthusiastic about. I feel quite privileged to make art and films as well as write and record music. It seems like a waste to let everyone else do it and have all the fun.

How would you say your music has evolved over the years? You all started out in more punk-style bands. 

Yeah, we all played heavier music in the past, now we’ve chilled out a little bit, maybe it’s a sign of our age. We’ve definitely got softer and more dynamic. At times we’re still heavy but with a tender underbelly.

Taking about heavier music, you covered the post-hardcore band, Fugazi’s song ‘I’m So Tired’. Why did you choose that particular Fugazi song, one which is so different from their usual sound? 

We’re all Fugazi fans, we have been for a long time. We thought we’d revisit a band we all appreciated and put on a pedestal when we first started making music and they were that band for us. ‘I’m So Tired’ is a bit of a hidden gem, it’s a really beautiful piece of music. It was a song we thought we could make our own without changing it completely but it’s also quite a short song so I think we might have even tripled the length of it.

What are you listening to at the moment?  

Our Girl are pretty impressive, we had them support us in Brighton a little while back so I was aware of how talented those girls were then. I’m really into them.

I got to see The Big Moon play when I was at Reading as well, they’re great.

You played a few festivals abroad this summer, Splendour in the Grass Festival in Australia for example. How did the band find that experience? 

Australia was pretty crazy, we played to the biggest crowed we’ve ever played to out there. We’ve been played on the radio there quite a lot and we were signed to a label there before we were signed in the UK so we were aware that we might get a good reaction but we weren’t expecting for it to be that great.

What’s next for Gengahr? 

Our tour starts on Tuesday so that’s the next big thing for us. We’re shooting the video for ‘Tired Eyes’ this weekend which will take some time and we’ll be writing and recording again over Christmas. Apart from that we’re just going to keep at it and stay ahead of our expectations.


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