Before London four-some, Gengahr, took to the stage at The Bodega to play their fourth show on their headline tour of the UK we had the chance to catch Bassist Hugh and Drummer Danny for a brief interview on the roof of The Bodega.
How did the band form?
Danny: Me, Hugh and Felix (Lead singer/Guitarist) all went to school together, so we were playing in various different bands for a while. We then met John(Guitarist) about 3 or 4 years ago.
Hugh: We started this project (Gengahr) around 2 years ago after a year of experimenting and trying out different vibes and styles.
Where did the name Gengahr come from?
Danny: We had a different name before but we had to change it, so we spent a while messing around with different band names and in the end we decided to just use the name of our favourite Pokémon.
What about the added H?
Danny: Copyright reasons
Hugh: And it’s easier to find
So Nottingham is your fourth show on your headline tour of the UK, how were the other three shows?
Danny: Yesterday was a special one, it was “Scala”, our home. It was our only show in London and we sold it out! The performance in Bristol was also amazing and we started off in Brighton and that was also really good.
What show on tour are you most looking forward to?
Danny: Probably Manchester.
Hugh: Yeah Manchester. Manchester is sold out, the only other show to sell out so far.
Your musical style is very original, line of best fit described the sound on “A Dream Outside” as “swirling chords, perfect harmonies and untreated soft guitars that you can get lost in for hours”, as a band have you always had this sound or has it evolved over time?
Danny: Definitely evolved, we took a while to find this comfortable sound and the formula to write the music. Felix was playing the piano for a while and that flopped.
Hugh: Yeah, so we sort of came full circle back to simple guitar music, pop music, and then tried to fuck with it and make it a little weird. That’s kind of the formula.
Danny: We try not to do the obvious each time.
You toured with Alt-J earlier this year and played a ridiculous number of shows, any that stand out most?
Danny: We played a gig in an ice rink
Hugh: That was awesome
Danny: We went ice skating before and after the show, we just went to so many cool places and the gigs were enormous.
Your album came out in June and was incredibly well received and your songs are getting a lot of attention on Spotify and other streaming sites, what’s your reaction to this surge in popularity that you’ve received?
Hugh: It’s great, it’s what you want really. It’s definitely surreal, but we’re kind of getting used to it and once you get a little bit of attention then you want to kind of improve and get it to a bigger audience. However, it’s still early days for us. Not many people know who we are so we’re kind of keen to crack on.
Are there any upcoming bands or label mates that you’d like to give a shout out to?
Danny: Our mates “Puppy”, we’ve played in bands with them and went to school with them.
Hugh: Their project is just about to kick off and it’s excellent.
Danny: Yeah, it’s fucking great so check it out.
Your lyrics on “A Dream Outside” appear to have very dark undertones, was this a deliberate direction to take or did it just happen?
Danny: I think Felix tries to offset the happier music with darker lyrics and vice versa, but he likes to write lyrics about fantastical things.
Hugh: Like Narratives.
Danny: Yeah, narratives, but not taking himself too seriously. Our first demos were written around Halloween so it all sort of worked out.
Hugh: It just sort of stuck, that spooky vibe, it probably won’t be like that forever.
Danny: And Gengahr is a ghost Pokémon, so that works.
You were at a number of festivals this summer, Blissfields, Glastonbury, Reading and so on, what was your favourite one?
Hugh: In the UK it was probably Reading or Latitude.
Danny: Definitely, they were both great, all of them really were brilliant. Best Kept Secret in Holland was one of my favourites.
Hugh: It was in a safari park, so we got a free safari trip and it was beautiful.
Danny: It was Gorgeous!
So you are now on Transgressive Records, alongside the likes of Foals, Alvvays, and The Antlers, how did that come about?
Danny: We met Tim from Transgressive records a couple years ago at Sound City.
Hugh: It was the first time we played in England. We did a few days’ practice in Europe and then we did the festival and Tim came down, we met him there and he’s a bloody legend so we just clicked.
Danny: We were on tour with Wolf Alice and Superfood and they came to one of our shows and you know, they liked it. They also have a great roster and they’re really nice guys.
Now that you have your own urban outfitters range or at least edit, do you get free clothing or any discounts?
Danny: No, we got fuck all, it was bollocks.
Hugh: They didn’t even give us free clothes, I thought that was part of the deal.
Danny: Not a single T-shirt.
Hugh: Umm yeah, I don’t know why we did that. No, it’s all good, it’s all good.
Finally, which band member has the worst guilty pleasure music taste?
Hugh: John, definitely John.
Danny: He’s a huge Taylor Swift fan.
Hugh: He’s seen her live.
Danny: A couple times… But we all like TS.
Hugh: We all like her but I wouldn’t spend £80 on a ticket.
Danny: And there’s also his Taylor Swift collection as well.
You can read Kit and Keira’s review of Gengahr’s epic show at The Bodega here!
By Keira Andrews & Kit Bodine