gnawing - Sound In The Signals Interview

Photo: Sav Elliott

I recently had the opportunity to interview gnawing. We discussed the writing and recording process for new album, ‘You Freak Me Out’, playing live shows again, performing at a Richmond Flying Squirrels game, connecting with listeners through their songs, what’s next for the band, and more. Check it out below. 

You recently released your debut album, ‘You Freak Me Out’ via Refresh Records. Tell us more about the writing and recording process. 

Writing for YFMO came fairly easily, to be honest. Some of the songs date back to almost the beginning of the band, like “Happy For You,” that one was supposed to be on the Shaky 7” but got left off due to time constraints. Then some of the songs were finished weeks, even days, before we went into the studio for initial tracking with Allen. We had only played probably 4 of them live before going into the studio? So it was an amalgamation of songs new and old, but it ended up feeling very cohesive to us.

Recording was a whole other monster, as we started tracking in the summer of 2020 amidst some of Virginia’s highest COVID numbers. Allen and the three of us took (and are taking) COVID very seriously so we isolated as much as we possibly could during the recording time, and the studio we were recording at only allowed “necessary personnel” so when we tracked drums, it was Allen in the control room, Christian on the kit and me sitting in the live room with him, running scratch tracks on guitar. When Chris tracked bass, it was just Chris, myself and Allen. And then most vocal and guitar days were just me and Allen. It was a LOT different than what I pictured us going into the studio to record our big debut LP would be, but the results are still exactly what we heard in our heads. We owe Allen and Justin Pizzoferrato (mastering) a lot of kudos for that!

You have some release shows planned for September. What do you have planned for those shows? How does it feel to play live again? 

It feels amazing to play live again, and I’m hoping it continues to be a safe and viable option and doesn’t go away again…. Our first show back was our LP release at Cobra Cabana, and it was so thrilling to play loud music for excited people once again. I think we are very much a live band, and all 3 get the most enjoyment out of it by playing shows, so it felt good to be in our zone again. That said- we’re not out of the woods yet! In order for us to keep our dates on the calendar and bigger, more important bands to do so too, we gotta keep being safe and masking and encouraging everyone who physically can to get vaccinated!


You were recently the pre-game musical guests for the Richmond Flying Squirrels, which you said was a bucket list gig. Tell us more about this experience. 

So I was very much raised in a baseball household, my dad is a Yankees fan like his dad before him, and I grew up in the Jeter era, so it was a good time to get into baseball. Playing before a minor league game (easily the punkest version of pro baseball) was totally wild and sort of like a fever dream. A lot of people were very confused, one employee asked us to turn down, and a lot of our homies rolled out to the game to watch us play, which was amazing. I didn’t prep in the ways that I should have, and forgot to make sure lyrics were family friendly, so I definitely made some onstage adlibs to take the place of cuss words or references to adult situations or something. I think it worked out well. We switched the last chorus of “West Coast” to say “let's go squirrels” instead of “that west coast girl” and that went over incredibly well with the baseball fans.


You’ve said “You Freak Me Out” is about “coping with being human and letting things freak you out if they need to”. This is a relatable message and song. What do you hope listeners take away from the song and this sentiment? 

That song is about coping with being afraid of permanence in your life, and resisting the urge to self sabotage, so I hope if anything that someone listening to it can feel validated in their anxieties, and maybe even encouraged to not self sabotage, but most importantly that it tells them they aren’t the only one feeling this, and other people cope with it too. So many of my favorite songs are the writer saying “hey this is a real thing that happens to everyone” to some extent, and it always makes me feel less isolated in what I am feeling at that time. I hope I can make that happen for at least one person.


You’ve said that “Blue Moon New” is one of your favorites from the album and one of the most sentimental songs. Can you tell us more about the inspiration for this song? 

“Blue Moon New” is basically a very candid retelling of my partner and I deciding to move to Richmond, Virginia after being in a 2000 mile long distance relationship, and not really having a plan past living in the same city. We sort of made our own path and did whatever we could to make it work for the first couple years here, so “Blue Moon New'' sort of reflects on all of that. I wrote it on our first snow day in Richmond, thus the first line.

What’s next for the band? 

Phew, what is next!? We’re hoping that we EVENTUALLY get the vinyl for “You Freak Me Out” and can finally hold that in our hands. We are working on a top secret project that will coincide with the records actually arriving at Refresh HQ, and are always constantly writing and working on new songs. We have these two weekends planned in 2021 with some regional shows as well, and are working on a longer tour in early 2022, fingers crossed that live shows continue happening!!


Thanks for taking the time to answer the questions. Do you have any else that you would like to add? 

Thank you so much! Everyone wear a mask ! Be kind ! Be here now ! Listen to “You Freak Me Out” !!

Follow gnawing:





Follow Sound In The Signals:



No comments: