Gabba Ghoul - Sound In The Signals Interview

I recently had the opportunity to interview Gabba Ghoul. We discussed the band’s first practice, lyrical themes, their writing and recording process, artwork, what’s next for the band, and more. Check it out below.

First, thanks for the interview. 

Of course. We appreciate the opportunity.

Can you tell me how you formed the band for those who may be unfamiliar with it? How did you initially become interested in music? 

Our drummer (George) and our guitarist (Henry) met through a mutual friend, Dusty and started jamming together with the intention of making poppy math rock. Our bassist (Josh) met George at a show a few months later, & they recommended Lisa as a vocalist: we just went from there. During our first ever practice we were walking around outside a church that’s near Josh’s house and Lisa ducked aside for a minute. They grabbed a parking sign from the dumpster in the church parking lot and ran up to the rest of us with it. We decided to bring it home. Josh had to explain to their mom why we were bringing in a dirty old road sign into her basement - that was a good time. We knew we had something special after that. 

You recently released your debut album, ‘Gabba be thy Ghoul’. Can you tell us more about the writing process and the lyrical themes you explored? 

We all had our own influences and ideas going into the writing process. George wanted to combine the sleek, syncopated rhythms from MF Doom, with the energy and vibrancy of math rock bands like Toe. and Delta sleep and the brutal aggression of late 2000s metalcore. 

Most of the album came together from jamming over riffs that Henry and Josh wrote. Then Lisa stepped in and added the vocal melodies and lyrics. Lisa’s intention for the lyrics was to be as vague as possible, so anyone could relate to them and impart their own experiences onto them. All of the lyrics are gender neutral to hammer this point home. They don’t talk about specific experiences, but rather the raw emotions behind these experiences. They started from there and built upwards. 

What’s your favorite part of writing songs? What can be the most challenging aspect of writing?

Just hanging out. Our songwriting process is very democratic. Anyone can come forward with an idea and we’ll go from there. There were a few songs that we didn’t initially like at first but when all the ideas came together, they became some of our favorite songs. That’s the beauty of it. Something might not make sense at first but when we all put our voice into it, we can make something that we’re really proud of. 

The most challenging aspect for all of us is different. Sometimes Henry’s lines seem all over the place and Josh has a hard time pinning down central notes to spring from. Sometimes George’s rhythms are super complicated and make it difficult for Lisa to get a melody over. Sometimes George’s shirt is off and none of us can focus on the music (George consents to this being a part of the answer). 

Can you tell us more about the recording process? What came easiest in the process and what took more time? 

We had our good friend Raymond Bonanno recording us in his house. The three sessions we had were split up over about 2 weeks. He made the process really easy for us by sitting down with us individually and working with us so we could get the best possible takes. The recording would’ve been way more difficult without his guiding hands. Most of it, we were able to get in less than 5 takes. Shoutout to Ray, We love you! Every session, we had a ritual of meditating, recording, eating Portuguese BBQ, and then recording again till sundown.

There was one time when Lisa had to come straight from a rugby game to the studio when it was pouring rain out, and they stepped into Ray’s house sopping wet and miserable. Ray let them use the shower. His bathroom has a toaster button. I’m still not sure what it does, but how sick is that?

The artwork is by Patrick J. Hickey. Can you tell us more about the design and meaning behind it? 

Pat is Henry’s friend from Pittsburgh (insta is: @patrickjhickey). He had been a fan of Pat’s work for a while and thought the intricate multimedia collage style Pat uses would compliment the sound of our music well. In terms of the design process we basically just sent our final mixes to him and told him to paint whatever. Needless to say we were very impressed with the final product, Pat really exceeded our wildest expectations. 

What is coming up for the band in 2023?

We have some singles that we’re working on at the moment, plus we’re gonna be playing outside of New Jersey more with some shows in NY and Philly, and we have a weekender in the works - so a lot of good stuff to look forward to. We have nearly an entire album’s worth of new material written that we’re really excited to share with the world, so keep an eye out!

Thanks for taking the time to answer the questions. Is there anything else that you’d like to add?

Shout out to our good friends in Jag One, Fake Pollocks, Rob Ford Explorer, Yung Lean, Magic Ghrelin, Raymond Bonanno, Chris Allgood, Pat Hickey, and everyone else who’s supported us so far. Follow us on instagram @gabba_ghoul_nj Stay tuned for 2023!

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