- Describe the mr. Gnome sound in 3 words
Emotional, eccentric, experimental.
- New double LP is set to be released very soon. How does it compare to your previous albums?
Our new album, The Day You Flew Away, is the most personal record we’ve ever made. It is a musical diary of our lives over the last few years and it’s been a little nerve-racking finally letting it go and sharing it with the world. When we were making it, we really weren’t thinking about the finished product necessarily. The song writing process served as our therapy sessions just to deal with the intensity of life in that moment and we were so engrossed and obsessed with creating every day and getting lost in the music and sounds. We definitely touch upon a lot of the same sounds we’ve created on previous albums, but also experiment with so many more textures and genres we had only flirted with in the past, and really allowed ourselves to go anywhere with every idea. Sam’s brother, Jonah, also contributed a lot to this album. He plays on about half of it. He’s an amazing musician and we were really excited to have him on board to create this beast with us.
- What comes first in your music? Lyrics or music? Tell us a few things about your creative process.
It really depends. If I’m working on a song by myself with just a guitar the lyrics might come at the same time as the music. I’ve written a lot of the beginning ideas of songs like that, bring them to Sam and then we see where we can take it. When we write in a live setting a lot of times we’ll come up with the music and I’ll make up the melodies on the spot, but most of the time the words don’t really make much sense. And then I’ll take those melodies and write lyrics to them. And other times, I’ll just freestyle in ProTools on top of pre-recorded music and create the melodies and lyrics that way. We like to do the writing in different ways because I think it allows for different results and outcomes. When you’ve been writing for a long time, you’re always looking for different ways to tap into that autonomous part of your creative brain so that you’re not necessarily thinking about what you’re doing. When we’re able to do that it’s super exciting because it just feels more real, like you’re pulling something invisible out of the air and creating something out of that moment, versus saying, “I’m gonna write a song about this and it’s gonna sound just like this.”
- What is your favourite venue you have ever performed? Can you share something funny that happened during one of your gigs? And what would be your dream performance venue?
Hm, favorite venue. That’s so hard because we’ve been touring for quite some time and have played so many amazing venues across the country. The Beachland Ballroom here in Cleveland holds a very special place in our hearts. There’s no place like home! Funniest story from a show, I got food poisoning in Salt Lake City right before a Halloween show. So we’re standing on stage about to start and I’m looking out at hundreds of people in costumes staring back at me and I’m trying not to get sick the entire show. A man was standing in the front row half naked dressed in Princess Leia’s slave outfit from Star Wars. It’s funny now, but it was pretty horrifying at the moment! As far as dream venues…not sure. Venues are only as good as the crowds in them. It’s really about the energy transfer between us and the crowd more than anything. Sometimes a shitty venue with leaky toilets, a surly bartender and no green room turn into the best night of the tour because of the jam-packed enthusiastic crowd that’s singing all of the lyrics to our songs.
- There is growing tension in America. How Important are political statements by music artists? Can music have an impact on politics?
I think political statements can make such an impact when told through music because songs can resonate with people in such an emotional way. Lyrics, when accompanied by the music, can make a person relate and understand the story being told in a way that wouldn’t be possible in any other form. Music can inspire and motivate as well. It can really become the soundtrack to a movement and ultimately push society one way or another.
- What is your favorite album of the past year?
Really loving Big Thief. They released both U.F.O.F. last year and Two Hands. They’re fantastic!
- If you could change anything about the music industry, what would it be?
I think the interesting thing that’s been pretty consistent in the music industry since its inception, and it’s something you see from the minute you start, is that everybody makes money off the musician, except for the musician. Everybody is out there trying to make money off of you and everybody gets paid before you. There’s also definitely a lot of sexism in the industry, which I’ve experienced firsthand many, many times, especially as a female touring musician.
- One last thing we should know about you?
We love tequila!
- Thank you!
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mr. Gnome’s upcoming double LP release, The Day You Flew Away, will be available October 16, 2020 on El Marko Records.