Gallery Circus chat Chicago, biker clubs and falling out with each other
Newcastle twin-rock duo Gallery Circus have smashed it up with their debut EP Chi-Town Dogs. RUSHONROCK were able to grab some time with the band to talk about their beginnings in Chicago and and a biker gang’s clubhouse.
RUSHONROCK – Chi-Town Dogs is your debut EP, but I remember seeing you guys supporting The Virginmarys at the old Think Tank in like 2014 – why has this debut taken three years to come out?
Gallery Circus – We’ve recorded a bunch of times over the past few years, but it took a while to really nail down our live sound. We spent the 2014-2015 touring loads so could barely fit in any time to get anything to tape. We took a little step back over the past year to make sure we start releasing our music.
RUSHONROCK – Just take us through the thought process for the EP, you’ve got loads of material to choose from so how did some of your older songs make the cut?
GC – We wanted the EP to reflect the diverse range of styles we try and pull together to create our sound. This includes our punk rock origins through to our Arcade Fire – esque piano driven tunes. We feel that these four songs define where we are currently at musically and are also strong live favourites.
RUSHONROCK – Was it important for you to that your first EP made a reference to the city where it all started?
GC – Even though Dan and I have played together for most our lives, it’s always been as part of other bands or collectives. When we migrated to Chicago for a spell this was the first opportunity for us to perform as a duo.
Luckily it worked out, so we wanted the title our EP to reflect our beginnings in this city. There’s also nothing better than a Chicago style hotdog!
RUSHONROCK – The way you guys play on stage, you must have broken something (musical or otherwise) while up there?
GC – There’s been several broken guitars, drum shells, plenty of sticks and strings and a few battered egos at time when we go a bit too wild. Fortunately no broken bones as of yet.
RUSHONROCK – You went to Chicago and I read that’s really where Gallery Circus got kick started, but what sparked that decision to fly to the states?
GC – We wanted to do something a little different, not particularly music oriented initially, just experience a new city and culture. By chance, we met a group of like minded musicians who were kind enough to lend us some equipment and encouraged us to play a few house shows in the hipster punk scene.
RUSHONROCK – And could GC have been made in Newcastle or did it need something that England couldn’t offer to spark it into life?
GC – It was from watching DIY punk bands in the city that inspired us to really up our energy when we perform. When we first moved to the states, we were heavily influenced by indie and folk music.
Our first official show was booked at a biker gang’s clubhouse in a notorious district of Chicago, We promptly realised our folk origins wouldn’t cut it for such a crowd, so we heavily distorted and rocked up our sound for the gig.
RUSHONROCK – Was the band always going to be you two or was there a temptation to bring in other people?
GC – It’s so much easier just the two of us, both logistically and emotionally. We can fight or moan to one another and then it’s quickly forgotten and we move on. Unfortunately, a lot of other bands don’t have this dynamic. This can take a toll on a band, especially on the road and is the root cause of many breakups.
RUSHONROCK – Because there are only two of you, how easy or difficult is it to make sure you have a distinctive sound from other bands like yourself?
GC – There’s definitely a distinct blues rock sound for a guitar / drums two piece as hammering out octave based riffs is the easiest way to simulate having the tonality of a full band.
Although we do love rocking out in this way at times, we always try and vary it up. We’re don’t really listen to that much rock music, our favourite artists are Regina Spektor, Dr Dog and The Felice Brothers. We try and take melodies common in other genres of music and fuzz them up.
RUSHONROCK – Will you be touring in support of Chi-Town Dogs?
GC – Yeah, we hope to be back on the road very soon! All details will be announced on our website gallerycircus.co.uk.
RUSHONROCK – And finally, what plans do you have in place for an album?
GC – An album is absolutely on the cards, watch this space!