To see a strong visual representation of the tension at the center of Ganser’s music, it’s best to watch one of the videos of the group performing at Chicago’s Empty Bottle last year. Vocalist/keyboardist Nadia Garofalo and guitarist Charlie Landsman radiate frantic energy, twisting and writhing their way through each song. Meanwhile, the rhythm section of bassist Alicia Gaines (who shares vocal duties with Garofalo) and drummer Brian Cundiff are focused, locked in, the picture of cool at the center of a tempest. – Treble
Handing over the mic to artists/musicians who break down their new albums track by track/share the thought process behind the creation. Today we’ll hear from Nadia and Alicia, half of Chicago band Ganser whose new album Just Look at that Sky is out now on Felte Records.
NG: I was listening to a demo of the instrumentation and just kept hearing that line from Dirty Harry in my head ‘Do I feel lucky?’ and well, here we are.
NG: I was thinking about the phrase “too little too late.” Specifically, being on the receiving end of it. It’s about when intentions and actions fall short or don’t match up with outcomes and how that can be so painful.
NG: I was watching a relatively famous person speak about basically whatever they thought was important to tell the audience and it became this echo chamber of detached nonsense. The whole concept of the event seemed so absurd to me. I probably wasn’t the right target audience for this particular thing but it reminded me of so many other similar situations I’ve been in.
AG: Oh yeah, the screaming desire to leave an ideal situation. The song is running off a cliff musically, the demo was called “DB Cooper,” which is still in the lyrics. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, he always fascinated me as a figure. The desire to disappear can express itself in surprising ways. One of the seeds of this album was the idea of running away screaming into the woods. The idea is really tempting until you realize that you would only have yourself for company. I think our music is always dealing with the essential question of only having yourself to reckon with at the end of the day. Sometimes you aren’t a very good friend to yourself.
AG: A touch of mania on a self-improvement high. Fake it until you make it. I don’t think women get to tap into belligerence as an escape valve, so it was fun. This is a classic example of writing lyrics specifically for Nadia’s voice on the verses to free up space for more complex bass there and in the choruses.
AG: I kept to myself growing up, and when you do that there’s a tendency to shrink away after being mistreated, to seek “smooth edges” instead of speak up, to abandon and never come back. Daring to cast a shadow.
AG: This was another one when writing I knew I wanted Nadia’s voice on. We all know someone who is very paralyzed by decision making. They’re not meeting expectations, but are too stuck to get themselves out. The end about staring at the sun can be about finding a singular purpose and following it, or maybe just being so frozen you have nothing left to do but stare into the sun. Good/Bad.
AG: This track is a continuation of the ending of “YES NO” from our first album Odd Talk. I have a deep love for a certain kind of pseudo bossa nova elevator music, so the mellotron that ends the first track was the natural place for a sequel. The voice heard on this track is actually Sean Gundersen, one of the actors from the “Lucky” music video. Someday, I hope we can play “YES NO NO YES” live.
AG: I came across a thread on the internet, people talking how the end of the world would look like online (“Fear in real time”). The screenshot of that thread stayed in my phone, the thought of people trying to connect while being separated. Anthony Bourdain had just died, he’s quoted in the lyrics “It was all supposed to be more beautiful far more romantic and gentle still.” In a way the song cumulates in a sentiment that’s very sincere against cynicism, even if it’s too late at the end of the world.
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