an interview with Goes Cube
Goes Cube (Kenny, David, Matt)
Goes Cube, are, to quote El-P circa Company Flow, "independent as fuck". Self-funded, self-booked, and self-taught, Goes Cube released their first LP, Another Day Has Passed via The End earlier this year after a string of three self-released EPs. Much like the rave reviews suggest, Goes Cube have delivered an excellent record that touches on post-hardcore and metal all while holding true to melody.
On the heels on that killer LP, we invited Goes Cube to play the Brooklyn Vegan Day Party at Fontana's on 10/23, and decided to throw a couple questions their way. The results...
Goes Cube is an NYC band, so I'm sure you have seen your share of great performances during CMJ. Any favorite CMJ memories?
David Obuchowski: The first year we were formally part of CMJ was 2006. That year, I set up a number of day parties, one of which was Goes Cube, Foreign Islands, Read Yellow, and Jake Brennan. Shout Out Out Out was supposed to play but they literally couldn't fit their gear down in the venue (Julep). Fun show, and it was a great opportunity for us to play with much bigger bands. The lesson learned is that bands of all sizes want to play a lot of shows during CMJ and SXSW. Book it yourself. Things are way different from when we were teenagers, but that aspect has never changed.
Kenny Appell: Hull in '07
You guys have done quite a few smaller tours, but do you think that Goes Cube would ever be up for something larger scale?
DO: Sure, and we'd love to. We've gone a number of month-long tours already. We've played Canada, we've criss-crossed the country. But at the same time, we've never made it to some places in the US such as Florida, Oregon, Washington state. Our record's gotten great reviews over there and we've been lucky enough to have folks ask us to come play shows. At this point, it's a matter of logistics and assistance.
Matt Tyson: Really hoping to get to the UK early next year.
You recently replaced founding bassist (and your best friend) Matt Frey, with Matt Tyson. Tyson has gone on tour with you guys and even recorded a documentary that is still to come. Was the choice based on ability, friendship or influences or a combination of all three? What do you feel like Tyson brings to the table that Frey doesnt?
KA: As far as replacement choice was concerned, David and I had a list of four people in the entire city we were considering. All four were very VERY close friends. I just think we knew the only way the band would continue was if the three members were dear friends. It was founded by two college buddies. I was added almost three years later, having been close friends and a musical collaborator with David in HS. And our decision had everything to do with friendship and potential, rather than abilities. The two Matt's have distinctly different styles of playing bass. More importantly they both have amazing styles of being amazing human beings.
Goes Cube with Matt Frey (right)
DO: Matt Tyson and Matt Frey are incredibly different bass players. The cool thing is that, really, neither of them were bass players before Goes Cube. Tyson was a guitar and keyboard player. But we figured, hell, why not try bass. We're all self-taught, so that fits.
In terms of how they differ, I want to go on and on about this music type stuff that I don't know will really translate outside of my head. So let me put it this way. I'm a huge Stephen King fan. Matt Frey, as a bassist, is like Richard Bachman: angry, brutal, and stripped down. Matt Tyson is like Stephen King: Sometimes angry, sometimes brutal, but not nearly as stripped down. And I don't mean to say that Matt Tyson is like Matt Frey plus more. He's not. They're entirely different. I love them both. Appropriately, the music has changed somewhat since Tyson joined the band. I think it has in a way that makes sense for us.
So what is the story on the documentary you have in the works?
DO: It was all set to be edited and then what happened? We got signed, had a member leave, and had the documentarian himself join the damn band. So the scope is much bigger now, and we're in the process of fleshing some things out, filling in some missing footage, and information, and are aiming to start cutting it rather soon.
MT: When I started the documentary, I thought I was going to be making something that was all "indie band goes on tour, gets signed, much rejoicing." Then I shot waaay too much footage, which will ultimately be a good thing, and the band finished the tour in '07 without being signed. The story wasn't over, so I intended to keep shooting from time to time... now, over two years later, with Goes Cube having signed to The End records, released a debut full-length, and replaced an original member with ME, the person making the film... well, there's still much story to tell and I'm working on figuring out how to make the switch from behind the camera to in front of it. Likely this will entail finding a new director. The intent wasn't to make an indie rock Hoop Dreams, but it's turned into something entirely different than what I'd originally planned.
In alot of ways, your music fits comfortable between the indie and heavier grooves, much like Pissed Jeans, Fucked Up, etc. Who are some indie bands that you look to and why?
DO: Indie bands, or any bands, that I look up to have nothing at all to do with what kind of music they play. Some of our best friends are in Jones Street Station. They play some Wilco-like music. I think we respect bands that we know as people, and we admire them for various reasons. The two dudes in Austerity Program are geniuses, and they're family focused people, and they're mindblowingly good. As a married man who aspires to be smart and a good father and a good husband, this is inspiring. I could care less if you can do sweep-arpeggios if you treat people like shit.
MT: There are a ton of metal bands on indie labels we all love, but for me personally, it's Sonic Youth. They've been able to do it all - different styles of music, an artistic legacy, lineup changes, played as a band for 25+ years, indie/DIY/major label and back-again - they're like the poster child for what I see as what it means to be successful as a band. And I'm not anything close to what I'd call "a Sonic Youth fan."
Did I tell you that David Obuchowski loves The Who?
Do you feel like the indie community doesnt give heavier bands a fair shake?
KA: I think the heavier bands have actually been enjoying more of a "vogue" lately. At least compared to two or three years ago, when it was all dance stuff and keyboards. Being a trio, we used to play with bands who couldn't fit all their shit on the f'n stage. Nowadays, we find ourselves jamming with more trio's and even some duos. So, the streamlined band in NY seems to be rising again. I look up to former NY trio Prong quite a bit. They were a trio when there weren't that many. Melvins too. As far as indie bands these days, i've always leaned toward the heavy side of things. Always have. Not even sure i'd call them indie bands. Not sure i'd call Goes Cube an indie band based on what we've been writing the last 12-15 months.
DO: In terms of the indie community and heavy music, well... it depends. Six years ago when we started? Hell no. How about three years ago when things really started ramping up for us (which was when Kenny joined the band)? No. How about now that Mastodon is playing with Dethklok? Yeah, probably. Let's face it, when bands like Sunn o))) start acheiving something close to mainstream popularity, that means there's some kind of shift in tastes. In other words, a new trend. And the whole notion that the indie community should somehow behave different than the mainstream community is, I think, also bullshit. Honestly, I don't even think there's such thing as an indie community. I think there are scenes. And I think, sadly, most scenes are elitist and closed-minded. Especially here in NYC. But I think as the metal trend comes in, it will allow heavier bands to get a more "fair shake." (Though, nothing's very fair when it comes to music.)
MT: I do and I don't think the indie community gives heavier bands a fair shake. I think there's been this drawn-out castration of indie-rock that's seen artists like Beirut, Andrew Bird, Final Fantasy, and the like come to define a large part of what "indie-rock" is, and that's just nonsense. There's very little that's "rock" about these kinds of artists. Still, even if they don't listen to heavy/loud music on their own time... I do think that your average group of indie fans is quite a bit more open-minded than many of the genre-specific metal/hardcore/punk types out there. Meaning, we'd do a lot better sharing a bill with an indie band like Clues than we might playing to a crowd that's there to see 4 other straight up punk bands (this is a real-life example).
You guys have been playing shows in NYC for a very long time. That said, who do you think is currently the most underrated band in the city?
DO: Every single Hull, Jones Street Station, Freshkills, and Austerity Program show should be sold out. The Giraffes should be on a major label, all of them millionaires, and sending us money. The Gospel ought to still be together and taking us on tour. And if the A Storm of Light record release show isn't sold out (11/18 @ Ace Of Clubs), then add them to the list of bands who are underrated, too. There are others.
MT: Goes Cube
KA: The Strokes
pic by Bryan Bruchman
Another Day Has Passed is an excellent record, possibly one of the most underrated of the year so far. Do you guys have any new tunes that you have been working on lately and if so, are there any plans to record in the near future?
DO: First of all, thank you. We've been humbled by the reviews we've gotten. Our next record is almost entirely written, and while it will mostly be recorded in December, we are recording two songs. The record is once again being produced by Dean Baltulonis. This record is going to make sense as a follow up to ADHP, but it will be different. For one, heavier songs on ADHP (like "Bluest Sky") wouldn't be among the heaviest songs on the new record. We've actually been playing a lot of the material live these last last two months, and the response has been great.
Here's something else: One of the tracks will feature an amazing guest vocalist. We're huge fans of hers. But her music is entirely different, and she couldn't be further from the heavy/metal genre. In fact, for a half a year we were trying to get in touch with her, and she thought we were fucking with her. Like we were mocking her: Oh, yeah, your music is SO good. Finally, I cornered her at a show and said, hey, we love your music, and she was like, wow?! you do?! You're serious? Now, we're fortunate enough to have her onboard for a song.
We may do a pre-release or promo-release or maybe even a 7-inch (if someone wants to help) featuring a couple songs before the LP is released, which we hope will be in the spring and on The End Records again.
Prior to Another Day Has Passed, you have released several EPs on your own. Do you feel that being part of a label has benefited you?
DO: Being a part of a label has been a wonderful thing for two reasons. The first, and the most simple, is that there are certain practicalities. Our self-releases were by necessity, and they were hastily planned and not at all marketed. We never wanted to run our own label. For Another Day Has Passed, The End Records treated us very well and were incredibly helpful. But the second reason is something else: We're all, in rock and roll years, old. I'm the baby of the band at a mere 30. When we were growing up, we didn't have email or blogs or iTunes or anything like that. Back then, a label was a huge deal. New Bomb Turks were on Crypt Records. Thus, all records by all bands on Crypt Records were worth buying. If I didn't like it, then I didn't buy that band's next one. Ditto Dischord, Touch & Go, Sub Pop, Merge, K, Earache, Roadrunner, Thrill Jockey, Get Hip, EVR, and a bunch of others. I mean, even some major labels like DGC had cachet! Because of that, we have ALL had one goal since we were kids: GET SIGNED TO A GREAT LABEL. Well, I can tell you, back in 2007 when the four of us were doing a cross country tour, we listened to Agollach a lot. We looked up to Made Out Of Babies. Those are End Records bands. So when we signed with The End Records, we literally realized a lifelong dream, and goal.
Will you release your next LP with The End?
DO: We certainly hope to. We're excited for The End to put our next record, and we're hope they're just as excited about it.
Walter Schriefels is playing [played] our MHOW show and you have said that you take cues from Quicksand in your own music. That said, what is your favorite Schriefels era? GB, Quicksand, Rival Shools/Worlds Fastest Car, etc?
DO: Gonna be either GB or Quicksand. Maybe a little more Quicksand, as it's a little more dynamic. That's not to say United By Fate isn't a nearly perfect album. Why the hell aren't we playing that show?!
MT: This might be blasphemy, but I'm going to say Rival Schools. That United by Fate record came out right after I moved to NYC and listening to it now, after not hearing it for years, puts me right back in that time and place.
KA: For me, Quicksand without a doubt. maybe in HS i would have said GB, but i definitely identify with Quicksand. When he plays your MHOW show, ask him why the F he didn't resurrect Quicksand instead of RS.
another old picture - old lineup
People would be surprised I love listening to:
DO: I don't know if anyone really has any presumptions about what I listen to. But would it surprise anyone to know that I absolutely love "Terrapin Station" (the song...not so much the whole album) by the Grateful Dead?
Loathe listening to:
DO: Some of the bands we're compared to. I will not name names. The music business is screwed up enough without bands talking shit about each other.
MT: Dirty Projectors
Fave albums this year:
DO: Isis "Wavering Radiant", Hull "Sole Lord", Jones Street Station "In Verses"
KA: Mastodon (Crack the Skye). I'm looking forward to Converge (Axe to Fall). Dalek (Gutter Tactics). my brain isn't working. what else? oh shit, Jones Street Station (In Verses).
MT: Baroness, ISIS, Apollo Ghosts, Polvo, A Place To Bury Strangers, and Micachu & the Shapes. There are a bunch more, but these were the first that came to mind.
What shows do you have coming up?
10/23 at Trash. Our CMJ showcase. Truthfully, I know nothing about the bill or the sponsors (if there are any).
10/29 we play with the Unawares - an amazing band from Columbia, South Carolina. Along with Rumanian Buck (mems of Big Sleep, Giraffes, Freshkills, Beat The Devil), and Elyas Khan (of Nervous Cabaret).
11/3 we play an all ages hardcore/grindcore at Cakeshop with Descender, Outbreak, Violent Bullshit, Hour of the Wolf.
11/13 we play at Bard w/ Freshkills and Dark Vibe (Jayson of Panthers' new band). Watch out art school kids, we're coming for you
11/18 we play the record release show for A Storm of Light at Ace of Clubs.
12/3 we play the Tones of Death/RED Metal showcase w/ Cable. (This is Matt's birthday, come get drunk with us)
We are playing with so many good bands in the next month a half, it's incredible. And scary. Gonna be such an honor to say that we've played with A Storm of Light and Cable. But man, we can't wait for the day party on the 23rd!