Let’s do the mind warp again

Gazer to melt faces during Dayton stop

By Tim Anderl

Photo: Gazer perform on April 11 at Hole in the Wall; photo: Paul Schroder

If you weren’t knee deep in the sweaty indie action during the cacophonous and fearsome ’90s, it is probably hard to understand the sheer majestic, and ear-bleed inducing, volume and fury conjured by lush and angular rock gods like My Bloody Valentine, Sonic Youth and The Jesus Lizard. Truth be told, the touchstones brought to the genre by those forefathers laregely lay by the wayside these days, and there’s a noteable absence of that kind of belligerent, pulse-pounding act on the current indie landscape.

That is until Cincinnati’s Gazer entered the picture, resurrecting this kind of sound in creative and mind-warping ways. Dayton City Paper recently caught up with two members of the band, Erik Ziedses des Plantes and Michael Squeri, to discuss their unique approach, recent releases and forthcoming tour dates.

For those who are unfamiliar with Gazer, how would you describe your approach and sound?

Gazer is a noise punk band. When Michael and I first met up to start it, we had exchanged a long list of bands and specific sounds said bands had made we wanted to go for. On my end, I was interested in Isn’t Anything-era My Bloody Valentine, and how they synthesized hooks with, at times, disgusting amounts of sludge. I had also just finished collecting every Sonic Youth CD and found myself really drawn to that time spanning the end of their SST albums and before Washing Machine, as well as Kim Gordon’s bass tone on Goo and Dirty. We loved how tight and intricate the Minutemen were, and how they were a pretty no-frills trio – just one guitar, one bass and drums – with both the bassist and guitarist singing. Michael and I also love bands like The Jesus Lizard, The Drones, Shellac, The Ex, Daughters and Huggy Bear. We didn’t want to sound like any of these bands, and I’d like to think we’ve avoided such a thing, but I think we’re of a spirit with those sounds, that SST/Amphetamine Reptile, noise rock type sound. – Erik Ziedses des Plantes

When did you write, record and release your debut EP?

Erik and I spent a couple months writing a giant pile of riffs in my mom’s basement about a year and a half ago, out of which we put together our first couple songs. The bulk of the arranging was done as a full band, then a few more songs were written from scratch. It was recorded with our friend John Hoffman in about two days and released a few months later after we spent a considerable amount of time fussing with it. – Michael Squeri

You exchanged that for either a donation or free. Why not charge for it?

Well, the initial idea was to press Phone Commercial as a 7” until we got quotes and realized it wasn’t quite worth the investment given the fact we had only played a couple local shows at that point and no one really knew us. So, we made all these CD-Rs, which anyone downloading it could have done themselves, and then we felt weird charging people for not even ten minutes of music. As a purely getting-the-word-out kind of release, it’s been incredibly successful in generating interest to the point that vinyl releases have become viable. – MS

How did you meet Will Allard and what did he do to change the face of your latest effort, Fake Bulbs?

One of my favorite albums of 2013 was Gold by Anwar Sadat, an angry/angular Louisville post-punk band. I still think it’s one of the best sounding albums of last year: the drums hit hard, have a nice, open, live sound to them and the bass and guitar all sound really crisp and sharp without sounding over-compressed/artificial. So, I looked at who produced it, and saw Will’s name.

We played shows in October with Anwar Sadat. When they went back into the studio, they went with Will again. I began to pester them with text messages inquiring about Will’s rates/techniques, instead of just getting a contact for Will, like a total creepoid. Two days later, we had an email in our inbox from Will asking us what he could do for us. I wouldn’t say Will changed our face as much as he shot us from a different angle. I love how sharp and abrasive Phone Commercial sounds, but I am also floored at how huge and lush Will made us sound. – EZdP

When can we expect that to hit the streets?

We’re shooting for early summer. It’ll be pressed on 12” vinyl and released by Cincinnati’s Phratry Records. One side will be the Fake Bulbs EP, and the other side will be the Phone Commercial EP. – MS

The Dayton show is your first of many out-of-town jaunts. What are you looking forward to about those?

For the Dayton show, I am really looking forward to playing another show booked by Nick Hamby. He’s just a fantastic guy who I’ve always enjoyed working with when I get the chance, who plays in some great Dayton bands (Shut Up! And The Raging Nathans), and is doing a lot of great stuff for Dayton punk these days.

Later in April, we are working on locking down a return trip to Louisville and Nashville, where I look forward to seeing great friends and hopefully having some more great shows. We’re closing out the month with another trip to Columbus, and then we play Lobsterfest out in Athens, Ohio. At that, I am really looking forward to finally seeing Deerhoof! – EZdP

Gazer perform on Friday, April 11 at Hole In The Wall, 423 E. Fifth St. Doors at 9 p.m. Also on the bill are Skurt and Costanza. For more information, please visit gazerohio.bandcamp.com.

Tim Anderl is the web editor and a contributing writer at Ghettoblaster Magazine, and maintains his own music blog at youindie.com. Reach DCP freelance writer Tim Anderl at TimAnderl@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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