In the diluted world of music, it’s nice to see a group testing the waters, using original, surf inspiration to create a soulful and rhythmic, hazy-meets-punk sound. The Gloomies have been playing together for about a year and have no intention of slowing as they anticipate the release of their upcoming “Blackout EP”.
DiscoverSD recently sat down with band members Andrew Craig, Blake Martz, Chris Trombley and Grant Martz to chat about their upcoming tour plans and the effects a saturated music scene has on creating new sounds.
Q: How long have The Gloomies been playing together?
AC: Since June. Chris and I just moved back in June from New York, so that’s when the band kind of started up. All of our buddies in New York knew Cory Stier (of Soda Bar) and so we just happened to meet a bunch of them there and then had this connection to San Diego when we came back.
Q: You all live in San Diego now... Where are you originally from?
AC: I’m from Encinitas, these two (Grant Martz, Blake Martz) are from Lake Havasu and Chris is from Northern California.
Q: How could you compare the scene here in San Diego to New York?
AC: Basically there’s a lack of a music scene here, and it’s kind of nice. Me and Chris were both in New York for a while, and I think we moved back out here for the exact opposite of New York. I don’t personally think there’s a big music or arts scene, I think it’s bigger than when I left originally but it’s mainly a surf culture here. Cory at Soda Bar does a lot of stuff, and has created a scene I think, but besides that, it’s a lot of bands from out of town. It’s easy to think it’s something when you’re inside the bubble, though.
CT: When you live in New York, it’s like you’re in this sea of everyone in a band every night of the week and it’s too much after a while.
Q: Are you guys currently touring in promotion of your upcoming “Blackout EP”?
AC: Not so much yet, but in May we are hoping to tour, but that’s to be announced.
GM: We will be playing The Observatory April 6 in Santa Ana with the Tops next and then a show at Shaper Studios on May 7.
BM: We’re playing In-Ko-Pah too. In the middle of the desert? The In-Ko-Pah Festival. I don’t really know where it is.
CT: Yeah, and so the new album will be released on April 1, April Fools’ Day.
About the brewery
The Gloomies are sipping on brews at Culture Brewing on Newport Avenue in Ocean Beach, which opened in 2014. OB is the brewery’s satellite tasting room, with the original location in Solana Beach.
Q: So, is the new album a joke?
CT: Yeah, it’s a joke, it doesn’t exist. That’s the joke. No, it does.
GM: (Checks Google) In-Ko-Pah is mountains are one of the peninsular ranges near the U.S. border with Mexico in Southern California. So, yeah, definitely the desert.
Q: Back to the EP, what’s it looking like? People keep saying it’s “so different.”
GM: It’s funny people do keep saying that, and it’s kind of like what did you expect? The same? I think what’s changing now is there’s an influence of us all being together, it doesn’t change the songs we make, but it does change our process and our production. The songs have the same spirit and are the same at core.
AC: You look at artists like Tame Impala, and he has a different sound but it’s still a Tame Impala song clearly. It still has that recognizable, sameness.
GM: Right, if it’s different and people like it and we were able to change and be better, that’s what you want. So our reaction is kind of like, “It’s different? Good, thank God.”
Q: Where does that unique surf sound you utilize come from?
CT: We actually get a lot of the surf sound inspiration from things created over 30 years ago, like clips from surf videos that are incredibly hard to find the credits for.
GM: It’s a lot of situations where you find this great guitar rift or something and you have to listen to it a million times to research to try to find it anywhere else and sometimes you can’t, but you create something along those lines. Also, we get inspiration from Beach Girl and the Monsters.
BM: That’s kind of a joke, but kind of serious. Really, the old-school California surf culture is sick. It was like an actual rebel subculture we had that was just there and happened.
Q: What’s the best part about creating music with each other right now?
GM: I would guess the best part about it is actually being able to look at each other in the eye while it’s happening, while we play instead of sending stuff across the country.
CT: Yeah, with that comes playing a bunch of new stuff at shows because it use to be we had a set list, we would practice that list and then I’d fly out and play. Now, we have more room to create.
AC: The band is more of a band now, too. A lot of bands aren’t even that, it’s sometimes just one guy and he does everything and that’s cool but we are trying to be a band, together, cohesively.
Q: Is there a musical career path you’d like to emulate?
GM: It’s all so saturated now that it’s impossible to emulate one path, there’s so many different paths to take and it’s all over the place now. It’s not like you sell records to be successful anymore.
CT: Yeah, I mean basically you used to try to get the gold record and now you try to play in the rooms that the people who got gold records played in.
Q: So, who do you look to for music inspiration?
BM: Yo Yo Ma. I listen to the classical station on the radio because it’s the only one with no commercials. “104.9 F.M. - The greatest music on Earth.” We use to joke about Yo Yo Ma because Joe Devola kicked Kramar in the head on this Seinfield episode. So Kramer’s been all addled and he just exclaims “Yo Yo Ma!” randomly and we use to say it a lot, and now I’m actually listening to him.
GM: I have been listening to a lot of Bossa Nova recently. I found a quartet from Spain too that does great Bossa Nova covers and are really good, too.
AC: I think bad places in my life or something that happens, music of others doesn’t really inspire me. I listen to a bit of everything and it kind of gets me through and maybe inspires me, but it’s not like a distinct thing.
CT: I’m pretty sparse right now. I’m burned out on relevant stuff, but I do really like the new David Bowie album that came out.
Q:What are you looking to do with The Gloomies ultimately?
AC: We want to go on tour and be as big as people want us to be. We’re not against that at all - I don’t think anyone is. We would like to make money off this, not in the sense of selling out, but full-time job status. I don’t want to have to do anything else, like fixing equipment.
GM: I’m not saying I want to be Beyoncé or anything, but it comes to a point where you don’t want to keep doing jobs while you’re putting in so much time working on good songs. We just want to make good songs, not be a one-city band and just grow.
To learn more about The Gloomies or find out about out their upcoming shows, check out their Facebook page.