TMG is pleased to present another introspective artist interview, this time with Gideon’s Army, the classic American rock band from the nexus of New York and New Jersey! The band has been playing live in New York and New Jersey and in October 2014 released their first full-length album entitled Burn for the Living, recorded in Woodmere, NY with producer Steven Wise.
Check out their music here!
If you absolutely love it and want to support the band, buy it here!
*NOW HERE’S OUR EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH GIDEON’S ARMY*
1. What’s your bands name? Where did the name come from?
I’ve liked the name Gideon for some time. It’s a strong name. I first heard the name in 2003 when I was told by my then girlfriend that her best friend was dating a guy named Gideon. “Cool name” I thought. Most of the bands I admire have strong names. The Rolling Stones, Black Crowes, Kings of Leon, Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, Led Zeppelin… Ultimately the name doesn’t matter, it’s the music. The Beatles picked just about the worst name you could ever pick, a combination of a corny pun and a bug that doesn’t really inspire affection in anyone, but nobody even considers that now. They just associate the name the Beatles with greatness.
2. The Yellow Collar Collective is all about the daily grind musicians go through to perfect their craft, what has been your biggest struggle and accomplishment as a musician?
Our biggest accomplishment is and will always be finding a group of people that genuinely loves coming together and creating and making music together. Our biggest struggle continues to be a lack of money. Money for equipment, for rehearsal time, studio time, tour support, marketing initiatives, videos…
3. What other instruments can you and your fellow band members play?
Matt our lead guitarist is also quite impressive on the piano, he can play everything from Chopin to ragtime on the keys. The first instrument I ever played was the violin, from the 2nd through the 5th grade, although I haven’t touched it since. I can also play my own songs on piano and thrash around a bit. Elissa our violinist also plays piano and cello and a few random other ones. Pablo our drummer is a percussionist, so if it can be banged on, he’ll bang on it and get your feet moving.
4. Why’d you start making music and why specifically did you choose your genre?
After getting to know each other it became obvious that we all discovered, at some point in our lives, that music was an integral part of who we were. We ended up in a rock band together because rock is the mutt of the genres. Jazz, blues, classical, funk, country, R&B etc… to a large degree are for purists. We’re too “contaminated” by varying influences to ever be anything but rock musicians.
5. Do you have any memorable musical experiences that have shaped who you guys are?
Matt and I have written three of our songs together as a direct result of technical malfunctions. For example, one sunny afternoon we we’re busking in Central Park when Matt’s little battery powered amp broke down. His Fender Strat became pretty useless. I gave him my acoustic to play and when we ran out of songs that we could play together with that arrangement he started improvising on my acoustic and I started improvising vocally while visitors to the park were passing by. That improvisation led to the creation of our song Oh, My My, which is a favorite of ours.
6. Have you ever released any albums or are working on any now? Any special projects?
I released an album entitled “Burn for the Living” before I met my current bandmates, with a producer named Steven Wise. We are eager to get into the studio again with some great hands and record an album together as a band.
7. Do you collaborate with other artists? Inside and outside your genre?
Inside and outside your genre? We are always actively looking for exceptional producers to work with and other musicians to play with but we are a committed and monogamous band and direct our creative energies into Gideon’s Army.
8. What venues and events have you performed at in the past five years? Which has been your favorite?
In New York City we have performed at Pianos, Fontana’s, Leftfield, Desmond’s Tavern, and The Bitter End. In New Jersey we have played Mexicali Live in Teaneck multiple times. Mexicali Live and Leftfield keep inviting us back, so our loyalties are with those venues. Downstairs at Leftfield is one of the coolest rock clubs in the city, I place I’d really love to hang out even if I wasn’t playing. And Mexicali Live is just one of the great live music rooms in the world. Great sound, great atmosphere, great burritos. Everything you need.
9. How do you acquire shows and promote yourself? Do you have any recommendations for other artists?
Make great music, package it straight-forwardly, and send friendly emails. Great music is the most important. If you can’t turn people on with your sound you’ve got nothing. So make sure you and others are responding to it with genuine excitement before you start approaching the industry. The other important truth is you can ruin everything by behaving like an asshole. Just look at most of your favorite bands.
10. Do you have any mottos?
Above all else, don’t act like an dick.
11. What artists inspire you?
Look at the goddamn Rolling Stones, still together and rocking out arenas 53 years later.
12. What’s next for your band?
We’re beginning to tour and we’re ecstatic about that. First stop is Friday night June 26th at PA’s Lounge in Boston. An event we’re doing with WEMF Radio and TurnStyle Music Group.
13. What do you do when you’re not listening to or making music?
Interestingly Matt and I were both Political Science/International Relations majors at college. We all love to travel and have an intense and passionate relationship with the world and it’s cultures. For better and worse Matt, Ellisa, and I all love a good drink, followed by a few more, a nice drunk and a good time. We love a good bar, good music, and some good friends. Elissa is getting her Master’s Degree in Music Education and plans on making that a big part of her life too. When Pablo is not playing drums, he is teaching drums. He also likes to work out and spend time with his girlfriend.
14. What’s your favorite song right now?
In the Summertime by Gideon’s Army. It’s that time of year :-)
Huge thank you to Gideon’s Army for taking his time to do this interview for all of us!
Check out more of Gideon’s Army through the links below!