“ When the band first got popularity in 2015, we had a lot of Indian fans who started following the band right away. We have a huge fan base in India so I’m really excited to see what it’ll be like when we come there! ”
Exhibit: What shaped your interest in music?
Greg Gonzalez: I didn’t really like formal lessons for music at all. I learnt music by listening to records and learning songs off of records by ear. When I was very young, I was listening to MJ and around that time, I started writing and singing immediately. So for me, there was no alternative; I just had to play music.
Exhibit: What does performing on tours feel like?
Greg Gonzalez: It’s amazing! It could be a little rough going around all the time but seeing the fan following, different people who come to see us no matter where they’re from, who share the same passion and love as we do in many ways is great! We have a great fanbase and it’s one of the biggest compliments to us.
Exhibit: What do you think about the pressure to go commercial now that you have amassed so much popularity?
Greg Gonzalez: Yes, of course, there is some kind of pressure if you want to become more successful or bigger but for me, I never really block myself with a barrier. I do what’s best for my song. I don’t do anything to please the audience; I ultimately try to please myself and I’m pretty confident that what works for me will work with the audience, and that whatever I do will be very genuine.
Exhibit: What kicks in the creative juices?
Greg Gonzalez: I am sort of writing all the time because I’ve got a melody in my mind and I keep thinking about it. My mind is filled with music all the time. But if I have to write a piece of music, I’ll just sit at night with a guitar, make myself a cup of tea, have a film running in the background to take images from and build on them. This helps if I’m having a tough time writing.
Exhibit: Your songs are so explicit but they do not sound vulgar. How do you keep the balance?
Greg Gonzalez: The way you speak to your friends or your lover is actually very everyday language. But it comes down to how it is to be framed for it to not sound vulgar, and so as an artist it’s a little hard. The main difference for me as an artist is figuring out whether it is sounding sweet or vulgar.
Exhibit: What’s your backstory- do you write music to share your stories with the world or to vent?
Greg Gonzalez: I think it’s a way to let out how I’m feeling. I’m really shy; I don’t talk a lot or share my feelings a lot so all these emotions build up inside me and I have to find a way to let them out or I’ll go crazy. It’s actually out of necessity.
Exhibit: Have you ever considered writing about some other emotion/topic?
Greg Gonzalez: I’ve written different styles and tried setting a different mood but writing about love is what has stayed with me and I think I will stay with it for a while. Even if it’s not so literal like K or Sunsetz that were drawn from real memories, I can always write songs like Apocalypse about memories of people I know. It’s a dream I invented based on girls I dated. I didn’t really go crashing on a bridge, right? It’s just my style so I don’t think I will ever stop writing about love; it’s what I’m passionate about writing. I don’t think I will ever run out of ways to do that.
Exhibit: Which one of your own songs is the closest to your heart?
Greg Gonzalez: I think I’m a Firefighter is a song I always come back to because it was written in a very dark place when a relationship was ending. The imagery of the song is very strong; the clothing, the amusement parks, just when you need someone’s love and you’re addicted to them.
Exhibit: Tell me about your highest high and your lowest low.
Greg Gonzalez: The best moment has been when I met my favourite singer Francoise Hardy in Paris, something I had dreamt about for years. We talked to her and she was very nice, it was surreal! She told me we were one of her favourite bands. The lowest was probably my first year in New York. It was snowing and so cold, and I got Cigarettes to perform at this place and there was literally no one in the audience so we didn’t play eventually.
Exhibit: If any one of your songs would have to describe your current state of mind, which one would it be?
Greg Gonzalez: It’s a lyric piece from Affection that goes – ‘‘Sometimes we talk all night long and we don’t shut up.’’ It just defines how I feel when I’m in a relationship and on tour because sometimes that is all we can do; talk on the phone so we’re always texting or talking to keep up with each other.
Exhibit: You write so much about love, romance and heartbreaks. Can you describe the perfect woman for you?
Greg Gonzalez: For me, it’ll have to be someone considerate. It’s such a red flag for me if she’s not. It’s such an important thing that it would turn me off even if I was attracted to her in other ways. Someone who’s very kind, does things for others from the heart because she cares for other people and wants them to be happy. That’s the perfect kind of girl for me. Also someone who can make me laugh for sure; she’s got have a great sense of humour! So that’s my imagination; very technical (laughs).
Exhibit: Your favourite place to perform?
Greg Gonzalez: We just played in France right by the beach and it was so beautiful! We saw the sun come down and listened to the waves crashing on so it was great!
Exhibit: How do you like to spend your downtime?
Greg Gonzalez: Right now, it’ll have to be sleeping in because we never get to sleep. So just relaxing, lying in my bed, watching movies and having a cup of coffee.
Exhibit: Can you describe a day in your life for me?
Greg Gonzalez: It’s pretty much what it is- wake up at 9 am, get on the road at 10 am, check in a flight to go to another city or drive to another city, get there and go to the venue to start setting up, do the soundcheck, do interviews, have dinner or do a show, take pictures and then there are after-parties most of the time to celebrate. Sometimes, I get to write too but not a lot while on tour.
Exhibit: Are you a Tech lover?
Greg Gonzalez: Yes, technology is something I always look forward to because I love to know what’s happening, learn about the latest headphones or cellphones, stuff for our guitars, stuff we can use in the studio or in the concerts. Technology helps make things so much easier and efficient!
Exhibit: How are social media and digital streaming impacting the music scene?
Greg Gonzalez: Social media has been nothing but an advantage for us. It’s so important because we were unsigned by a record for a long time. Digital streaming is only 10 years old or something. Even though artists were much more well-sustained when they were selling copies and making money as opposed to now when they’re struggling, I think it’ll catch up sooner or later. The cool thing is that it’s convenient because it’s more accessible. I remember struggling to get myself so many records when I was small but couldn’t get a hold of because they were out of print.
Exhibit: Most useful tech gadget.
Greg Gonzalez: Honestly, the craziest thing I bought to listen to music when I travel are the noise cancellation headphones. They’re really helpful and a great piece of gadget.
Exhibit: Your favourite smartphone app.
Greg Gonzalez: There’s this really cool app I use called Vivino because I like wine a lot. All you do is take a picture of the Wine bottle and the app scans it and tells you how good it is. So it’s really cool, I use it pretty often.
Exhibit: One thing on the Bucket list for you and the band?
Greg Gonzalez: Honestly, it’ll have to be playing on SNL. I grew up watching Saturday Night Live for the longest time since I was a kid and all the greatest bands have played on it so I would love to play on the show some time.
Exhibit: Will your next album be along the same lines?
Greg Gonzalez: Yes, it’ll be about love for sure! That’s how we’ve established our band.
“ I think music is a way to let out how I’m feeling. I don’t talk a lot or share my feelings a lot so all these emotions build up inside me and I have to find a way to let them out or I’ll go crazy. It’s actually out of necessity. ”
Exhibit: Any advice for aspiring musicians?
Greg Gonzalez: No matter what, you just have to keep trying.
Exhibit: One thing you now know that your 15-years-old self needed to know.
Greg Gonzalez: When you’ll go on tour, you’ll have to take care of yourself and your body. Just keep an eye out of yourself and you’ll be happy.
Exhibit: What are you looking forward to seeing or experiencing at your first show at NH7 Weekender in India?
Greg Gonzalez: I’m really excited because honestly when the band first got popularity in 2015, we had a lot of Indian fans who started following the band right away. We have a huge fan base in India and a lot of fans request us to ‘come to India, come to India’. A lot of them even come to our shows so it’ll be amazing and I’m really excited to see what it’ll be like!
Exhibit: Any message for your fans in India?
Greg Gonzalez: We love India and we cannot wait to finally come!