An interview with: Gulf

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Liverpool has spawned many a quality bands over the years, the latest of which comes in the form of psychedelic dream-pop duo Gulf. We had a chat with them about their latest material and their influences in music.

When did you first get into music? What or who Inspired you?

Disco has been a staple from as far back as we can remember, some jazz, some psych and some hip-hop influences blended together and that’s us. We were both born into families with great vinyl collections and when there’s a copy of MJ’s Thriller lying around, everyone’s having a good time and we’re getting an understanding of what great music sounds like.

Who did you grow up listening to, and does that impact on what you create now?

We grew up listening to Michael Jackson, Chic, Stevie Wonder, Earth Wind and Fire. Then we discovered bands like Daft Punk, the Wu-Tang Clan, Jamiroquai and Dungen. They definitely have an effect on our songwriting approach.

How long have you been playing/writing?

We’ve been writing together for around six years now.

How often do you play live?

After playing a gig every other week last year, we took some time off to record our album. Over the next few months we’ll be back at it again with some new material and we’re really excited about that.

What has been your favourite moment in music?

We’ve got a few of these, sharing a stage with The Flaming Lips at Liverpool Sound City, supporting Echo and the Bunnymen and TOPS, who we’re huge fans of. Our Maida Vale live session for Radio 1 with Huw Stephens was pretty special too.

Where is the best place to find you online?

You can find us on Soundcloud and Spotify, just search for ‘Gulfmusic’

Links:

https://en-gb.facebook.com/gulfmusicuk/

https://twitter.com/gulfmusicuk

In conversation with: John Dylan

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Unsigned Interviews were lucky enough to be in conversation with dream-pop artist, John Dylan, who talks about his influences, his earliest memories of music and his song writing. Check out the the new video for ‘Get Beyond’ at the bottom!

When did you first get into music? What or who Inspired you?

I don’t remember when I first got into music. I have tapes from when I was 4 or so where I am hosting a “radio show” (i.e. recording into a tape deck). I play records from the likes of The Police, Michael Jackson, The Specials, The Ramones, Marshall Crenshaw, and Sesame Street. I also go from there to playing songs I made up this portable little harmonium, and playing my toy drum set along to the records. My parents both play a little guitar and liked to put on Austin City Limits and VHS tapes of concerts and play records around the house. I just don’t remember it not being that way. 

 

Who did you grow up listening to, and does that impact on what you create now?

I was too young to enjoy the grunge explosion in person, really… I was in 6th grade or so when Nevermind came out and was underage for the entire 90s. And where I was, which was Tulsa, Oklahoma, was pretty musically desolate. But that kicked things off, I suppose. From there I fell into this rabbit hole as a teenager… Starting with the cooler music blocks on MTV (Alternative Nation, 120 Minutes, Yo! MTV Raps), then into music press (Spin, Alternative Press, Flipside, Maximumrockandroll), then writing for music press (reviewing records for Foxy Digitalis and Punk Planet) and getting into the tape labels (like Shrimper, Catsup Plate, Union Pole, Sing Eunuchs, and Cactus Gum, which I helped out at). At that low of a level, getting a compilation from one of those labels was like MTV — a great sampler of what that label was about. Then you’d send concealed cash and a note and get a handmade tape and a note back. It was wonderful, and personal, and interactive.

I suppose when you vacillate between writing about music and putting other people’s music out, conversing and working with musicians, and then making your own music, it all seems very accessible and like the artifice of pop and the barriers between performer and audience are really stifling and silly. I had very good exposure to people who both took music seriously and took the music industry very unseriously, and who weren’t afraid to do it themselves. I really want to live in that space; in my heart of hearts the democratization of music is really my goal. My hope is that by recording the album at home with me playing all the instruments, self-releasing it, and making the multi-track stems open source, that I am living up to the ethos of DIY and the conversation between artist and listener being 2-way. I want so much to connect with people through this music. In part because in other parts of my life I feel sort of isolated, but also because I genuinely believe that personal contact with the musician makes the healing power of music much more effective. 

 

How long have you been playing/writing?

As “b-sides” for my first single, I made this 60-track montage of my entire life in recordings. I count that time, which starts in 1993, as the beginning. At the beginning of the montage my guitar playing is very feeble and it progresses from there. Since I got started with drums much earlier, that was always more solid. But whatever might have been going on beforehand, I wasn’t writing any songs until ’93, ’94.  

 

How often do you play live (include details and links for any upcoming gigs)?

I actually just finished assembling the lineup for our live band so you’ll have to stay tuned. Shows will always be on the front page of john.audio.

 

What has been your favourite moment in music?

I like the beginnings of new ideas. The birth of Rock N’ Roll with Chuck Berry. The British invasion and The Beatles. Early reggae tracks, early punk tracks, early new wave, early alternative, early g-funk rap, the ascendance of instrumental post-rock. If you grow up with music at a young age you start to get a little numb to ideas that you’ve heard before. I can’t really choose a favourite from all of these, but if we want to talk “formative,” I can say that if you watch the documentary 1991 the Year Punk Broke, try to imagine a 12-year-old me taking all that in and having my mind blown.

I am also very attracted to heavily political music, particularly when that music is offering higher critiques than some contemporary statement on a current event. With something like Bob Dylan’s “It’s Alright Ma, I’m Only Bleeding,” I feel like the better nature of man is being revealed — that a moral universe can exist where we have moved on from our cynical political leadership and we care about getting things right. Also John Lennon’s “Imagine,” and Operation Ivy’s “Here We Go Again.” Not accidentally, I am working with Klaus Voormann, who played bass on “Imagine,” and Jesse Michaels, who was the singer/lyricist of Operation Ivy, on my project as well (they are contributing album and single artwork). I was honored when they agreed. I really see them as complete packages — multimedia talents who worked on music that had the clearest vision of the human condition that I know about — people that are heroes to me. I’m trying to do this all in the best and most meaningful way I know how. I can’t pinpoint that to a moment so much as people through which the right ideals shined.

 

Where is the best place to find you online?

john.audio is my site and links to all my social media. Look for John Dylan on IndabaMusic.com and start remixing my music. Or John Dylan on pretty much anything (Bandcamp, YouTube, etc). 

Links

https://www.facebook.com/johndylanaudio/

https://twitter.com/johndylanaudio

https://www.instagram.com/johndylanaudio/

https://johndylanaudio.tumblr.com/

http://john.audio/