Gulfer Interview: “Best rule in life: laugh at yourself.”


Gulfer’s new album Dog Bless is out now via Topshelf Records and Big Scary Monsters.

Dog Bless is the third album from Montreal based math rock/emo quartet Gulfer. Released earlier this month via Topshelf Records and Big Scary Monsters, the LP sees the outfit refine their intricate and melodic sound. While the songs remain detailed and sinuous, there is also a new found focus on concision and immediacy. For our money, this makes for the group’s most accomplished and engrossing effort to date.

After digesting these jams for nearly a month, we spoke to the band about the importance of humour, ArcTanGent, and pineapple on pizza.

Overblown: One of my favourite tracks on the new record is ‘Baseball’. What inspired that song musically and lyrically?

Vincent:: I’d say this song is about questioning choices that people make in life in a playful way, like making fun of people who constantly water their lawn or driveway every day, even though everyone knows that it is pretty useless to waste that much water in the end. Same for the teenagers who just got their first car and want to impress their friends and so they drive 100km an hour in a residential neighborhood and crash their car into someone’s house, kill one of their friends and run away to get arrested later (referring to an incident that happened in my girlfriend’s parents neighborhood).

Overblown: It seems to me that it is important to the band to have a playfulness. With an album title like Dog Bless and song titles like ‘Jody Froster’, humour seems to be an important aspect of the band. Why is that?

Vincent: Best rule in life: be able to laugh and more importantly laugh at yourself. I just read an interview with Thundercat where he says that being able to laugh is going to be the key to 2018, because that shit is about to get really funny. Everyone is so stiff, judgy and stressed out by their daily jobs and responsibilities so that if you can’t use self-mockery, life is going to pretty hard and make you miserable.

Overblown: You will be appearing at ArcTanGent in Bristol this summer. We’ll be there too and the festival is, for our money, one of the best on the planet! Have you played it/been there before? Excited?

David: This will be our second time at ArcTanGent! I’ve been admiring the festival for years as a huge fan of math/post-rock, so to be able to play on such an awesome lineup in 2016 was a major milestone. It seems like the only festival in the world that caters so specifically to our genre of music and I can’t wait to come back this year and see Tangled Hair, Foxing, Svalbard, PBTT, Giraffes? Giraffes!, Glassjaw and so many others. Hopefully, it doesn’t rain too much!

Overblown: Outside of music, what inspires you to create?

Vincent: Skateboarding videos, my kids, staring at people on the subway or being 13 hours in a sweaty van with the pals.

Overblown: The are three instrumentals on the record called ‘Blessed pt 1’, Blessed pt 2’ and ‘Blessed pt 3’ on the album. What is their purpose on the record? Why include them?

David: The “Blessed” interludes were a collaboration between my two musical projects, Gulfer and Bas Relief. They were a really fun way to write outside of our comfort zone and I think they act as a neat way of dividing the record up and giving listeners a bit of a palate cleanser. We had no overt plan when we wrote them and I hope that casual, organic approach comes across in an authentic way.

Overblown: It seems to me that the music on the new album is more focused on concise and direct songwriting than your previous releases. Is that fair? Was that intentional?

Vincent: I think that it was a natural evolution of our general sound. Our sound has been changing through each release but I’d say that we are maybe more focused on supporting the hooks in the songs than before, we kinda didn’t really know our roles or how to arrange those weird mathy-pop songs and now we are able to find a balance between the riffs, the vocal hooks through our good ol’ unique song structures.

Overblown: You guys are from Montreal. Any chance of any songs in French?

Vincent: It would way easier for us to make money that’s for sure! But since I started singing I was never able to find myself comfortable singing in French as most of the music I listen to is from the States, that’s what is driving me, that’s what speaks to me. I’d be down to rap in French if someone writes a verse for me tho!

Overblown: Pineapple on pizza. Ya or nay?

Vincent: NAY!

David + Joey: YA!

Julien: ??

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