There’s a lot of music out there that I really admire for its ability to aid my focus. Music that’s a great background track for work, study, reading, or writing. It’s gentle, quiet, has a little tempo– but not too much– and unobtrusive instrumentals. Sometimes there are words, sometimes there are not. But when you turn this music on, it puts you in “the zone.”
The By Gods “Get On Feelings” is the exact opposite of that music.
There’s nothing relaxing about The By Gods. The drums are loud, the bass sears, and the vocals are blunt and assuming. The first time through the album, that’s all you can focus on, the sound. It’s a genuinely classic rock sound– there are no frills to “Get On Feelings–” it has an air of nostalgia, but it stays fresh and relevant. It’s easy to lose yourself in it, and even though the songs address themes like getting older, the music itself brings you back in time, somehow it makes you feel younger. It’s loud, it’s obtrusive, it’s the kind of music you can only listen to with the volume turned up full blast, it’s fun. And while there’s nothing relaxing about “Get On Feelings,” there is something overwhelmingly therapeutic about it, maybe it’s the energy of the whole thing (even the more morose songs make you want to dance a little), or the fact that there’s so much music happening that for a little while, you don’t have to focus on your own life’s problems. That quality of music is a rare occurrence, and a welcome one.
We caught up with The By Gods’ George Pauley for a few questions about the band and “Get On Feelings.”
Listening to “Get On Feelings,” well, I just want to listen to it all the time. I blasted it in my car blazing down the 10 yesterday, perfect. I headbanged to it in the shower, perfect. I play it when I’m sort of angry at work, and it’s perfect. What sorts of situations did you write the album for or about?
That’s great to hear. Glad you’re enjoying the new record. The songs were kind of all over the place. “My Way” was written about quitting my job. “On the Radio” is sort of about bands begging for attention. “Miss It” is about what it’s like being in your first band – the newness, the fun, the youth. I tried to keep everything as universal as possible, but I guess the overall album theme just deals with change, getting older, routine… things like that.
I love that “Get On Feelings” is this wildly nostalgic sounding album that still feels new and fresh. What goes into making a sound that brings people back without losing the interest of people who weren’t immersed totally in a specific era (or even alive yet)?
We just try to play stuff we like and not overthink it. We get a 90s comparison a lot. We love that, but it’s not something we really aim for. I feel like a lot of it has to do with the recordings. Carl Amburn is known for getting very big, boomy, punchy drums that sound… real. Much like what Brendan O’Brien was doing in the early 90s.
What were you listening to while writing and recording “Get On Feelings?” What are you listening to now? What do you think is the most surprising thing in your music collection?
I was listening to a lot of Superdrag at the time. They are one of my favorite bands that I revisit often. I really like John Davis’ lyrics – especially ones about being in a band. Lately, I’ve been really into Dinosaur Pile-Up and Tigercub. Those two bands are so solid. DPU’s songwriting reminds me of early Weezer – particularly with the bridges and how unexpected they are. Tigercub just have this really raw attitude and the songs are fantastic. I’m amazed how they aren’t one of the biggest bands right now.
Our love for DPU – https://www.youtube.com/watch?
As a graphic designer, album artwork can make or break an album for me. I love the album artwork for “Get On Feelings,” to me it’s basically a spot on depiction of how life can make you feel sometimes, and a lot of the album recalls that for me as well, so it feels like a good match. What was the band’s intention with the artwork?
I have to hand this one to our good friend Joel. We grew up together in Louisiana and he’s always had this very unique style of drawing – the detail, the shading, the lines. I’ve always liked when bands have a visual theme of some kind with records. And that was the idea for this one. I just sent him the record and let him do what he does. He sent us several drawings to use as art, shirts, stickers, posters, etc…
If you could play with any artist, in any venue, and in any year, who, where, and when? (Feel free to disregard laws of space and time, any combinations are fair game).
Since you’re ripping up the space time continuum, I’m too stuck thinking about how we could have opened for some orchestra in Berlin and killed Hitler, or how we could’ve opened for Michael Jackson’s 30th Anniversary Special in Madison Square Garden on 9/10/2001 and warned people about the Twin Towers. I dunno, this question’s too open ended. I’d have liked to have been there when Gene Simmons first tried to blow flames and caught his hair on fire.
I see that your band interests are listed as “food.” I too am interested in “food.” Where is the best food in Nashville, and what are some food highlights you’ve experienced from the touring you’ve done? What food do you want to try more than any other food?
Yeah, we like to eat. Nashville is known for its hot chicken. My brother and I had it for the first time a few years back at Bolton’s in East Nashville. The place was quiet and all you could here were people sniffling. It sounded like attending a funeral.
I’ve yet to try Prince’s…
Kuma’s Corner in Chicago is up there on my list.
Biker Jim’s in Denver is pretty great too.
What are The By Gods’ plans for 2016? Come to the West Coast, maybe?
We’re gonna tour this new record for a few months. We just finished recording our third record and we’re planning on putting out a split with Gladness mid year with a west coast run.
And lastly, what is The By Gods message for the world, and what do you want the world to know about The By Gods?
This about sums it up…