‘New Excuse’ from The Gods Themselves is much like one of my oldest friends, a spirited punk with a love for the sounds of the ‘80s. There is rebellion at the heart of this record, but there’s also a lot of movement thanks to the arrangements and execution. A record for those who like a little of this and a little of that. We talked to The Gods Themselves about early inspirations, lyrical evolutions, subliminal messages, and more in this exchange.
Kendra: Whenever I’ve felt the need to get something new off my chest, I’ve started a new blog. Whether it be my outlook on millennials and adulting or just needing a mental escape by making Top 10 lists. When you two came together in 2014, were you driven by wanting to get something off your chest?
The Gods Themselves: Making music has always been a means of getting something off my chest, yes. But in 2014 when I started The Gods Themselves I was just wrapping up another band that had a great eight year run. I felt I needed to continue the musical pursuit as it is my therapy. So yes, it’s about getting something off your chest but it’s also about the collaboration, the challenge of becoming a better musician/songwriter and the overall great time you have creating music with good friends. It’s all that and a bag of chips.
Kendra: Your music has a punk heart set right in the middle of this glamorous new wave meets dance body. Did you grow up embracing the rebellious nature Seattle’s music scene is often known for?
The Gods Themselves: Actually I didn’t grow up in Seattle at all, and was never a fan of Seattle’s musical claim to fame by way of the grunge genre. In fact, we strive for everything it is not. I was more into the punk scene in Colorado where I grew up, and when grunge hit the airwaves, to me it sounded like watered down punk rock. Not my thing and I never really thought that Seattle’s music scene encapsulated a rebellious vibe. Independent yes, but rebellious not so much.
Kendra: Your 2018 EP ‘Glamour & Grime’ kind of sums up your style, but looking back at that record and then at your latest release, ‘New Excuse,’ how would you say the group has evolved as lyricists?
The Gods Themselves: Wow, oh so much! That album was kind of my baby. I produced, wrote, played most of the instruments and mixed that EP. We collaborated on the songs as a group but I was hooked on exploring an element of music creation that was new to me and that was exciting. New Excuse was a whole different ball game. We brought in our big shot producer, Stephen Hague, and Dustin and I brought in the songs but everyone worked on arrangements together. We took voice lessons and practiced our asses off. We were pushed and challenged by our producer and each other every step of the way. Every The Gods Themselves album is better than the last and New Excuse certainly holds true to that timeline. We’re quite proud of it.
Kendra: One song with lyrics I could not ignore off ‘New Excuse’ was “Subliminal Message.” I’ve been interested in the concept of them since the 2001 cinematic classic ‘Josie and the Pussycats.’ For you, what inspired this track, and do you feel we’re constantly surrounded by such things?
The Gods Themselves: Absolutely 100% subliminals exist. Did you get that one? SubliminalS EXist. Most prominently in advertising, but I believe they’re everywhere. I’ve always been fascinated by them and kind of like the idea of a hidden message that not everyone is aware of. Like it says in the song, “My eyes they don’t see the flash on the TV, but I know it’s a secret for me.”
BTW, I need to go watch that movie now. I’m a huge ‘Riverdale’ fan.
Kendra: How has your local music community been impacted by the closures this year? Do you see the industry bouncing back?
The Gods Themselves: It’s bleak. We did a livestream at the end of June. It was strange. Great to be on stage again but playing to an empty room was surreal. Who knows how long it will be before live shows are a thing again, and by that time which venues will be left standing? But I have faith in creative humans. We are a resourceful, resilient bunch. In the meantime The Gods Themselves has been working on a lot of video stuff which is timely due to our recent album release. Also doing art and getting into nature. It helps.
Kendra: Usually, this is where I ask people what they have planned in the coming months but with the world in a strange place right now, plans aren’t as concrete as they typically are. You can go ahead and let us know what you have tentatively planned but can you also share a song that never fails to get you through when the world around you feels like a mess?
The Gods Themselves: Thanks for all the thoughtful questions! We have a gig booked for October. Not sure how likely that will happen but if it does, everyone come out to the Crocodile Café on October 16th! We’ll be there with Kuinka and Dude York…if the stars align.
Far as a song that always gets me through, this one never fails; Michael Jackson “Rock With You.”