To get you ready for tonight’s DSCVR Thursdays show at the Foundation Room in Anaheim’s House of Blues, we talked with the genre-defying group Gus McArthur. Frontman Gordon Allen, a.k.a. “The Hater,” gives us insight on thier latest work and plans for 2018
How do you like to describe Gus McArthur’s sound/themes/ideas for the uninitiated?
Allen: Our sound is something we consistently change, depending on the song or content of the EP. We try to stay heavy, but nothing is off limits. Our new EP Chapter 2: Fanatics features 3 new songs, each radically different from the next. Ranging from a song that starts like “Bohemian Rhapsody” to thrash that sounds like it came straight out of the 80’s. We really like it this way. It forces us to stay creative and challenge each other.
What new track comes to mind as really breaking some new ground?
Allen: “Darker Than Black” off our new EP definitely touches a lot of different genres and pulls influences from my brother & I’s favorite artists. The song was designed more like a play, with different acts & scenes being portrayed by the narrator, or in this case narrators. We wanted to create a dark fairytale, essentially the polar opposite of the typical prince & princess happy ending, but all the characters are present.
As a song it was beastly! Almost 8 minutes long, with layers of different live instruments, we used more than the SSL board could handle & had to start making mastered groupings. It was probably the most fun to mix & master, at least for me. I know our engineer Daniel Bourget loved it!
You also rap at a few points over the course of the EP, over genres one wouldn’t normally expect that delivery to work with. What do you find that element adds to the stories you’re telling?
Allen: The hip-hop & spoken word elements create half of the brain of Gus McArthur. Each song holds different perspectives as well as characters. Being able to infuse styles & genres allows us to continually expand our ideas and creations for each song. It lets us dance around the metaphorical box.
As both an artist & part of the OCML team, you’ve worked on both sides of the live music coin. What’s something you’ve learned about operating in this scene thanks to that perspective?
Allen: This is not just music, it’s the music business. And the sooner you treat it like that, the more successful you will be. Know how long your sets are, actively promote, schedule, time yourself loading gear, email promoters back. Essential things that seem simple are often overlooked. Treat your music with respect & realize you’re creating a brand, not just a song.
What do we have to look forward to from Gus McArthur in 2018?
Allen: You can definitely expect some new music, possibly even some really old stuff redone. We are very proud to announce we have been selected to battle for Wacken in the first ever west coast edition. It’s one of the largest metal festivals on the planet, so make sure to come check out the battle March 30th at Brick by Brick in San Diego, tickets will sell out fast!