I know, I know. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I realize I probably use the phrase “friends of Decibel” like a broken record. However, if this was where you thought I was going to take the space to recant or repent for my repetitive use of clichés, think again, slugger! The Gorham Brothers of Syracuse have been friends of Decibel in one way or another for almost as long as this magazine and website have been operational. At first, it was the various reviews and features we bestowed upon Engineer, which brothers Ryan, Bobby and Brad comprised 3/4ths of, when they were making the active rounds and releasing records on Hex and Blackmarket Activities/Metal Blade. Maybe you remember the “My Awesome Day Job” feature we ran on the brothers when they opened up their instrument shop – unsurprisingly called Gorham Brothers Music – roundabout five years back? When the trio formed their latest project, Blood Sun Circle, in between fretboard washing and listening to countless Saturday morning renditions of “Enter Sandman,” we were there too. And now we’re here for an update as the band has a new record entitled Distorted Forms on the horizon (we have two songs available here for you to check out) on their newly christened label and have made some exciting improvements to their retail space.
So, what has the band been up to since the release of Bloodiest/Sunniest?
Bobby Gorham: Nothing out of the ordinary really. Three out of the four of us work at the same place seven days a week which keeps our schedule pretty routine. Since the last record, Brad and his wife had their son, Sam which was awesome and probably the most major event. As a band, we rehearse every week for fun, play shows here and there, but are mostly writing and recording all the time.
Has the focus of the band being more of an insular, studio project as opposed to live/touring band held? If so, how much live work have you done and has it all been localized? Do you miss/not miss being on tour?
Yeah it’s weird. We play live as much as we’re able to. Mostly local, but we travel on occasion. If we could travel more, I’m sure we would. Luckily, we’re able to write and record music here as much as we want and we all dig that. I’m positive we would all love to drop everything and go on tour, but that’s just not really realistic. Do we miss being on tour? Maybe…it’s hard to speak for everyone. That’s a fun lifestyle, but a lot has changed in the last few years. I think in general, we’re all really happy with the direction of this band.
Has not spending months on the road at a time changed your writing and recording processes? Has it changed your appreciation of music in general?
Nah, nothing has changed really. My brothers and I have been playing together like 15 years or something, so it’s hard to deviate from that common thread. Our drummer, Aaron and I grew up together and have been friends our whole lives, so this band basically runs itself. Our writing process is a little more loose and organic than it used to be. Everyone just kind of does their own thing. As far as recording, our friend Jocko owns Moresound Studios here in Syracuse, so we’ve been fortunate enough to record several albums with him over the years. I’m sure our appreciation of music has done nothing but expand over time. We’re always dabbling in other instruments, side projects and gadgets to explore creative options.
What does the title of the forthcoming record refer to? Is there a story behind it?
Distorted Forms. This seemed to sum up most of the records content as well as a visual piece I was working on to accompany it. It’s referring mostly to the strange, growing, modern phenomenon where people now have the ability to create, maintain, and edit an alternate public image of themselves. Outside of that, some of the tracks are in reference to social interactions or aspects of human nature that I personally don’t relate to, so it seemed like a fitting title. Also, this record musically is a dirtier, heavier version of our first album and I felt that played into it as well.
You’ve created a couple of videos for songs off Distorted Forms. What can you reveal about doing these, the process and what was involved?
Both of the videos are more like simple animation loops; just some visual art to accompany a track. I like making some kind of visual aspect to accompany the audio. Mostly just for fun. I always use a mix of drawing, Photoshop, After Effects & Final Cut.
How is Gorham Brothers Music doing? I think when we last spoke, the shop was a few months old and just getting off the ground. From what I see – and correct me if I’m wrong – it looks like you’ve expanded, so I’m assuming things are doing well?
Yeah, things are good. We just hit our five year anniversary and couldn’t be more stoked for that. We moved into a larger space and were able to expand because of that. Either way, beats digging ditches all day so we’re all smiling!
It appears you’ve also added a show space in the store. Did you have to jump through any municipal zoning hoops to add this feature? How long has this been a feature of the store and what bands have played?
Yeah, we built a stage as soon as we had the larger space. We were doing shows since we opened in a much smaller spot, so this was a no-brainer. We didn’t have to do much but on the same note, we were careful not to fuck it up. One of our good customers is the local fire marshal, so we made sure to take all the necessary precautions and bounced all plans off of him. We’ve been doing shows since we’ve opened. It’s been awesome to set up shows for friends of ours or bands we know that are coming through the area. What bands have played? I dunno… Scott Kelly, Sumac, The Austerity Program, The Wayward, Inter Arma, Multicult, Fight Amp, Ladder Devils, Creepoid, Dysrhythmia, Jaye Jayle, Sweet Cobra…there have been quite a few over the last couple years. Not to mention all the local Syracuse bands which I’m far too lazy to type or try to remember.
Tell us about the label you’ve just started. What was the impetus for putting more work on your plate.
It’s called Drops of Us. I’ve been wrestling with this idea and bouncing it off my brothers and friends for a while now. We just decided to pull the trigger and it happened to line up with the release of our latest record. The idea was just to create a platform we can personally use to create and release music and artwork, easily and with no oversight. I’m not sure what it’s going to be at this point, but ideally I want a vessel that can produce and archive audio/visual works, as well as collaborate with others and support future projects. I don’t know what to call it other than a creative collective. We’ll most likely continue to release any of our works or collaborations through this label and hopefully develop it further. It should be an interesting experiment. As far as putting more work on our plate, I don’t think this counts. We enjoy it too much.