Music Interview

GASR

By Kim Mercil

GASRKM: GASR members Luis Brito and Gary Suarez met at Boston University. How did you meet up with Jim Ankrom?

GARY SUAREZ: We met Jim through mutual acquaintances in the Boston industrial and goth scenes back in the late nineties. He's been a good friend for years and he's been the most consistent live keyboardist we've had. He's also one of the best people to have around after a show to celebrate with.

KM: How did you come up with the name GASR?

GS: It's a name without any meaning. During the first few months of working together, Luis and I couldn't agree on what to call ourselves. One day, he mistyped my name while titling a file for one of our earliest songs. That error, GASR, pretty much stuck.

KM: GASR started in response to the stagnancy that plagued industrial music, why did you feel that way and do you still have that same opinion today?

GS: I still look at that statement as the guiding principle of GASR. There would be no reason for Luis and I to do otherwise. And anyway, if we wanted to sound like every other band, it wouldn't be all that difficult to do so. Look at the number of acts out there serving as carbon copies of Suicide Commando and VNV Nation. Those bands rose to their respective levels of fame because they innovated within the scene and developed their own sound. GASR seeks to do the same.

GASRKM: How do you feel about the return of Trent Reznor? If you have listened to the new NIN, what do you think of it?

GS: Personally, I love the new Nine Inch Nails CD. It's a thousand times better than that bloated sack of crap The Fragile(1). My first exposure to industrial music came from guitar based acts like Ministry, KMFDM, and NIN, so I'm always at least interested in their latest output.

KM: With your debut Survival of the Fittest(2), how do you feel this album sends EBM to new creative levels?

GS: I think it's a beginning. This album was about staking a claim, about showing the scene that we could write an entire album of compelling music, as opposed to a handful of club singles lumped in with some studio filler. We're mindful of the dance floor, but we're not completely bound to its rules. Same goes for the genre. We hope that our next album, Reptile, is even more refreshing and engaging than our debut.

KM: At what point during the creation process of your debut album did you start talking to Niliahah Records about releasing it?

GS: The album was in pre-production after a somewhat radical reworking of all the tracks when Kristy from Nilaihah began to pursue us. She had heard a remix Luis did of an Epsilon Minus track with her handling guest vocals and she began talking to us. It was really flattering.

KM: GASR was once affiliated with Accession Records. What happened that you're no longer with them?

GS: I have no strong desire to publically bash Accession Records, who for better or worse was our home for several years. There were a variety of factors that kept Survival of the Fittest from coming out on Accession, but most if not all of these stemmed from a botched deal with Daniel Myer of Haujobb, who has been hired by the label to do some production work for the CD. He never delivered on his promise, despite compensation from the label, and as a result we were left in limbo for some time. Nilaihah saved us from that, thankfully. Still, we wish Adrian and Christian at Accession all the best.

KM: Is your remix of Slavemaster available yet? If so, where can one find it?

GS: It's available for free download from the Nilaihah website currently.

KM: How important would you say it is for a band to do remixes?

GS: Essential. Vital. Remix swapping is the biggest networking tool a band has in this scene, especially starting out. The exposure and opportunities for shows and whatnot that have come from our remix work is priceless. Hell, a remix pretty much got us signed!

KM: Being that Male or Female (Front 242) and VNV generate a large audience, how was it performing with these bands?

GS: It's a lot of fun when you get to play for the audiences these groups generate. Meeting Daniel and Patrick of 242 was pretty intense for me.

KM: Gary, you are also a DJ. DJ Gyn to be precise. Are you still DJing Saturday nights at Albion in NYC?

GS: Yes, I'm still a resident there, spinning alongside some of the most talented DJs in this scene. I also do a handful of guest slots every year both in New York and nationwide. The guys who run Alchemy in Washington D.C. have been especially good to me. I'd love to do more gigs, but unlike with techno or house or trance, industrial/goth promoters aren't eager to fly in out-of-town DJs.

GASRKM: How do you feel being compared to such bands as Assemblage 23 and Evil's Toy?

GS: We appreciate any praise. Evil's Toy, particularly, is an honor, since they're one of our biggest influences.

KM: On Survival of the Fittest there is a hidden track entitled Reptile (Things to Come Remix). Why did you decide to do this instead of just adding it to the track list?

GS: That song is a subdued alternate version of the title track to our next album. It tackles different, though related, subject matter than the lyrics on Survival of the Fittest. We included it on this CD to give listeners a glimpse of what we have in store for them.

KM: What does GASR have on the burner for the rest of this year?

GS: Well, Luis is getting married then going on his honeymoon, so that trumps work on the new album. Throughout the winter we aim to complete much of the work on Reptile. Until then, we encourage everyone who hasn't done so already to pick up Survival of the Fittest. Luis has to pay for that trip somehow!

(1) The Fragile was reviewed in Legends #94.
(2) Reviewed in Legends #151.