By Kim Mercil
KM: 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
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.
KM: 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
KM: With your debut Survival of the
Fittest(2), how do you feel this album sends EBM to new creative
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
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.
KM: 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
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.
in Legends #151.