Updated: Apr 6, 2022
Maud: Hi I'm Maud Mostly, my pronouns are they/them, and welcome back to Tunes Tuesday, a weekly series where I sit down with queer bands and musicians to talk to them about their music, their experiences, and much much more. Today I am joined by Chicago post-punk band Ganser. Hey, how you doing?
Nadia: Hey there I'm Nadia, I sing and play keyboard in Ganser. My pronouns are she/her, they/them whichever works for me. Yeah, and I'm really excited to be here thanks for having me.
M: Perfect I am so excited to have you here too, and sorry again about my pronunciation, I just noticed that I feel like I went with the like over pronunciation of the a, it's a bit of like a canadian thing.
N: The fact that you even just that you said Ganzer and not like Cancer or something is like a win so don't worry, don't worry people like I- it's a band name as simple as it is as a one one word band name, it is messed up in ways that I have just I- that are just kind of a huge surprise to us as times have gone on.
M: Fair, fair.
N: And go by anything just let us know, like we know what you mean.
M: Amazing and one of the first questions I want to ask you is actually kind of associated with your band name, because your most recent album Just Look At That Sky which was released in 2020 its sounds, its related music videos, and your band name itself all convey an unsettling sense of you know discomfort and disconnect. What about you or your creative process is driving that like theme and narrative?
N: I'm sorry we have a guest, but so yeah, I feel like with our band name and being like a just like a type of like made up disorder, it sort of was it's one of those things where it's supposed to be it's a it's a disorder- it's a name of a disorder that's is supposed to be sort of a fake disorder, like someone's reacting in a way that's a little hysterical and sort of mimic- it's almost like mimicry of mental illness in a way but it's sort of been thought of in many different ways and I and I think it's kind of an antiquated thing? Anyway that's just to like give a little background on that on the name, but the album Just Look At That Sky and even the album before that, Odd Talk not- really all the work that we've been doing a lot of it is focused on the internal space of like sort of like the the mental area or like, like internal reactions that happen in certain situations and none of it is really taking into account like the out the outside world, I feel like the outside world is always affecting and always informing what's going on internally. But I feel like in terms of our subject matter and in terms of like sort of the dissonance we create in some of our songs a lot of that comes from just sort of introspection and sometimes seeing things in yourself that are not the best and how difficult that can be, and I think especially with Just Look At That Sky a lot of it is a lot of the themes are about like self-improvement and sometimes self-improvement with really no reward. That's just like in a lot of the times it is sort of a thankless task to like be working so hard on yourself, because it's not like the rest of the world gives a shit you know it's just like you're you're just working towards something and you have to sort of figure out the benefit for yourself, and I think a lot of a lot of that comes through and I think a lot of those themes, even though we wrote that album before 2020, I think a lot of those themes really rang true for people during 2020. And so it was really- it was really an interesting time to be releasing that album, where everybody sort of had these moments to really contend with themselves and, and how things were going on around them and how that affected them.
M: Absolutely, and I love that you bring up the timeliness of it, because I went back and I watched your music video for Lucky, which is you know really taking these two people who were like stuck in a room together and it becomes like you know it's very violent, it's very chaotic you see them kind of like indulging into you know, very strange behavior I guess you could call it? But that's something that you know not long after that music video came out was all of a sudden a lot of people were reckoning with that situation.
N: Definitely, and Lucky especially is is is a song that looks at this idea of like “hey sometimes things don't work out the way you wanted doesn't that suck?” And you know a lot of the times it sucks so bad you- you self-destruct, and and hurt yourself and other people and it's really like it is kind of like looking at the really ugly parts of yourself. I know for me, for me personally in a lot of the lyric writing (because I do- I work with the rest of the band on a lot of the lyrics) it's- a lot of it came from that work that I was doing looking at the really ugly parts of me, and having to contend with that and understand that and pick it apart and really be in these really dark moments where I had a choice to either like further self-destruct and feel really awful about like kind of like you know dive into self-destructive behavior further, or- or like examine it and and do something about it you know so it that's Lucky's a really interesting song in that way and when we were figuring out the concept for the music video we were really wanting to explore also like the idea of bringing in toxic masculinity the idea of bringing in like doing like just behaving in a way that is just horrible for yourself and for people around you know, so yeah.
M: Yeah those are incredibly vulnerable ideas to explore and you do such a fantastic job about it with it, so thank you for sharing more about that. And then outside of you know, creating your own music, you also collaborate with other bands to remix their songs you have you know, Look At The Sun is a remix EP you released incredibly recently, so what inspires you to create those remixes and have you found they create a greater sense of community with other artists?
N: Well with Just Look At The Sun (or Look At The Sun I can't remember always it's had the different iterations like on in our like emails so I think I feel like in my head I'm never never saying it quite right) but with the remix EP basically that was created out of the idea of like “well we can't tour we can't play shows there's nothing we can do we're only able to interact with other people and other artists in the community at large like online” so a lot of like, we've been communicating with people on Twitter, Alicia has reached had like developed a lot of really cool dialogues with certain people through Twitter and like through Instagram, and I think we started to think about okay well wouldn't it be cool to start like this little project where we can maybe try and like create like a- we created like a wish list of who we'd want on this remix album or who we'd want to like remix our songs and we we got a lot of the people a lot of people we wanted to read, which which was amazing the way Alicia said it she was like trying to she she put it as like curating this like really interesting dinner party where like, where there would just be so much like amazing amazing people and amazing energy going on, and I really I think that we really accomplished that here with with this EP. And the way I saw it it's sort of like one of the best things about touring is getting to engage with other artists and and play with other artists, and engage with their audiences, and different audiences and I think this is a way to do it right now because we haven't been able to tour, we haven't been able to engage with other people in other audiences, and I think that this is a great way to do it, because having them come and like remix our songs- because we really haven't done remixing much in terms of like we haven't really remixed other people's work we haven't like we haven't really gone into that too much, but this set seemed like the right time and the right project to do that with because it just gave us this great opportunity to like collaborate and also like mix, like co-mingle audiences you know so I think that was great.
M: Yeah, that's really interesting because I mean so many of the artists that I've spoken to on this series you know so many of the interviews that have happened before is you know, all these different musicians finding a way to still connect with other musicians and still find a way to like create with other people so I love that this was like your version of that and I think there's so much creativity in it, it's amazing.
N: Yeah, it came out great it, came out great, I mean we were really like, we were floored to be able to get everyone we got on it. Yeah it was awesome, everybody did such a great job and took such interesting care, like such care and and such in in preserving sort of our message but also bringing their unique voice into it, it's yeah, I we couldn't be happier with this EP so we're so excited to have it out.
M: Yeah that is so cool, and I've seen you mention that there's a fairly large age range when it comes to the members of the band. I think this is really cool, because you know it's not necessarily something you see often you know, people tend to make bands with like their friends their peers people around them, and people tend to keep you know people very close to them in age close to them. So I was wondering if you think having that age range of life experiences impacts the music you make, or potentially how you function as a band?
N: I would say everything still feels pretty like egalitarian even with the age ranges, age range differences. I do feel like we all sort of have the same (uh sorry I live- if you could hear that noise) but I think that everybody still kind of has the same spirit even though some of us have been on the planet longer or shorter time than others. And I feel like we there's never really a moment where I feel like I'm- that that ever comes up, like in socializing with my bandmates or working with my band mates, like I don't feel like you know like the older member I don't I don't feel like he's so much older that I can't really can't relate to him, like I feel like like we're still good friends and I still feel like I can relate, and even the younger member I feel like you know I can always get along with him. And in terms of what that brings to the music I do feel like it brings a lot of different interests, and different influences in, and different energies, which I think is great, you know I think if anything it really serves us, and like you know Alicia and I started the band on our own, when we were in our mid-20s, and I think that as time's gone on like it's only evolved more and more to be this like, really cohesive thing that that has only gained- has only gained from the addition of like younger and older members so yeah.
M: Yeah it's incredible to see how it you know, it doesn't create like any power dynamics is kind of what you were bringing up before that's not something you said.
N: No, Alicia and I are always in charge! No, I mean every- it's we try to be really egalitarian with it. We try to really make sure everybody has a say, and you know the responsibilities you know get shared, it's just we try to do everything like, I don't know you can be- the music industry can be really ageist enough, like entertainment industry in general can be ageist enough and I feel like especially as a woman you can't be too young, and you can't be too old, like you know and and I think that that's ridiculous, and we don't really feel the need to like bring that into our space into our energy you know?
M: Yeah definitely, especially you know in the punk scene which, you're largely in you know it's kind of like punk is for young people then you're supposed to like age out you're supposed to get like a real job you know is kind of what people typically have the tendency to say so I love that you brought that up and are talking about you know, that's not how things should be you know there's no right time to be making music, and as you mentioned before you know having those age ranges can really be powerful for the music and you know, can really build on top of each other.
N: Well yeah, I mean it's- and the way the band kind of came together was so like serendipitous that I couldn't imagine it having any other I can't imagine it having gone any other way with any other people really you know?
M: Yeah I love that so much. Well if you want to listen to them you can check out any of the links below, check them out on social media to stay updated, listen to their music. Thank you so much for joining me here today. It was a pleasure to have you and dive into these questions, and Ganser will be playing us out!
*Lucky by Ganser begins playing*