By: Vic Abreu
I’ve been listening to Gouge Away for a while now (since high school, really) and I’m continually amazed at how much they’ve grown and conquered in the hardcore scene. Their sound is pummeling. The shows are fun as hell. Whether they’re at a small DIY space or the Atlantic during Fest, they wholeheartedly deliver. Based in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Gouge Away is a four-piece hardcore band specializing in fusing raw emotion and fury with righteous stabs at our current social order. I spoke with GA’s vocalist Christina about their songwriting inspirations, hopes for Fest, touring, and their new record!
You have a new release due out later this year on Deathwish. Can you tell us what we can look forward to from the record?
Yeah, for this record we decided to follow what comes naturally for us and tap into our own personal influences. We like such a wide range of music as individuals that it didn’t make sense to turn down ideas that were “too weird” or ideas that didn’t fit into what would have been on our past record. This has definitely pushed us to work outside of our comfort zone and try a lot of new things. I think we’re going to put out a record that we’re going to enjoy playing for a very long time.
Speaking of Deathwish, what’s it like working with Jeremy Bolm and transitioning to a new label?
Working with Jeremy has been nothing short of incredible. He has helped us out so much throughout the years and in so many different ways that it only made sense for him to be a part of the pre-production process. None of us have ever worked with a producer at all so having that experience with someone that we trust made it a lot easier. He flew into Orlando for a long weekend and we didn’t know what to expect at all, but he was so thorough and involved. He took every song that we were used to playing and completely turn them inside out and flipped them on their heads and made them into songs we had never heard before. We were not prepared for this mental journey that was incredibly jarring, but it was an amazing experience. It definitely showed us how experimenting with different parts can change the entire vibe and going through all these exercises also confirmed ideas that we had from the beginning and made us even more confident in them. A lot of people probably wish that they were in this position and it made me really appreciative of the fact that he took his time to come do this with us.
Transitioning to Deathwish was pretty smooth. They worked behind the scenes a lot for us when we put the 7” out on Jeremy’s label, Secret Voice Records. Deathwish put the order in for the vinyl and took charge of distributing and online sales. They were a pleasure to get to know and it made so much sense that our next release was going to be with them.
I’ve noticed a theme of social liberation in your lyrics (expertly written about in , Dies). What are your inspirations when it comes to songwriting?
Thank you! During the time of writing that record, I was a teacher and I participated a lot in Food Not Bombs in Fort Lauderdale. The Homeless Hate Laws were going on at that time and there was some crossover with the South FL Black Lives Matter. I had gone through a few instances of sexual assault, which amounted to a number of songs on that record. There was a ton of outside influence, for sure. It was also what sparked the idea of having so many guest vocals on the record. When I started writing the lyrics for the new album it was kind of a struggle. It had always been important to me to write songs about political and social issues, however through the years since writing the last record, I had a lot going on in my personal life that I had to write about. I felt pressure to write the types of lyrics that people were expecting, but more importantly, I didn’t want to rob myself of a healthy coping outlet. So, this new record is going to be a lot more about my personal relationship with anxiety and depression.
FEST 17 is going to be your fourth time playing Fest. You excited?
Yeah, we’re always excited to play Fest! It’s pretty much guaranteed to be a great time.
What keeps bringing you back to Fest/Gainesville? Any bands you’re looking forward to catching while you’re here?
I always think of it as a big ol’ family reunion. I absolutely love to see my friends play. Since we can’t leak which friends are playing because they aren’t announced yet, I’ll go ahead and say that we’re excited for ZETA, METZ, Torche, Lemuria, Night Witch, and others!
Tell me about touring. What’s the biggest challenge you face on the road?
Luckily, we all get along really well despite never leaving each other’s sight. I always joke about how I spend so much time in the bathroom because it’s my only chance to have alone time. Definitely the hardest thing about being on the road is having to be away from our loved ones. We miss out on significant events in our loved ones’ lives which is always really hard to deal with. As far as actually being on the road, I know for me I have a problem where at some point I always end up sick. Even though I think I’m the healthiest eater in the van, I drink a ton of water, and I value sleep so much, I still end up getting sick at some point!
What are your favorite cities to stop in? Who’s given you the best show?
We have been so lucky this far. Some cities that stand out at the moment are Gainesville, Fullerton/LA, the Bay area, Portland, Seattle, Chicago, Austin/San Antonio, and Philly. I feel like a brat having to choose! But truly, we have such a great time on tour. Some cities, like Birmingham, have been by our side since our first ever tour. Places like San Antonio and Austin have shown us the best hospitality. There’s so many ways a show can be amazing and memorable!
Gouge Away will be playing in Gainesville on July 19 , and they’ll be playing Fest too. Get stoked on it (I know I am) and be sure to catch both dates.