The Great Went Have Gone There – Interview

TheGreatWent

By Tim Kraus

Discussing homebrew and interesting TED talks at the home of The Great Went bassist Kevin Hurley, one might not expect that this group of cordial fellows was the same group behind The Great Went’s melodic and thunderous new self-titled release.  The Minneapolis kings of delay (a begrudgingly accepted title) methodically wrote this layer-cake of an album earlier in 2013, before recording and mastering at SignatureTone Recording with the increasingly infamous Adam Tucker.

Following their packed album-release show at the Hexagon, Kevin, along with guitarist Jarod Folkerts and drummer Brian Heitzman (formerly of Self-Evident), opened up to Rift Magazine about everything from paying dues in Sioux Falls to their unnatural interest in Mel Gibson.

Rift Magazine: It’s kind of an uphill battle to get the casual fan to commit to something that they aren’t going to be able to sing along with. Do you feel that you owe part of that receptiveness on the part of the audience to bands like Zebulon Pike, The Hardcore Crayons and Guzzlemug,  that have been grinding that axe for a long time?

BH: Yeah, to some extent.  You have pull off some kind of unique sound to get people invested in it.   If someone came out and played what Guzzlemug is playing, people would say “I’ve already heard this. Without a vocalist, I’m not really into it”. We’ve got Jarod’s loops in the mix.

JF: Well, That has been done, too.  I draw influence from seeing the (Hardcore) Crayons do it, and seeing Russian Circles. The way I see it, why we are doing instrumental music and why we are playing is because that’s just how it ended up and that’s what we wanted to do.

KH: (Minneapolis) is a very cultural city.  Bands like us could have existed here 15 years ago, 20 years ago. …We could have theoretically existed as this band in somewhere like our hometown of Sioux Falls, but it would be very rare that we could play a show at a bar. Most of the time it would be a part of the local underground punk scene. I knew of plenty of cool shows happening, but they happened in people’s basements.

Rift Magazine: It wouldn’t be inaccurate to say that among the bands in town, you guys are the kings of delay.

KH: We use a lot, yeah (laughs)

BH: I’ve never thought about it like that, but yeah.

KH: I feel that I almost overuse it, especially as a bass player. If people think that I am using it too much, no one has told me yet. At the same time, I have even described myself, on occasion, as “The Edge” of bass players.

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Rift: That’s funny, I was going to ask if you have seen It Might Get Loud.

KH: Yeah, I have seen it.

Rift: There is that moment when he say’s “Here’s what it sounds like on the record, and here’s what I am actually playing”, and it’s like two notes.

KH: I’ve been working with a delay pedal for a very long time. For me, it’s really just an instrument that I use.

JF: The way I see it from an outside view is that in the beginning it was your metronome. It helped you keep time when you started playing and then you just took it from there. I’ve never played with anyone who plays bass like the way you play bass. I like that and built off of it. I hadn’t played too much of the post-rock style until now and that’s just because I am moving on with you.

Rift Magazine: without having the crutch of the English language to lean on in order to provide things like content, is there anything that you want to communicate with any song in particular? All that you have to offer in the way of context is a song title. Is there a lot of thought that goes into that? Are they meaningful?

KH: No. The funny thing is I don’t think I have met an instrumental band in town that really takes their song titles seriously.  We used to have considerably more silly titles, but we are just trying to keep it simple now.

JF: Personally, I always listen to albums. That’s what I want, just full albums.  I am a music lover more than I am a musician, and I don’t know the names of the tracks most of the time. Sometimes I might know the name if it is sang in the chorus. Otherwise I know it as “Track 3”, “Track 4”, etc…

Rift Magazine: So how did the pick of “Unite the Clans” get made as an early release to isolate from the album?

KH: It’s more a funny anecdote.  We think Mel Gibson is a pretty silly guy, and we almost named another song a Mel-Gibson-related title. Brian wisely ixnayed it.  I’m going to say he wasn’t wrong on that, since we almost called one of the songs “Give Me Back My Son”. It would have been funny, but I don’t know.

We’re not trying to be political, and I actually find it a funny thing when I hear about people describing an instrumental band like Godspeed you Black Emperor! as being a political band. Yes they will sometimes go off on a rant onstage or in interviews sometimes, but to say that the music itself is political seems very funny to me when it’s instrumental. It’s very beautiful music, but how is there a political connotation?

JF: Citizens of the Empire is a political post-rock band, because they put it in all of the titles of their songs.  That is clear. They have a message separate from their music. It’s not in the same place; that’s a political post-rock band. You can do it.

BH: You can put messages into your music, but it would mostly come across lyrically.  It’s kind of like Black Flag, where you know what they are talking about.  If they just played their music, you would just say “oh, it’s a punk rock band, ok”.

JF: Basically, when we are writing music, we like what we like but its more about conveying the frustrations; the good stuff. It’s just like any other band. You’re just trying to express yourself and how you feel.

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The Great Went’s Self/Titled release can be purchased on Amazon, iTunes, or directly from the band at Bandcamp.

For show information, find the The Great Went on Facebook

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