Gorilla are now a 4 piece band from Derby. Three quarters of the band started off in The Beyond, who released a couple of albums in the early 90's, did loads of touring, with the likes of Living Colour, and then, disappeared until they resurfaced in '95 as Gorilla. They've since realeased 2 EP's.
This interview took place after their recent gig at the Victoria Inn in Derby and was kind of finished off with Andy on the phone.
So, what happened to The Beyond after the release of Chasm.
N: Well, basically things went pear shaped at EMI. A new guy came in who was head of a certain area, and he basically didn't understand what we were about at all. We'd spent quite a bit of time gigging with decent bands and the last single we'd released had gone top 75. For a weird rock band, this was pre-Nirvana, that was pretty unusual. We were trying to get into the charts without relying on radio airplay. But this new guy just didn't understand that at all, so we fell out with him, and he fell out with us, and that was pretty much it really.
So you changed the name to Gorilla. Was that for a fresh start, or were the legal reasons involved.
N: A bit of everything really. Really we wanted a fresh start, and the style of music that we were playing was changing. It took a while to see that the music had changed, and the whole thing was totally different to The Beyond.
The thing was, we'd gone straight out of school and straight onto EMI and it was all very weird. We were basically playing well, but ended up going up our own arses really.
I remember at the time that No Excuse was released, you said that you wanted to build the band up through gigging and some indie releases.
N: Yeah, and that was on Big Cat (home of the now defunct Cop Shoot Cop amongst others), and they were great. They did more for us than EMI and without spending any money. It was the underground mentality, which EMI just didn't have or get at all.
J: We realised we were so far up our own arses we couldn't see. So now we're doing it the way we should have done. And we're now into more straightforward stuff
N: Yeah, like the stuff we write now is straight to the point. And like the gig tonight, it's just a fucking laigh. Before it was weird, but comparing us to The Beyond is just bollocks anyway.
A: It was kinda like beginning to go in this direction anyway.
J: We never used to have a laugh when we were playing. It was so bloody serious, we were fucking terrified of enjoying it.
N: Now everyone wants to enjoy it, which is what being in a band is all about anyway. And the thing was, we were always trying to piss EMI off.
J: We always went out of our way to be uncommercial, cos we were terrified of the label trying to turn us into a new Thunder.
So you got a new bass player, Jim left and Dave joined. Waht happened and when was that then?
A: Well, Dave played with a band at the place where we were rehearsing. When Jim left, we advertised for a new bassist, I think through the mailing list, and looked at a few people. But we knew Dave, and he fitted in well with us and the way we were going in this more stripped down direction with the music.
N: Couple of years now. We had a really bad year last year.
Yeah, I spoke to Andy at the gig at the Narrowboat in Nottingham last year. And at the time he said that you were hoping to sign with Earache and record an album. So what happened there then?
N: Basically it was with lawyers. Because they deal with a few dodgy death metal bands, we were a bit .... And as we were about to put pen to paper, they started throwing in all these clauses, which was ridiculous and not how the business works.
So what was that, trying to dictate music style?
N: Nah, it was just if we make any money, they were to take so much. So we basically said fuck you and left it. We basically got all our new songs on a demo, and the fella who signed us from Viper, which is connected to Sanctuary management, responded. Said it's brilliant, do it. And the guy just did it there and then, where Earache kept on waiting. So all that took a year. So we're basically pissing Iron Maiden's money up against the wall.
And how about the distribution. Will Gorilla stuff now be easier to find.
A: Yeah, this will be much better distributed. They're doing everything that we want.
But how about getting coverage. I mean, at the moment if you want coverage it seems you either have to be like Korn, Marilyn Manson or The Wildhearts, which none of the new stuff really sounds like.
N: Well that's it. I mean, the 3 bands you mentioned are actually breaking the mould in a certain way.
A: We just do it, what we do, without thinking about it.
N: We're writing songs for the masses, and if we like them, even better.
J: This is the first time we've written music for people. As The Beyond we never ever did. We liked it obviously, cos we did it for ourselves and nevre really thought if anyone else would like it.
N: With The Beyond we would laugh about it it, like we couldn't get away with it. Now the whole thing is stripped down.
The first 2 Gorilla EP's featured a violinist as well, Andy Lingard, but he seems to have disappeared now.
A: Well, it was a bit of an experiment really with trying to get new sounds. It was a bit weird. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't. It's no reflection on Andy, but in Gorilla we try to split things equally. With say a guitar player, it would've been ok maybe, but with a violinist, it didn't always work and there wasn't always the need. So it was a bit of an experiment. I mean, we like the recordings we did, and there's 2 songs on the new single which feature violin.So it was partly an experiment in finding new sounds, which didn't always work.
So will you maybe use samples in the future, like you did a bit with The Beyond.
A: Yeah, we can do in the studio, experiment and add effects.
The new single 'Who Wants To Save The World Anyway' sounds like the catchiest thing both bands if you like, have done to date.
N: Yeah, and the label want to get the profile right, which is good, cos we don't want to just put it out and disappear.
So, the single is due to be released. Has an album been recorded yet?
A: Not as yet. The single has like a floating release date. The regional response from radio and media has been pretty good up to now, and if we can we'd like to expand that nationally. As we said, we're happy with the label and the way they're going to go about promoting. So we're hoping that it will all pick up a bit with the single. Then we hope to record a new single sometime in October. Then, we can get the money together and record the album. We've got the songs, so that's not a problem, but it's trying to create a profile first. And the radio today is a bit more powerful and open than it used to be. Also, we'd like to do a video for the new single, or maybe the next one. So we've got plans, it's a case of building things up now.
And after that, touring?
N: Yeah, we've got a couple of dates lined up for October.
A: The thing is, you slog around, and if you're not supporting, then you play to 20 or 30 people everywhere, which is getting you nowhere.
Makes it nice for the die hard fan though!
N: Yeah, but when you're our level and you're skint, then there's a problem. You get the expenses, but that's it, and you can't really afford it.
A: But there's plenty of steps between playing to 20 people and 2000 people.
So, after all the trouble and false starts you seem to have had, do you still have the same ambitions, or are you more wary of the business.
A: Well, we feel like we've fallen on our feet with this label and set up, and the backing that they're giving us. So yeah, we still have the ambitions, but I would say that we are a bit more aware now. Before, we were straight out of school and onto EMI. Now we've got the backing to try and build a profile for the band.
So do you think you are still taking on the industry, or kind of compromising with it.
A: Well we've moved on with our sound. Kind of like Grey (from the Chasm album) was maybe us being conscious of going in a more accessible direction. So we've moved on, and nowadays you get bands like Supergrass releasing heavier stuff. We're still not writing for it, and as you said, we don't really sound like the other bands.
I was wondering what you thought of the crossover that seems to be happening between techno and rock music.
A: I think it's really cool. I mean, in the Beyond we ripped of dance music, but I guess it never really worked because it was all too weird. Now it's becoming like this alternative scene where you can go from dance to intense rock, and I think it's good.
So if you could get onto your ideal tour, what would that be then?
All: Mmmm, tricky. Faith No More would be a good one.
But wouldn't the suits clash?
N: Nah, we've got C&A ties though. Quality stuff.
And sending the guitarist into the crowd (Andy played one song from a tabletop in the crowd).
A: Well, AC/DC did that bit first.
Well, thanks for your time. Good luck with the Single.
Gorilla have "Who Wants to Save The World Anyway?" released on Viper on October 6, and should be touring from October onwards. Check them out.
For more details write to: Gorilla, 3 Alveston Place, Leamington Spa, CV32 4SN.
Current tour dates are:
October 4 - Harlow Square
October 27 - Leciester Princess Charlotte.
More should follow, check the press or here for more details.