The Swiss band GurD is celebrating their 15th anniversary this year - and they have a new album to present. So it's more then one reason to talk to guitarist Pat!
Your new album is called Your Drug Of Choice... And GurD is now existing for 15 years, so it seems music is your drug... How satisfied are you with your latest drug? And how was the response to the new CD so far?
Absolutely right, our drug is music! Without music I'm on detox. ;)
It always takes awhile to find out how satisfied you are with what you've done. The songs have to stand the test of time, so to speak... They need to be performed live, at least that's how I feel about it. So far I can say that I'm very happy with YDOC. The songs sound fresh and for GurD the album has a large variety to offer, there are elements which haven't been found in GurD songs and that might be a problem for some. The feedback is very good, a few times we heard that people think it's the best GurD album ever... The reviews are positive and what's most important for us, live the songs are killer!
The new album was again recorded in your own studio, but this time you also released it on your own. Why do you decide to do it that way?
Its getting more and more difficult with record labels these days. The smaller labels which would suit us with the fan base we do have, usually have not enough money for proper promotion. They often choose quantity instead of quality, but on the long run this isn't good for the band. We haven't been very satisfied with the label which released Bang! and so we decided to start our own label. Our singer V.O. was toying around with this for awhile already, and so our label came to life. Now we have total control about promotion, distribution etc. And financially it works out as well - at least so far. Sure, it's a lot of work and time consuming, but as long as we don't make less money, it's okay. ;)
Usually its not always easy to satisfy everybody in a band. Does everybody in the band has influence on the songs? And does it happen that one want to go heavier then the others?
I think it works out well... V.O. and I share song writing duties, everybody records the stuff at home incl. guitar, bass and drum computer. Then we rehearse the songs and usually we stick to the original song. In case one of the band really dislike something or has a good idea, then we give it a try. Basically we have a mix of groove and faster ones. Our drummer isn't always happy when we have another fast one, where he has to storm through, but we force him through it. ;) The lyrics are done by V.O.
This time you had a couple of guests on your album. How do you choose the guests for the certain songs?
There are bands recording in our studio all the time and so it was usually a very spontaneous decision. Whoever was there and wanted to take part, just got involved. Only Seven Starz was planned. Initially this one was sang completely by V.O., but when I listened to the song the first time I just thought 'Destruction' - and then we all agreed that Schmier should sing it. We know each other very well and he really dig this song - and so Schmier got involved.
Again you have a cover version on the album, this time you did Cold Gin. Will there be a compilation of your cover versions one day? Perhaps as a bonus CD?
We actually thought about it. And there are a few cover versions which we recorded, but haven't released yet. There is another Kiss song, something from Motörhead and S.O.D's United Forces which we play live once in awhile. I think we have already 6 or 7 tracks, perhaps we do it one day. But it's to late for the 15th anniversary, I think.
There are already a few shows announced and also a small tour in April with your mates Pro-Pain. As you toured with Pro-Pain before its like family business... ;) Don't you fear that fans might be bored to get the same package again?
I don't think so. The package is working very well and the Pro-Pain fans really dig us!
On the last tour we did together we had a mosh pit every night! There just been a few die-hard GurD fans with old GurD shirts, but most of the people didn't know us. So I think the people will welcome to see us together again. As you said, it's a kind of tradition to tour together and we really have a great time together. Beside that we really like the Pro-Pain sound and love to see them live every night.
What do you think about the new Pro-Pain album?
I saw them live about 6 months ago and so heard some of the new songs live.
I was really surprised that Gary is now singing more melodic stuff, too. But it works well. Personally I would like them more HC-like, like they sounded in the past. On the other hand Pro-Pain have many albums under their belt, so it was time for some new influences. Usually I like it when bands try something different. As a musician you have to be true to yourself, but when you want to try something new and it fits, then do it.
You are again touring with Pro-Pain, so have you ever thought about recording a split-live-CD? Just to sell on tour or through your webspace?
Never thought about it, but its a cool idea. Something special for all the fans who can't get enough of this package! ;)
This May you will play an anniversary show at Z7 - with Pure Inc who musically are doing something different. How came that you play together?
Both bands are from Basel and we are good friends. Pure Inc. are celebrating their 5th anniversary and we do celebrate our 15th, so we had the idea to make an anniversary show to party together. It fits well, I think, coz Pure Inc. can sound very heavy - if they want to! Beside that I think it's good to have some diversity, at least I prefer that when it comes to live shows. Anyway, it will be a great event and we all are really looking forward!
Have you been to Eastern Europe on tour? And are there places where you really want to go and play?
Not really, we played in Serbia and Croatia, but didn't make it to Russia yet. If it isn't too cold there, we would like to play Russia - but not in winter! Friends of us played a festival at the Azores and there are metal festivals at Grand Canaries - would be cool to play there. But there isn't really a place I want to play, there are many!
With your own studio you have more freedom and there are no limits due to a budget. But you also produce bands at your studio, so are there any problems in the scheduling?
Well, it can be difficult, coz we also rehearse there, so when a band is recording its a bit of a problem. We can't just push their drums away and so our own recordings are often split up - like we recorded the drums, but before we can continue that is a mastering job to do. But its an advantage and so far we managed it very well.
Beside rehearsing / playing are you meeting sometimes? Are there more things which you have in common?
For visiting concerts and other special events we meet, but usually we all are very busy and so it comes down to rehearsals and playing gigs. Right now as I'm answering your questions Exodus and Overkill play in Basel - and we will go to see them. This package you have to see! (Exactly, that's why I've been at 2 shows, even if I haven't made it to Z7... - Claudia)
I know that some you guys do have a family and your songs pretty often deal with addictions. When it comes to addictions have your point of view changed since you have a family?
V.O. and me, we have kids. Talking about me, I smoke and like a drink once in awhile, but I never had any serious addictions. And it's kinda the same with the others. Music is our drug and I think that's one we can tolerate. ;)
The cliché is 'Sex, Drugs & Rock'n'Roll'... And I don't want to go into details about the life of a musician, but it seems that these days teenager overdoing it with binch drinking and Spice are a daily ritual, even at the school yard... Does this change surprise you?
Its quite shocking what happens these days! Awhile ago I heard about the flat rate parties, pay once and drink all night. The kids literally drink til they need a doctor. The kids grow up in a society where (multi) media is all around and the internet makes it possible to experience things they are too young to. They are numbed by this and so they look for another kick. Beside that there is the lack of perspectives in their lifes - partly their parents show this too... Well, that's my opinion on this...
If it would be up to you, what would you legalize? What limit more or even forbid?
I wouldn't forbid anything, coz that won't change a thing. I would limit alcohol, but that isn't easy, coz alcohol is well accepted in our society - and easy to get. I won't care, if they legalize hash, even if I don't smoke it myself, but I know quite a few people who do and it has no obvious negative effects.
Time for a question which many like to ask, even if I haven't done it before... What music would you like to be played at your funeral?
I haven't thought about it yet. Sure, I can drop dead anytime, but I think I'll become an old man. ;)
What else is on your schedule? Beside the tour and the anniversary show...
Most of the fuss about our new album with interviews, radio and TV is over. We thought about doing a video for YDOC... We will see. Beside that only a few concert and that's it.
So I can only wish them a great tour with Pro-Pain and lots of fun! And that they really rock the house with they play the anniversary show with Pure Inc at Z7!