GAZM are part of a new wave of Montreal punk bands playing a skewered brand of hardcore that circles the borders of their varied influences without falling into tribute.
Fronted by the wide-eyed shrieks of SD and backed by SI, JL and SE on bass, drums and guitar respectively, GAZM balance the manic and the measured; tight enough to be in control, but savage nonetheless. Their first 7" Dirty Beach was a reissue of their 2015 demo cassette, and sets the tone for the upcoming 7", a track "Easy 2 See" that you can listen to below.
We spoke to GAZM on a weeknight at Parc Jeanne Mance to discuss their place among Montreal's segregated punk scenes.
Noisey: What do you find yourself singing about?
SD: A lot of my lyrics are about disillusionment with the punk scene. Sometimes I fucking love punk, but a lot of the time I really don't. I've met so many amazing people and have a bunch of great experiences from it, but my biggest pet peeve about punk or any outsider stuff, is people trying to come across as different, when they're doing the same thing anyone else is doing in mainstream shit. It's like, "I dress different, but I have the same ethics and do the same shitty things that literally everybody else does, but I just don't look like it" – that stuff really frustrates me.
SI: We try to make music where there's nothing else going into it; to us it's genuine. It's all of our influences in one, and puts all that we appreciate about punk into our music.
JL: It's more apparent when you take the context of the other bands that are around. In a lot of scenes, you see the same recurring trends, and maybe someone will correct us and show us who sounds exactly like us, but to our knowledge, we don't feel like there's anyone else doing the exact thing as us. We decided to work our way into something that isn't the trendy punk that's out there.
SI: Which is why it's hard for us to get gigs sometime, because the metal heads are like, "no," the hardcore people are like, "no," the punk kids are like, "no" –
That's good though, you should be driving at the edge of everything.
SI: It becomes frustrating, because you wish you fit in where you think you should, but then you don't – and it actually benefits you in a weird way, because maybe you're unique and a bit memorable. Playing into hardcore trends – fingerless gloves, leather jackets, a rose tattoo on your fucking face – if you want to be in hardcore and that's the way you want to do then fucking go for it! But I don't want GAZM to ever be redundant.
I guess that's the issue with what you're talking about. It may be a trend, but it's been an ongoing trend since its advent.
JL: I got riffs.
SD: –but my thing is, even if you do that band, twist it. Where's the twist? The whole world revolves around trends, so if you're riding a punk trend, you're no different to someone who's making a Mac DeMarco rip-off. You're doing a Big Zip rip off, or a Gag rip-off. Gag: not a bad band; but a thousand people wanna be Gag! Especially in punk, you'll never be a band that doesn't sound like a thousand other bands. You're always going to have things that are reminiscent of something, but you might as well throw it in a blender and see what comes out.
SI: Which I feel is so GAZM. But on one hand, you want to do what people like, because you want people to come to your shows, and you want everyone to dance and mosh to your music, but I think we're all in the same place where being original and doing what you want to do is the most important thing.
'Menace To Tha Earth' is available Sep 15. Vinyl will be available in 2017 through from Byllepest Distro.
Catch GAZM at these shows:
Sep 23 - Montreal at A Varning From Montreal Festival at trh bar
Oct 15 - Toronto at Not Dead Yet 2016 at the Velvet Underground