Taking two years off from live shows is a pretty ballsy move, but local synth rockers Genre took the time off to reinvent themselves. The band shrunk from a four piece to two guys (Zac Markey, guitars/vocals and Corey Gomez, keyboards and vocals) and a keyboard. Both musicians agree that halving the number of people in Genre has streamlined the band's songwriting process.
Genre makes its grand return at Rogue Bar tonight, armed with a few new songs and retooled versions of old songs. Check out how Genre intends to sound like Prince after the jump.
Why did you guys take a couple years off? Corey Gomez: We were on a rise, we were going pretty good like two years ago playing a lot, like all the time, slowly making these songs that were more us and then...
Zac Markey: There was too many people, there was four of us. It was hard to communicate with 3 other people. So, I just think that it was going the way that some of us thought it would, but it wasn't going the way that everyone thought it would, so those people left and now it's just Corey and I.
When you perform live, is it just you two, or do you bring additional musicians in? ZM: It's just us, and then we have this guy [points to computer].
What did you guys do during your break? CG: The goal was always to play again without a drummer, basically. We wanted to play music still without a drummer. We thought it could be done, we thought we knew enough about all the computer stuff (Ableton) to make it sound still rockin'. We never really stopped over those two years, and then it came to recently when we were like, "What are we doing? We've stopped for way too long now, let's just make ourselves do this now."
It did help a lot just to have two of us because now we're really streamlined and we can make up a song in a day now, instead of over the span of several practices.
We're doing some old songs, but also new songs. That helped us a lot too to start again. It's just us two, now what are we going to do? We have those old songs, let's start there and they sound different and I think not as busy in a good way, just more focused.You said you sound pretty different now. What have you changed? Will people who saw you a couple years ago be able to recognize you?ZM:
On stage, no. We have costumes now
ZM: I'm Jacques Dramatique, and Corey, we came up with it last night, is Pastor Corduroy. But musically, probably sometimes.
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CG: It's not as loud. Well, it's still loud, but like I said, more focused. The parts are in place, it's not just rocking out, now they sound more rounded out.
ZM: You can do so much with the computer. The thing that really capped off the two years was that Kyle (guitar/keyboard) quit. He was working with us in Ableton, it was his idea, really, and he was just like, "I don't want to do it anymore." We were like, "That's fair, it's been a long time."
CG: It was very amicable, he was just wasn't feeling it.
ZM: So, it really got us going. We were actually at Rogue and we saw Bogan Via. One of the biggest things holding us back is we needed nicer gear, and we see Bogan Via and they had two Macbook Pros on stage.
Afterwards I asked them--I was like, "Hey, that's awesome that you have that shit up there, what are you running with it?" And they're like, "Garage Band and this free sampler." I was just like, oh wow, we really need to get our shit together.
CG: After knowing how powerful Ableton can be...
ZM: You can do so much with a computer. If you have a computer on stage in 2013, I feel like you should fuckin' sound like Prince, as far as what you can do with it.
ZM: I think we're embracing the name Genre more than ever because when we first did it, it was a joke because we were a cover band.
CG: An oldies cover band, called The Friendly Guys. Our guitarist went to summer camp, we were in college, it was ridiculous. We were like, okay, how can we play these songs with just keyboards, bass and drums--we'll just make one with bossa nova, we'll make a punk rock one, we'll make it all over the place, and we'll call ourselves Genre.
ZM: It was like a joke, and then he came back and he was like, "I'm moving to Australia now." And we were like, "Oh, but we still want to play!" But he was our frontman, so we couldn't do Friendly Guys without him, for sure.
So for the last Friendly Guys show, we had a skit where we threw him out of the band. Before it was four dudes and we had certain sets of instruments, so no matter how good we were, it was always going to be within a certain range. And now, with how we're doing it, we use the same drum sounds like two or three times in the set, maybe.
CG: And the drum sounds, we made ourselves as well.
ZM: It's just like doors slamming and we sampled it. We also sampled Donny from Sun Ghost, we call it E-Donnie.
CG: Because we sampled him hitting every piece of the drum kit
ZM: And we just program it to play our beats
ZM: I have this fantasy in my head that when we're on stage in our personas, we're time travelers from 2013 and we've gone back to the '80s to play their music but with the technology of now.
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