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Interview with Centraal
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
First, I should introduce myself. My name is Adam Gomori and I play guitar/sing in Centraal.
I grew up in a rural part of Southern Ontario, so going anywhere usually involved at least 30min of driving one way. The music in the car was rarely kids’ music, but rather rock radio of the late 1990s, so I think my love for alternative rock like what Centraal plays really started there. As far back as when I was a baby, my lullaby was not a standard one – my Mom would sing me “MLK” by U2 from their album The Unforgettable Fire.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
When I’m not playing music, I love to watch movies. Just like music, film taps into the human experience. Being swept away and immersed in a different perspective for 2-3hrs is a great way to inspire creativity. Also getting out and walking, especially without having music on. It seems incredibly counter-intuitive, but most of the songwriters I know don’t listen to as much music as you might imagine. Silence breeds introspection and honest introspection is the root of any song that will resonate deeply with others.
How long has your band been around?
Centraal has been a band by name since 2017, but we really only found our footing with this configuration of members in late 2019. The band originally started as a 3-piece consisting of Adam Gomori (vocals, guitar), Rob Frasca (bass/vocals), and Andries Hannaart (drums). In 2018 Andries had to leave the band to move abroad. After some searching, we found drummer Tim Bacon. In 2019, Mike Gavrailoff joined on lead guitar to complete the current configuration of the band. Since solidifying this lineup, we have released 2 singles (Cosmic Cars, 2019 & Coletta Bay 2021), The All Roads EP (2020), and our most recent release and debut full length Nobody To You.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
We are based out of Toronto, ON. Toronto has been a massive influence on our music. For this album in particular, our first single titled “This Place” was written as a bittersweet love letter to Toronto.
“This place is an addiction; another bad habit I just can’t quit.
Like an animal in the middle of the road. I’m in a trance
from the fast approaching glow”
Being musicians in Toronto can be extremely rewarding and incredibly frustrating. Toronto is one of Canada's top entertainment cities, so musicians and artists flock to it making forming a band of like-minded people easier, but the cost of living here makes the dream of being a full-time musician mostly unattainable. Toronto is going through growing pains with relentless development and the music community here has been directly affected by it. 10yrs ago, there was a selection of reasonably priced hourly rehearsal spaces available, but now many of those places have been lost to the cities unquenchable thirst for development.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
The word Centraal is Dutch and is the name of the main train station in Amsterdam. I took a trip to Amsterdam back in 2015 and instantly fell in love with it. Our original drummer Andries was also Dutch, so this name resonated with us. We chose Centraal because like a train station, music brings people together.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
Honestly, our most memorable shows are the ones we just played. Most of all our album release party which took place at The Painted Lady in Toronto on Nov 10th. Our shows in Windsor, London, & Hamilton for this release were also all a blast to play and probably our most memorable.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
My favorite venue to play is the one that we’re playing that night! Sneaky Dee’s is a great venue in the city and we have been incredibly fortunate to play there a number of times through A-Minor Presents. The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern is a staple venue of Toronto and it is always a pleasure to step foot on that stage and those checkerboard floors.
A big one in Toronto that is on our bucket list of venues to play is Lee’s Palace. It’s such a great venue with so much history!
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
We’ve talked as a band at length about opening for the Scottish band We Were Promised Jetpacks. All four of us are big fans of them!
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
When you are forming a band, make sure that you are finding people that you completely get along with. It can be difficult, but remember to always listen to the little voice in your head because it is often right. A band is more than just a group of 4 people, the people you form a band with are going to become your closest and best friends. Songwriting involves deep introspection and revealing your truest self, so you want to surround yourself with people that you feel uninhibited to share yourself completely around.
The advice I would give to my younger self would be to have more patience and trust the process. You can't expect the music to be perfect the moment you start. Sometimes lightning strikes and everything comes to together, but most of the time the song you hear on the record has gone through a gauntlet of revisions.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
Our recording process for Nobody To You was drastically different from the process recording The All Roads EP. The result of this change to our process is a more cohesive and mature sound than our previous releases.
The album was tracked over the course of a couple of weeks as a group with Producer/Engineer John Critchley at Green Door Studios. For this record all of us really wanted to capture that musical cohesion that can only be achieved by being all together in the same space. Prior to this recording, our process was to record drums in one place and the guitar, bass, & vocal overdubs would be completed in a variety of different locations afterwards.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
“Adrift”, the fifth song and end of “side A” on the record is far and away the most meaningful song to me. It explores the experience of one’s surroundings not aligning with their mindset and the internal conflict it causes. The song culminates and resolves with the whole band coming together to sing the anthemic and cathartic refrain "make this feel alright". The growing crescendo of voices is symbolic of the support our friends can give us not with a simple “everything will be okay”, but rather to join together and share in what they are going through.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
Our first single “Cosmic Cars” is most listened to and requested of our standing catalogue. Although it is a song we have played the longest, it is still a mainstay in our set lists. We joke at rehearsals about how we just simply never tire of playing it.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
For the most part, I will come up with a general chord structure and concept for a song usually on an acoustic guitar. I will have a rough idea of what the lyrics and melody might be before I bring the idea to the band.
From there, the song is transformed. Never is what I started with and what we as a band create together the same. I love that about this band. One of our main tenets as a band is true individual creative freedom. We provide each other feedback, but each individual member has full reign over their part in a song.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
Thematically, Nobody To You delves into the concept of belonging. The third track on the album titled “We Fit” is a platonic love song. A lot of this record was written and honed during the peak pandemic years and “We Fit” was written from a yearning to be together with the people that matter most.
Other examples of this common thread of belonging on the album include “Landed”. This song was written after a trip abroad which triggered a sort of identity crisis examining where my life was at the time upon my return home.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
Disagreements in a band are always bound to happen, but we have been fortunate to never have any major ones either interpersonally or creatively. We play in a band together, but at the most base level, we are just really good friends that get along well together.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
The release of Nobody To You has been a tremendous learning experience for us and we are looking forward to sharing more music. We will be applying to festivals to support this release into next spring in summer, but at the same time we are hard at work writing the next album!
How can your fans best keep up to date with you, any socials you want people to check out?
Our handle across all social media platforms is @centraalmusic and the platforms we are most active on TikTok/Instagram. We are not some big, faceless band, so if you would like to get in touch with us, do not hesitate to send us a DM! We are very responsive and would love to connect on a person to person level.