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Interview with Gentle Beast
Answered by “Gentle Beast” Guitarists Cioffi (C), Janek (J), and drummer Alex (A)
Hello there, nice to have you on Volatile Weekly! What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music, what would you be doing today?
J: Hey there, thanks for having us! I got into music because of my dad, who’s a vinyl addict. And I think I’d do a lot more other creative work like in my day job so I’d definitely do more photography and videography.
A: I enjoyed playing music with others from an early age and it's awesome to make heavy music with other nice people.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music, and how does that influence your creativity?
C: I am a beer lover and I enjoy a cold one (or ten) and spending time with my doggie Emma outdoors.
J: Me personally I enjoy being outside in nature, preferably near some water source - nature is pretty inspiring in itself.
How long has your band been around?
J: Our singer Timo formed the band in 2017 and the core has remained more or less the same since then. We recorded a single in 2018 and now finally got around to producing a full length record (thanks to the lockdown I guess, because we’re lazy).
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
C: My roots are definitely based in heavy metal, eg. Judas Priest, Iron Maiden but also Black Sabbath of course - the old school stuff (J: “Cause he’s old”)
J: I would say most of the band members have different tastes in music and that multitude of genres defines us. Personally I enjoy many things from classic desert rock vibes by Kyuss or Fu Manchu for example, to the modern stuff (King Buffalo, Truckfighters, 1000mods etc.) to post rock or alternative stuff.
A: Om, Sleep, 1000mods, Samsara Blues Experiment, All Them Witches
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
J: Our singer Timo who started the band works as a light technician and is this big, hairy, yet calm and gentle guy so a co-worker just calls him gentle giant. Since that is a band already, he rebranded that into “Gentle Beast”. To me it is also a bit of a metaphor for life itself, as our sound is sometimes calm and reflective, at other times heavy and rough.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
J: To me, one of the most memorable shows was playing at the Setalight Festival in Berlin in 2019 - driving up there for 7 hours, enjoying the city with great people, and playing at this festival was an awesome experience.
A: I remember a gig in Wallau where we had only 2 paying guests and played in the middle of nowhere. So I obviously got wasted, played drums while standing and escalated the after party in our hotel room
- only dressed with one sock.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
C: I would love to play at the Z7 in Pratteln (Switzerland) once before I die
J: Not really a venue but Palp festival in the middle of the Alps would be amazing
If you could play any show with any line-up, who would be on the ticket?
C: Graveyard, Blood Ceremony J: Red Fang, 1000Mods
A: Kyuss, Pentagram, Om
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?
C: For the younglings: Have endurance! For my younger self: Practice more! A: For newcomers: Play on a click track with in-ear monitoring (J: *rolls eyes*)
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
C: Wouldn’t change shit!
J: Begin recording earlier and produce more music
A: Write better songs from the start
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
C: Caterpillar - this was the opener for my ego-home-parties during the pandemic J: Asteroid Miner - Space rock meets anti-capitalism
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
C: “Toxic Times” - its very dynamic
J: Our “Green Machine” (Kyuss) cover
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
J: I like to write songs and lyrics and practice it with the guys. My partner says what’s good and what sucks, and is a big source of inspiration
A: Social political and psychedelic topics find expression in my songwriting
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
C: Power - it’s a socially critical album J: Exploitation and greed sucks, yo.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
C: Packing gear for shows sucks.
A: Carrying things to and after a show - the others do my work and then complain about the work (C: “it’s a lie”)
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
C: Book us! And we’re also working on a new album with the goal to bring it out next year.
How can your fans best keep up to date with you, any socials you want people to check out?
C: we have a homepage: gentlebeastband.com
J: We try to share gigs and other things on instagram (@gentlebeastbasel) and facebook (/gentlebeastband)
A: You can also watch some crazy ass music videos on the sixteentimesmusic channel (@sixteentimesmusic) on youtube or order the vinyl at shop.sixteentimes.com