Interviews

Interview with Tom Gil of CHILDREN: The Album, The Idea, and The Ancient Art of Concerts

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Last Friday, April 24th, CHILDREN celebrated the release of their full length album Great River, by Future Force Records, at the Flyway in Pomona, alongside bands The Violet Mindfield, Summer Twins, and Iris. Besides being an amazing line-up, each band contributed something special, such as an added keyboardist for the night with The Violet Mindfield, on songs like “Got It Bad,” which added the much needed delightful punch, Summer Twins’ and their angelic harmonization, and of course, being blown away by Michelle Malley’s vocal range and energy, from Iris, each setting up for the main celebration- CHILDREN’s new album.

The quintet of bearded men knew exactly how to communicate with their audience by starting off their set with “While I Still Have My Youth,”  from their Feel Time EP. “Whoa, whoa, whoa,whoa, whoa, woman on my mind” were the only audible distinguishing lyrics being heard throughout the crowd and both audience and band fed from this energy throughout the night.

After the show I had the pleasure of chatting with (Ryan)Tom Gil (vocals, guitar) on how Great River came to be, the “fluidity,” and of course the night’s performance. Being directed to the “green room,” which wrapped outside the venue, and into the “backstage” where all artists’ were able to relax, Gil was pulled in every other direction, from friends, families, and people like myself who wanted a word, and to praise the performance.

What was intended as a full band interview, slowly dwindled to Gil and myself, as each member was obviously busy mingling and enjoying their night. With that said I appreciate any time Gil, and any member contributed, as certain members came in and out. Gil, and the band, are humble and down to earth, and versus a stale Q&A, I am pleased with the rawness that seeped through the audio. Myself guilty of taking advantage of the Flyways’ drink specials, contributed to my usual speech impediment.


(In the Green Room)

To my left was Gil, I was seated in the middle of what seemed like half a chair, and to my right, throughout the entire interview was Charlie Morales, of The Violet Mindfield, chiming in, contributing to the casual conversation. The overall easy-going vibe between people allowed for longer answers, and friendly chatting. The first half also features Sean McBreen, of The Violet Mindfield, walking in and asking, “Is this the interview?” towards the end, which makes me laugh each time I listen to it.

 

Me: “So first of all let me just say that you had an amazing show…ok”

Gil: “Thank you very much (laughs)”

Me: “Don’t be modest…and in this is in celebration of your new cd, Great River, so I want to ask you what did you wanna come across, what did you wanna get across for people that listen to this versus your previous EP ?”

Gil: “versus our previous EP, well, I mean, probably the primary difference between the two is that, you know, the initial EP is basically just our jams as a band, ‘just I guess we’re a band now,’ like instead of just getting together and playing our instruments, we decided, ‘well lets meet up,’ Certain times. Certain days of the week, and practice, and actually write songs. And those were the first songs that we wrote. And we decided to record them very quickly, you know, and listening back on that EP, there’s so many things we actually felt like we could change, and wanted to change, but we’re happy with the way that it is, but we sorta rushed it. Whereas with this, Great River, we took our ‘sweet’ time with it. We concocted something that we think is really special for the listener, and really considerate of the listener. From beginning to end-the first song, the second song, the third song, all the way to the last song- it’s all based on transitions, and cohesiveness, and you know, album as a whole from tradition, of you know, when vinyl, and you know, 60s and 70s those sorts of influences….

“Um, I wish I could say that its lyrically a concept album, unfortunately I’m not sure, I mean it is…in the sense that it’s using like the objective correlative as T.S. Elliot put it, where, you know when, if I say, ‘you’ or ‘I,’ I’m not necessarily, I don’t necessarily mean ‘you,’ like as I oh this girl I was dating, or like I, as in me, I mean like you know, all, everything, you know…and (Charlie Morales: I and I) …(laughs) yeah, so I mean, there’s that and sorta a human record and there are certainly transitions that are conceptual, you know, like two songs together are together for a very specific reason…”

Me: “It’s like ‘All To Myself’ and doo wa..”

Gil: “Dowaddadoo.”

Me: “yeah”

Gil: “see, those two songs are, they seem “phansceptic”, it seems like I’m singing about a girl, you know, and that’s not necessarily true .I mean It could be interpreted that way, but it’s not necessarily…”

Me: “well what are you singing about?”

Gil: “Well I don’t know (laughs)…”

Charlie Morales: “It’s up to us”

Me: “ That’s the beauty of it.”

Gil: “It’s up to you, yeah”

Sean McBreen: “is this the interview?”

(laughs)

Gil: “Yeah, it’s the interview”

Me: “well that’s ruined.”

(laughs)

Gil: “well anyways,so did that answer your question?”

Me: “that answers the majority of it, and like you already touched basis about the transitions, that was something that I…(just) a notable feature on this album, that was great, from beginning to end, just like you said, and I feel like a lot of bands, when they do certain albums, sometimes, they leave that out, and sometimes they leave it in, like the placement.

“So when you guys are building, and you said, you guys spent your time, went to Mississippi..”

Gil: “oh,yeah”

Me: “6 months, 4000 miles, I read that… ”

Gil: “crazy”

Me: “what was it that made you go way over there, because Missipppi had a lot of influence on the great river…I think the fluididty, of how it(the album) flows, all that…”

Gil: “There’s also samples of the actual area, in the album, like we sampled a storm, we sampled the ocean, and its all located like subliminally in the record, as well as in the surface, and subliminally throughout the record. Um, I think

(talking in the room )

Gil: “the reason we went over there was I mean, why not? First of all, I mean we had the capability, and our drummer had a house on the gulf coast of Mississippi where Hurricane Katrina hit, like real hard, like the center of it, and rebuilt the house, and um so we’re like lets go there and record the album and get away from any sort of outside influence, and create something ourselves outside of anything, any sort of influences, and um, so that’s one reason, um, also its fucking beautiful there, and we knew it was beautiful there. Well actually the third night there was a serious storm though and we thought we were gonna die…other than that it was beautiful, it was great”

(laughs)

Gil: “uh, so yeah, um (heavy sigh)

Morales: *mocking* (heavy sigh)

Gil: “…then but you know we didn’t plan on that significance, sorta went there, on a whim and then it took on a significance afterwards. We didn’t plan on calling the album great river until we went to Mississippi.”

Me: “What was it? Like a particular event that said ‘you know what, this is it, this is what we’re gonna name it’”

Gil: “probably the storm.”

Me: “the storm?”

Gil: “when we all thought we we’re gonna die and watch Friday the 13th…yeah it was great.”

Justin of Flyway enters room and needs to stop interview and borrow Gil for a moment.

Morales: “you fucked up the fluidity Justin!”

Me: “you did Justin!”

Morales: “Fuck.”


During a short intermission, Gil returned to the green room, once again joining myself and Morales, and brought with him band member, Graham Walker, again noting how they’re unable to get the band together at the same time.

It’s almost 2 a.m., on now a Saturday morning, and Gil pushes for the talk to continue. During this piece, what stood out the most would be Gil explaining what it means to him when he sees his audience, or a fan in the crowd, get lost within the music. It seemed that unintentional sarcasm flew from Gil as the 2nd half continued (which makes me laugh at myself for the vast amount of alcohol consumption I inhaled through the night, and Gil obviously noting this in his tone).

Walker spoke in the beginning, as well as more of Morales heard here, speaking on The Violet Mindfield’s behalf.

Gil’s demeanor was always relaxed, and confident, in anything he articulated, as well as being very detailed in his answers, reflecting a piece of him that can be heard in the band’s music. He was very welcoming and I appreciate the time for the small chat that went off topic at times, but defined a true piece of himself that was unscripted, like the audio interpretation of Morales’ outfit at the end of the audio clip.

 

 

 

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