Gengahr: “I’ve never actually filled my gums with blood”

Ahead of the first day of London Calling Festival, All Things Loud spoke to upcoming indie rock sensation Gengahr about Pokemon, why they aren’t from North Dakota and what plans they have for the future.

It’s a miserable Friday afternoon when we sit down with Danny and John of London-quartet Gengahr ahead of their set at Amsterdam’s London Calling Festival. In and amongst the hustle and bustle of bands loading into the Paradiso venue, Danny tells us how the band came to form mainly through school and other projects. Guitarist John only met the rest of the band later on, before the band put their first demos up online last year. One of these demos was uploaded to the BBC Introducing Uploader, which caught the attention of Huw Stephens. “He’s been wonderful to us, really helpful by playing our tracks. We did a Maida Vale session with him and he got us sets at Latitude and Glastonbury. He basically plucked us from obscurity” muses Danny, as John calmly giggles to himself (something which he does often during our short chat). Talk quickly shifts to the summer festivals, where Danny tells us that Glastonbury was his clear highlight, with John adding that they had a crowd advantage due to secret sets from Bombay Bicycle Club and Little Dragon either side of their set. The summer saw them play lots of new songs from their debut album, which is due next spring. According to John, the recording process “actually started this week”, with the plan being to have it finished by December and released in the spring of 2015. One song which will definitely feature is their debut single, Powder. On the subject of how this song came to life, Danny tells us that lead vocalist Felix basically came up with a small idea for the song which the band quickly thrashed out into what became Powder. “We write very quickly”, states Danny. Their debut single, which is out now, encompasses laid back, Alt J-esque drums and guitar licks before getting very memorable in the chorus. Another song set to feature on the album is the interestingly titled Fill My Gums with Blood. As Danny tells us, the title for this song (and many others) came from a narrative. At this point, John lightly jokes that he’s never actually filled his gums with blood, before looking back down to the ground, occasionally giggling.

As Gengahr made a name for themselves, different stories started popping up on the Internet about who they really are. “It’s weird, we’ve been called a five piece quite often, and people also think we have a female singer” says John as he also points out that the band are really not from North Dakota, contrary to various online claims. The name Gengahr itself was taken from the popular TV show Pokemon, with an additional letter added to avoid copyright claims. The band claim they were fans of Pokemon, with frontman Felix still picking up Gameboy’s every now and then to play.

On the subject of tonight’s show, the band expresses enthusiasm at playing in a former church. They’ve only just arrived, getting lost on the way to their second ever show in Holland (and first ever show in Amsterdam). It’s only early days for Gengahr, but if their show later that evening was anything to go by, then we’re going to be seeing and hearing a lot more from them in the future.