Latest release: Ghastly City Sleep 
File under: Post-rock, ambient...
I really hate the term "post-rock" sometimes. It seems to be used to describe any band that utilise atmosphere and write songs over 5 minutes long. I'm at the point now where I'm not even sure what it is anymore due to the term being thrown around so much. The best way I can describe Ghastly City Sleep is ambient post-rock. Throw in some shoegaze too. Maybe. I just don't know anymore.
Anyway, GCS use a variety of instruments to create a very relaxing soundscape. Maybe that's what the Ghastly City is? The opener of their self-titled debut EP, "Ice Creaks" is the highlight of the release, a 9 minute jaunt through their post-ambient-gaze sound. The EP features the services of members from Gregor Samsa, and whilst the band may be similar in parts, clones they are not. GCS' debut full-length will be out later this year.
Who are you, where are you from and what is your role in the band?
Brandon: "Brandon Evans, Richmond, VA/Brooklyn NY,
singing/guitaring/synthesizing/keyboarding/stressing/depressing/struggling for the uplifting..."
What's the story behind the band name?
Brandon: "Originally Jeff Kane and I, when we were in City of Caterpillar, were contemplating starting our own label to put out our records and we decided to use the name "The Ghastly City Sleep"... we never got the chance to bring it to fruition. When City of Caterpillar split up, it just seemed right to continue on and use that as our name, though Kevin never really did make it to practices... and the band took about 17 lightyears to gel and cool and form... yet it still feels right as for our name. It's a state that we as humans naturally reside in... it's hard and rare to break through, it's just not in our surroundings most of the time... not in these societies we build."
Can you explain the EP sleeve; the format and what the text refers to?
Brandon: "The record sleeve contains the lyrics to the songs and other writings. They are broken up in fragments/shards of the whole, to give even less of a stable end-meaning, but more a means to apply emotions within each individual, to their own lives and stories... not mine as me so much... just states of flux and drift, struggle or triumph... set up like an old newspaper or classified, revolutionary propaganda flyer... you could pick it up and read any little bit to spark off personal interest/insight."
With the GCS members adept at so many instruments, do you spend much time deliberating over which instrument will play a certain section of a song?
Brandon: "Yeah, for sure, of course... it's quite the nature of the beast really, and it could be much more, if we were more adept at more instruments, or maybe simply if we had more... depends right... hah. However, we, for the most part, still stick to more standard rock instruments, whether it be guitar, bass, drums or keyboard, you know... but then experiment from there on out; adding whatever we feel like expanding out to in which the song may be calling for/or what spacial depth it contains to stretch... I think holding on to those instruments comes from our backgrounds, and the way we like things to feel in the live setting... but yeah. It's goddam nervewracking sometimes the amount of time we can waste when we get caught in one of our own snarls trying out a million different little ideas or tones that maybe just dont matter... or they do more than ever... who knows... it's just it happens for us."
How has the band evolved since the 2007 EP and how will this evolution be noticeable on your upcoming full-length?
Brandon: "Well, the most influential and noticeable impact effecting our songwriting for our upcoming full-length has been Pat adding a sampler into the gear mix... many of our new songs now involve as a starting focus in writing... electronic beats, and sometimes drones, that we then build upon; or spark the interesting skeletal-structure melodies... better yet, it is now a constant instrument added into the mix of songs, like bass or guitar or keys. It's become a staple... not just a flare or frequent additive. In addition to the sampler, I feel we are experimenting with minute little parts for more instruments now and the layering a trifle more than the last... the new songs feel more beatbacked moving... a sorta sexy slight bodydance sadness maybe. That, and we are sort of hoping to do a little more of a dubstyle mixing to the whole this time. With this new stuff, I get images of being in a blanketed, arctic white... spanning out, and deep below; a drift you can just keep holing and holing into its depths without a change; just sheer, glimmering shininess that evokes a loneliness where you become comfortable and reach moments of dancing to yourself without a care... just quick, fleeting moments that take forever to form, you know. That's my crazy head though..."
Thanks to Brandon for his time, and a shout-out to Janelle of GCS too for being really sweet. Visit the links below!