GEPH describes their music as having influences from both jazz and metal. This interesting combination of genres interested us, and we sat down with the group and talked about the Boston music scene and the band's influences.
The Fan Connection (TFC): Hi GEPH! We're happy to have you here on The Fan Connection! Thank you for taking the time out to interview with us!
GEPH: Thanks very much for doing the interview with us!
TFC: Let's get all those normal details out of the way first, then we'll move on to the fun stuff! Who's who and who plays what?
GEPH: We have Josh Goldberg on Chapman Stick, John Tyler Kent also on Chapman Stick and Josh Merhar on drums.
TFC: Tell us about your music, and give us one "sounds like" band name in the description.
Josh M.: A little bit of metal, a little bit of jazz, a lot of odd time signatures. I guess we’re perhaps most similar to Animals as Leaders in the sense that we’re both an instrumental trio that can get really heavy at times, but also really pretty at times.
TFC: How long have you been playing together as GEPH, and how did that take shape and come about?
Josh M.: GEPH started somewhere around September 2014. Josh G. and Tyler knew each other through the Stick community, and Josh M. and Tyler used to live together. Josh G. had a couple ideas for songs that he wanted to flesh out with other musicians, so we got together and started jamming on what eventually became the song “Splinter”. It was only natural that two of the only Stick players in the area got together and starting making music with one another. Writing and piecing songs together felt pretty natural since we all complement each other’s style.
TFC: You're hometown is listed as Boston. Is that where you're all originally from, and is your band still based out of there?
Josh G.: Yep, we started in Boston and we’re still in Boston. Josh M. and Tyler met at Berklee and stayed in Boston, and I’d recently moved to the area from New York.
TFC: We know Boston has a pretty decent music scene! How has that helped you (or held you back) along your journey?
John Tyler: We’re very fortunate to have made some really good friends here. We’ve gotten a lot of support from the folks in Ben Levin Group, Bent Knee, Titans of Industry, Department of Everything, Vitamin Sun, and so many more bands than I could even begin mention. We’re very happy to be surrounded by such a healthy music scene.
TFC: Any specific music venue's there you'd like to give a shout out to for their support?
Josh G.: Huge ups to the Ratsnest in Allston, a DIY venue in a basement that always puts on packed shows and is always super professional to work with.
TFC: Ok, best and worst shows played yet. GO!
Josh G.: My worst show incident with GEPH has to be from our second or third show. We were opening up the show, and literally after the first song my belt hook broke. On the Stick there’s two parts to holding it to you, the strap and the belt hook, and both are just as necessary as the other. Instead of stopping the show, I held the Stick up on a stool for the rest of the set. We made it through and still played alright despite the adversity.
TFC: You guys have done some traveling in the last year and a half or so...care to tell us about any interesting road stories? Don't hold back, everyone loves a good road story!
Josh M.: Oddly enough, I think our most frustrating road story is a local one. We were backing out of our rehearsal space in our $1 van to head to a show across town. There was a sizeable bump at the edge of the driveway. Upon going over said bump, the front axle on the van snapped. That was the end of our $1 van. Since it was a local show, a buddy of ours was able to swing up and deliver us to the venue just in time for our set.
TFC: Now, you guys have an album release coming up on March 29th. We see you have a pre-sale going on. Is the pre-sale still available? How can fans check that out and order, if so?
GEPH: It is still going on, and you can find it on GEPH.bandcamp.com! If you order a physical copy of the album while it’s in pre-sale, then you’ll get a one-of-a-kind handmade poster along with it for free!
TFC: What's your normal protocol for building your fan base? How do you get the word out?
Josh G.: I think the two biggest things that go hand in hand are: a) make your live show awesome; and b) be super personable and make friends rather than fans. There’s obviously more to it than that: we have videos on Youtube and DIY handmade posters and merch so people will remember us when they walk away, but I believe they’re more likely to come back and bring friends if you make a real connection with them as people rather than just listeners.
TFC: GEPH has already has some good reviews for this upcoming album, was that exciting for you guys?
Josh M.: Definitely! Our music can get pretty weird, so we’re stoked that other people seem to be into it. It’s really encouraging to get positive feedback, especially since this is our first release.
TFC: Will you be having a release party for it? If so, where is that and what are the details?
Josh G.: Yes we are! We’re having it at the unchARTed Gallery in Lowell, MA on March 25th! We’re playing with the Ben Levin Group and a band called Spooky Future, and it’s looking like it’s going to be quite a show.
TFC: Ok, these are our favorites. Feel special...I don't give them to everyone.
What's the "Band Van"?
GEPH: We had this huge red van we called the GEPHMobile, but that died. Now we travel in Josh G’s Kia Soul, which we have lovingly dubbed “Scooty Puff, Jr.”
Who drives the most?
GEPH: Josh or Josh, but probably Josh.
Do you have a professional sleeper in the group? (this is the dude who falls asleep in New York and wakes up in Florida)
Who's the "band mom"?
GEPH: Probably Josh G.
Resident hippy? (the guy who whines every time you hit the dollar menu)
GEPH: Not sure if this counts, but once we forced Josh M. to have Taco Bell for the first time in his life while we were on the road. He still holds it against us.
TFC: Fans are the #1 most important part of an act's ride to the top, and they love to help a band that they love on that journey. If there was one thing you could ask of your fans this year, what would it be?
Josh G.: If everyone who finds us tells 2 friends, and then those 2 friends tell 2 friends, then by the end of the year just about everyone in the world will know who we are.
TFC: As you know, The Fan Connection is a social media/e-commerce website geared strictly towards music artists and their fans. We have some incredible features rolling out in 2016. Some of them include a new music player with radio-like format, private chat rooms so you can chat with your fans, Fan Clubs and merch stores where YOU earn money, and live video streaming. Of the few we've mentioned, which ones do you think will be most beneficial to GEPH and why?
John Tyler: I can only speak for myself personally, but I’m a big fan of these internet radio/music players. A lot of the music I listen to today is stuff that I discovered on Pandora or Spotify Radio. We also are pretty responsive to our fan base online, so I could imagine us getting into the chat room thing as well.
TFC: Thank you so much for your time! We look forward to watching your fan base grow on The Fan Connection!
GEPH: Thank YOU! This is a cool opportunity.
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