While we are excited at the prospect of experiencing GSX again this Saturday, December 16th in New York City at Arlene's Grocery, we strongly urge all rock n' roll fans to join us!
GSX has one of the best live performances I have seen this year - such a crucial piece to a successful band that they have indeed mastered- this is definitely not a show you want to miss.
Recently we were thrilled to get a chance to ask front woman Sarah Greenwood a few questions about GSX, their new cd "Manifest" and what we can expect from this fast rising band in 2007.
TCZ: Tell us a little bit about what influenced you the most in pursuing a career in music?
Sarah: The love of performing, the love of music. I used to take eurhythmic classes as a kid, and started performing in yearly shows when I was five. I also used to play classical piano recitals as a kid and teenager. My first rock show performance was at age 13. I was hooked! Music and performance seem to be a few of the only things to take you out of this world, and out of time. I love it. It keeps me in the moment! I want my life to be about that.
TCZ: How old were you when you performed rock live for the first time and what do you remember most about that event?
Sarah: My first rock performance was at age 13 at my highschool. What struck me was the audience. I had spent all my energy preparing the songs, and it never occurred to me to think of what would happen with the audience, during and after the performance. I had never pictured that people might actually pay attention and might actually cheer at the end! I was amazed and hooked by the experience.
TCZ: As a classically trained artist how does that training help you today?
Sarah: It helps with my songwriting and in communicating with other musicians.
TCZ: Tell us about your gear and your very first axe.
Sarah: My first electric was a solid-body Rickenbacher, and my first amp was a Peavey Classic 50.
TCZ: Do you still have them?
Sarah: No way! Neither are heavy enough sounding for GSX!
TCZ: Can you share with us the story behind your band GSX?
Sarah: I performed for quite a while with a band, but we performed under my solo name. In the Spring of 2003, I was living in London, and the band came over from NYC for some shows (which was an awesome experience!). The type of music we played and our set-up definitely called for a shift to a band name. GSX was born. We continued to perform under the band name GSX after I returned to NYC.
TCZ: Last April you released "Manifest" which you also produced along with Guitarist Chris Goercke. What was the most difficult challenges you faced as an indie band self producing your debut CD?
Sarah: The biggest challenge was making sure we had all the arrangements and recording details ironed out during pre-production, so we could minimize costs while in the studio.
TCZ: How long did it take to produce "Manifest"?
Sarah: About 40 hours of pre-production. 200 hours to track and mix in the studio.
TCZ: While recording "Manifest" what track did the band find the most difficult to record and why?
Sarah: Vocally, "Bringin' Me Down" gave me the most grief; the verse is pretty quiet and open: you can hear everything - so it had to be as close to perfect as possible without sounding over-produced, controlled or emotionless. Hard to do! The actual tracking of the rhythm section was done in 1 day; we were well-rehearsed, so we didn't run into many difficulties there.
As far the mixing went, "Slide" was the hardest. For some reason, getting a good balance between the 2 guitars and finding the right balance with the other elements proved difficult, but after a few passes, we got it.
TCZ: Tell us about "Too Far" what that song means to you and why you believe it's become such a fan favorite.
Sarah: I think people like this track because of the riff, the tempo, the heaviness, and the lyrical content. It's about crossing that invisible line and taking things just a little "too far"! This song is meaningful to me because it feels like a journal entry - it brings up a specific time in my life.
TCZ: Do you have any habits or rituals you employ when you compose and is there a certain time of day or night that "motivates" your writing more?
Sarah: I like to write songs with my digital 4-track - make sure I can capture what I come up with and listen back to get perspective. I like to write at night, but if I can get the apartment to myself during the day, I like to write then, too.
TCZ: Do you avoid any foods or staples to protect your voice while recording?
Sarah: I definitely avoid caffeine and dairy products when I'm in the studio! I always try to get plenty of rest before a vocal session or a gig, and I try to stay hydrated.
TCZ: Give us a little insight into GSX and tell us a little about your band members and what they bring to the band.
Sarah: AJ Maltese (bass) really holds down the low-end. He really rocks live, and I can always rely on his presence on stage. Tony Graci (drums) has a great feel, and always gives his performances 100%! I can always lean on his grooves. John Andrews (lead guitar) has a really great guitar tone! He's a really solid player and a pleasure to rock out with!
TCZ: We had the pleasure of watching the band perform live at CBGB'swhile opening for Joan Jett and we noticed during your set you actually performed the music in the same order it appears on your CD. Was that intentional and if so why?
Sarah: It was definitely intentional. We spent a good deal of time deciding what the track listing of "Manifest" should be. We figured we'd try the same order live to see how it felt. We tried it out in rehearsal, and thought the flow was good, so we went ahead with that order at CBGB's.
TCZ: Now this is the second time you opened for Joan Jett, the first time wasactually your first performance in America as well correct? Can you tell usabout and how it feels to open for an artist who had such a strong influence on you?
Sarah: Actually, the first time I opened for Joan Jett was my first show in NYC. It feels pretty surreal, first of all to get to meet such a personally meaningful artist, and then to get to open - a true honor! It really is like walking through a childhood dream. I'm truely grateful!
TCZ: How do you feel when you are compared to artists like Joan Jett, Chrissie Hynde and PJ Harvey in the media?
Sarah: It's very flattering!
TCZ: What is the most difficult obstacle you have had to overcome because you are a female fronted band?
Sarah: Being included on male-dominated bills. Bookers have a tendency to want to lump all "girl bands" together, regardless of musical style, and put together "girl" nights. I just wanna rock - it shouldn't matter what my gender is! There have been many instances where I've been the only woman on a bill with 4 or 5 other bands (ratio = 19 guys, 1 woman!!!). This industry is obviously still very male-domiated... So, Women: keep rockin' haaaaard!!! Make yourselves heard!!!!
TCZ: What can we expect from GSX in the near future? Any tours planned? New singles or videos?
Sarah: We have a new video for the track "Too Far" - shot by Katrina del Mar on black & white 8mm. It's grainy and edgy! We'll put it up on our myspace soon. We have a new record in the works, but no specific timeframe for release yet. A Northeast tour is in the works for March 07. Stay tuned!!
TCZ: Is there anything we haven't covered that you would like to share?
Sarah: 2006 was an amazing year for GSX. Here are some highlights:
April: GSX appears in the indie film "Kiss Me Again" with Jeremy London, Katheryn Winnick, Elisa Donovan, and Darryl Hammond. 2 GSX tracks are included in the film's soundstrack. The film screens at the Tribecca Film Festival in NYC, Sarah attends the premier.
June: GSX opens for Joan Jett at CBGB's. It's like opening for the Pope at the Vatican!
July: GSX gets airplay on Q104.3, New York's biggest commercial classic rock station!
Sept: GSX performs at the Medusa Festival for their last show at CBGB's. The place is packed! They meet Sandra Bernhard and Ricky Byrd (original Blackheart).
Oct. 21: GSX performs at Fontanas: it's packed and a mosh pit erupts!!! (photos soon on myspace!)
Other: Sarah writes original music for Katrina del Mar's new short film "Surf Gang," which does the national indie film fest circuit and wins "best experimental film" in Planet Out's 2006 awards.
One last thing: thanks to all you rock fans for your unwavering support in 2006. We're looking forward to rockin' you through 2007! We love you! GSX
"Manifest" is available at www.gsxrock.com
Interview by GWGS © The Cover Zone December 2006