Talk Talk: An Interview With Bo Gritz

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Peckham based trio Bo Gritz are becoming well known faces on the capital's still fertile small music venue circuit. Named after an eccentric US Military officer frequently cited in Journalist Jon Ronson's novel 'Them', the band's noise rock punk live shows have a reputation for being ear splittingly loud. 

This week they head to The Shackelwell Arms alongside 404 and Socket and ahead of the show we spoke to bassist Ben Salt about the band's progression and the avenues available to help get your music heard.

Can you tell us a bit about how you guys got together as a band?

Finn (vocals, guitar) and I formed the band back in 2015 which feels a lifetime ago now. We started jamming and writing songs in studios around London which culminated in us self-releasing an EP called Everyday Ennui not long after. We recorded it live straight to tape with help from a few friends at Super Unison Studios in Peckham. Shortly after that release we met Max at one of our shows and he joined us on drums to complete the trio.

Who are your musical influences, contemporary or otherwise?

I mean where do you start? The obvious ones are the likes of Swans, Shellac and Sonic Youth but I think we all pull from different directions which makes it interesting. Max for instance is really into Can and all that Krautrock stuff whereas I pull influence from more of a dance background like ESG. Contemporary bands we love? USA Nails! Also Housewives are ace. There's a new band about called Black Midi who we've seen a couple of times who are like 17, they're gonna be huge.  

Where else do you take inspiration from beyond music?

The visual arts definitely. We produce our artwork and gig posters ourselves.   

How do you feel you’ve progressed as a band since forming?

The band is pretty much unrecognisable from when we formed we've improved that much. There's not a single song we play now that we played at the first Bo Gritz shows. It's been a very natural progression and bodes well for the future. We're constantly writing songs that we think are better than what's gone before.

Do you feel there are enough avenues for you to get your music out there, either in a live setting or on record?

Well, with regards a live setting I think we've been very lucky in that avenues have just opened for us. We've been fortunate to meet a lot of promoters and fellow musicians that like what we're trying to do and are kind enough to put us on bills. The internet has opened so many avenues in getting your music out there, if anything it's too easy. Ultimately if the music is good enough it will find a home.  

What would you like to see more of to help support the UK live music scene?

There could always be more done to help grassroots music of course. I think, in the capital at least, there's been positive movements in supporting live music, naming Amy Lame as the first London Night Czar for example.

It does worry me however when I see beloved venues close down like the Stag and Hounds and Start The Bus in Bristol. Councils should show more leniency with venues and understand how vital live music is. I guess all we can do is keep going to shows and keep playing the music.

What’s it been like to work with Strong Island Recordings?

Yeah great. Max has being doing odd bits with them for a while organising and repping shows. When he joined the band we naturally started hanging out with everyone at the label, going to their gigs and stuff. We put out a single 'You Just Cover' and played quite a few shows for them both in London and in Portsmouth.

This has been billed as your last show of the year, what will you be working on in the meantime?

We've been in the studio a lot recently so we'll be working on those recordings, maybe preparing some new releases. Maybe even an album but we're not in any rush. Finn has formed a new project called Thinner that I'm sure he will take to a few venues. It's just him on synth and a good friend of ours James Onashile on drums, it's real abrasive. I'm going on the road for a couple of months in South America and Max is going on tour as a sound tech. But we'll be back in force in January playing shows so all very exciting!

MusicJamal Guthrie