DECEMBER 3RD, 2016. IT’S FRIDAY NIGHT AT COVO CLUB IN BOLOGNA, ITALY. BEFORE THE LITTLE VENUE GET PACKED WITH PEOPLE, WE HAVE THE CHANCE OF AN INTIMATE CHAT WITH SINGER GREG GONZALEZ, A RECENT BROOKLYN TRANSPLANT FROM EL PASO, TEXAS, AND THE ULTIMATE DIEHARD ROMANTIC WITH AN ANDROGYNOUS VOICE.
HIS BAND IS CALLED CIGARETTES AFTER SEX AND THEIR SOUND IS A MELANCHOLIC POP NOIR THAT DESPITE THE NAME, ITS AMBIENT QUALITIES DON’T PREVENT FROM BEING MUSIC YOU CAN DANCE TO.
Hello Greg, did you just got here? You have been touring since a while now, right?
Hello, yes, a couple of hours ago. The tour is going well with a string of sold out dates and i am very pleased with it. We started in Tel Aviv that is the the biggest place where we have played recently with 1.000 people and then London with 800 people: i was surprised there as everyone was so quiet and silent during the show, really enjoying the sound…
You’ll be touring next year as well, including some festival appearance. So which are the plans until the end of the year and after?
We’ll be touring through mid-December, then finishing the album right around New Years. Tonight you’ll here few new songs like ‘K’. Then another series of gigs in Europe with stops at Primavera Sound, Porto, Glastonbury and few more great festivals that we are going to announce pretty soon. I’m especially excited to go to Spain a as i’ve never been to Barcelona even if we have been asked a lot to play there.
Your music is so intimate, what inspires your lyrics? And how much of your personality is into the music?
Definitely 100%, no doubt. All songs are mostly inspired by relationships I’ve had, really personal stories that happened; for me it’s like taking little snapshots, a sort of photography of the moment. Or like writing a letter and putting it in a drawer. And you are right, it’s very intimate and aligned with my personality.
There’s a beautiful picture of a feather displayed on your tour flyer. Does it have a special meaning?
The feather is actually from a portrait of Man Ray called “Rayograph”. I love his work, it’s very ispiring and fits together with our work. It was just an instinctual feeling to choose it and it makes things stronger. There’s another photographer from Berlin that i like that is similar to Man Ray.
Our December issue is dedicated to Beauty. What’s for you?
Beauty? Nice. I think i associate the word with landscapes most of the time. Beaches, mountains or anything that is linked to nature. It’s something that i want to transmit with my music as well, like the feeling of the beach at night or the waves crashing… no human structure, just freedom.
Can you briefly describe the members of your band?
Yes, of course. It’s myself, vocals and guitar. And then Phillip Tubbs at the synth that has been involved with me for a long time, Randy Miller for the bass and Jake Tomsky with the drums that i both met in Brooklyn and are amazing players that really know what to avoid in music. I used to say that the band is based in Brooklyn even if Jake is in LA at the moment and Philip in Texas so is a kind of a long distance relationship.
Looking forward to see you and the band next April 25th in Milan this time!
Photos by Fabrizio Consoli for RedMilk Magazine
Special thanks to Vivo Concerti