Charisma aside, The Gills is far from the band Pensacola was introduced to several years ago. Since then, the group has moved towns, changed face and done a great deal of growing up, growing out and growing into a new, more serious skin. Above all they are carrying out their mission—to build a dream of creating and sharing music they love.
Thanks to Kickstarter support and a lot of hard work, amidst juggling day jobs and settling into their new Nashville, Tenn. homestead, they have managed to produce the most notable fruit of their labor, “Motor Running.” While the title track begins subtly reminiscent of earlier works, it quickly erupts into harmonies that melodically support a more developed sound that runs throughout this five-track EP.
As The Gills hit the highway, traveling to Atlanta for the first of several album release shows, it was evident this four-man, band of brothers is reenergized, rearing and ready. While weaving their way through the mountains, Jesse Wheeler (guitar, vocals) and Andy Price (bassist, vocals) shared with the IN their excitement about having new music out there to share and bringing their music vision to fruition.
IN: What is the energy like going into these shows having completed a new album?
WHEELER: We’re all really excited about being out there having something new to share with everyone. We’re really proud of how the new album turned out.
IN: Is this new album something you guys have been gradually working on since you moved to Nashville, Tenn. or has it been something that is a more recent development?
PRINCE: It’s been something we have worked on since we moved to Nashville, Tenn. The album really came out of the struggles of moving, not being in a comfortable place and it took a long time. We had to get our feet on the ground first before recording and making our vision happen.
IN: Do you feel like the album introduces listeners to a new Gills?
PRINCE: It’s definitely a newer sound. We have so many new influences now. Of course we always want to be ourselves, but we’re growing a lot and Nashville, Tenn. has influenced it a lot, too. The writing process from here on out is going to be a lot more mature—it has been and will continue to be. We feel like we have something great to offer, something a little different. You can say it sounds like this band or sounds like this band but I feel like we have something unique that you can’t narrow down to sounding like just one band.
IN: How is Nashville, Tenn. treating you guys?
WHEELER: We’ve been meeting a lot of people, which is great because it’s still like a small town in that way. It’s definitely where we are supposed to be right now…although we just want to say, we definitely miss the beach!
IN: What was recording like this time around?
WHEELER: Working with our good friend Paul Kimsal is always awesome. He is a great engineer and easy to work with. We recorded in our own basement so we were really comfortable. It did take a long time since we were all working jobs, but it’s better that it did. We had to think everything out and it gave us the time to make sure we liked everything.
IN: How is it having two sets of brothers in the band?
PRINCE: It’s a cool thing to have the dynamic of two sets of brothers on stage. It also makes the writing experience really cool. We can argue something out and be totally honest about it and then come to a compromise. At the end of the day we’re still brothers.
IN: Does the title “Motor Running” symbolize a sort of momentum you guys are, well, running with?
WHEELER: The title track is about the machine we, as humans, have created. It is the first EP with the band that it is now, and it’s the way it’s supposed to be. It could have a double meaning, but mainly it’s a metaphor for what we have created.
IN: What is the biggest difference between The Gills today and The Gills that Pensacola was initially introduced to?
WHEELER: It is definitely more of a group effort, as far as the writing. My brother Chris is writing a lot now too. We write the base of a song, bring it to the table, finish it together, compromising until we get the song to where we all like it. Before it was not so much like that. Now everybody is creating, so it’s just fun.
IN: What comes next for The Gills? More writing and more recording?
WHEELER: Yeah. We’re actually looking into recording again really soon here. Keep it going; keep it flowing.
Catch The Gills live both day and night Saturday, June 9, starting with an afternoon performance at the grand opening of the Community Maritime Park Amphitheater, followed by an evening showcase at Vinyl Music Hall.
Name your price and download “Motor Running” at thegills.bandcamp.com or receive a copy of the album along with ticketed entry to their show at Vinyl Music Hall.
THE GILLS CD RELEASE SHOW
WHAT: The Gills with Chris Staples, Paloma and Jonni Greth
WHEN: 8 p.m., Saturday, June 9 (doors at 7 p.m.)
WHERE: Vinyl Music Hall, 2 S. Palafox
COST: $10, includes a copy of the album; additional $5 at the door for under 21
DETAILS: All ages (attendees under 16 must be accompanied by a ticketed, adult guardian). For advance tickets and more information visit vinylmusichall.com.