gumm | As Tradition
I met Drew at last years Ghost Fest. He was looking for a table for merch and I was running around trying to find him one. Lol memories (Ghost Fest 3! October 27, 2018!!) anyways, Drew is one of the nicest, most supportive guys. He has sent so many bands my way and continues to be so kind to me. Staring Through You will be released sometime in August. If their single As Tradition is any indication of what is to come it is going to be amazing. One of the lyrics that stands out to me in this song is "mourning the absence of the truth" Drew talks about his experience while working on this record and how it evolved and became something that he didn't expect. It sounds as if this record will be incredibly honest and reflective of the struggles many of us face. Thank you gumm for being so vulnerable. Thank you for As Tradition. I can't wait to hear more!
Thanks for being nice Drew.
Drew Waldon - vocals
Harrison Battles - drums
Dylan Mikres - guitar
Koby Schuman - bass
Gumm actually came together as a metal band in the summer of 2017 under the name Enemy. In those early stages, I (Drew) was playing drums and Harrison was on guitar and as it turns out, we liked listening to metal music a lot more than we liked playing it. To us, it just never came naturally. Harrison and I had a history of playing music together; in 2016 Harrison had filled in on bass for my old rock band Homebody, and later that year we’d played a few shows together as members of a small local hardcore project. The musical chemistry between us was there, but
stylistically the metal thing wasn’t working out. I grew up on punk rock and hardcore, playing in various bands throughout high school. That was just what came naturally. Harrison was really into Relient K growing up and had a leaning toward that kind of stuff, but also was way into death metal at the time that we started writing. We actually decided to switch stuff up pretty out of the blue. At practice one day both of us kind of looked at each other and said, “what do ya say we scrap the whole thing?” We ditched the stuff we were trying to write and immediately became an
entirely different band. That day, we wrote 2 songs, one of which – entitled Bleed Through - we still play live and is coming out on the EP in August.
Once we had more clarity about the direction we wanted to take, things picked up a lot easier. We officially brought in Dylan, who had been jamming with us a little bit in the days of us trying to play metal. We met him through the local scene – he’s been in a couple really cool post-rock and emo bands around town. We knew he was really getting into punk and hardcore so it was an easy fit. Once we changed course sound-wise and brought him into the writing process, everything came together pretty perfectly. Not yet having a bass-player, though, made the writing process kind of strange: I was on still on drums and Harrison and Dylan swapped out between bass and guitar; when we played shows Dylan was on guitar, Harrison was on drums, I was doing vocals, and our buddy Philip filled in on bass. It’s a weird setup but we’ve made it work. And now we all know the songs pretty thoroughly. Our good friend Koby recently joined the band on bass and fills the role really well. On top of being a solid dude, he picks up on stuff very easily and we’re excited to have him as a permanent member.
We’re from Chattanooga, TN, where the scene has both really fruitful seasons and really dry spells. There’s lots of small pockets of musicians and artists and bands all over town and there’s not usually a lot of communication or overlap between them. I will say it’s getting better- different bands are talking to each other and playing shows together that wouldn’t have a few years ago. I think that may be because the scene as a whole is starting to really see community for the necessity it is. To Gumm, we find it super important and valuable to try and help bridge those gaps. We all met through local music. Some our very best friendships were born from local shows. We all need each other –if you’re not willing to support your local creative community I don’t really see how you’d expect them to support you. We’re all in this together, really. There are lots of bands that have a lot to offer and community is key.
Our first single, “As Tradition” came out on July 3 rd , 2018 as a teaser for the upcoming record, which is a 5 song EP called “Staring Through You” set to be released in August. The record started out almost as a series of diss tracks about my step dad. Now there are a couple songs that could still be interpreted in that way, but the record as a whole has taken a different approach; a less black-and-white, problem/solution angle. I’d say it’s largely about introspection
through the lens of how I interact with others. I didn’t expect for it to turn out as such a fluid, cohesive piece but throughout the songs, the lyrics are held together by a consistent thread. There’s anger and intensity regarding things I dislike about the world –problems that I see and want resolved. But they’re juxtaposed against this feeling of not adding up. Of being the reason for these things. I address my own apathy and stubbornness as being contributing factors to the injustices of life. The last line of the record illustrates it best, I think. The final track, a song called “Contrast”, is spent ripping on Christianity and church culture, specifically its celebrity-worship and lack of humility or transparency. But the last few lines shine back on me, hi-lighting the fact that I’m no better and pointing out the detrimental double standard that I – and most people - hold for others. The last line of that song, and of the entire record, says: “I’m staring through you and I see myself; through you, I see myself.” The record wound up being named after that line and I really feel like it helps define the lyrics of this record as a whole.
Our good friend Kalib did the artwork for the release and I couldn’t be more pleased; he’s an insanely talented artist and graphic designer and super easy to work with. He’s designed all of our stuff so far; the single artwork, the EP cover, t-shirts, stickers. He’s truly amazing. Stylistically, the aesthetic of his design fits so perfectly with the music and wound up flowing pretty seamlessly with the lyrical content. In the phase of structuring the musicality of the record, and individual songs, we all did what came naturally to us individually. I felt more inclined to make a Minor Threat-ish sounding record, whereas Dylan had been listening to a lot of 90’s hardcore, like Inside Out and 108. Like I said earlier, Harrison was into death metal. But he’d been doing a deep dive into some shoegaze bands when we started writing, and exploring a band we all have a deep admiration for: Fugazi. Add all those factors up and then include my soft spot for Ceremony and you get Gumm. I’m not saying we’re comparable to any of those bands; we’re not. But we definitely pull a lot of inspiration from them. Cody Davidson, another awesomely talented friend, recorded, mixed, and mastered our stuff at his home studio up in Dayton, Ohio. The man is a wizard and such a great guy to work with. He made the process super enjoyable and literally could not have been more impressive with his skill-set. He rocked that shit and made us sound incredible.
The release date of the record isn’t completely set yet, but it’s looking like early-mid august. Keep your eyes peeled! Until then we’re playing a handful of local shows. We're actually out on tour right now 7.5 - 7.7: Urbana, IL (Audiofeed Fest) 7.8: Grand Rapids, MI 7.10: Nashville, TN 7.11: Decatur, AL (full tour info below). We’re hitting the road again August 9th – 12th with a band called Hushed from Detroit. To keep up with it all, follow us on instagram.
Thank you so much for ever being interested in our band and what we do. We work hard on this project and it means so much to us. So genuinely, thank you for reading this.