Sounds x Interview: Ganser

Chicago post-punkers Ganser released a mind-altering music video for their latest single “Bad Form” via Talkhouse this summer.  Consisting of Nadia Garofalo on keys/vocals, Alicia Gaines on bass/vocals, Charlie Landsman on guitar, and Brian Cundiff on drums, Ganser deliver “post-punk workmanship with aesthetic noise rock tendencies, inspired by cinematic visuals and imagist language.”  After receiving favorable coverage from Billboard and The New York Times following their 2018 debut album “Odd Talk,” Ganser agreed to sit down with us at Left Bank Mag and chat about their favorite bands, animorphs, and the evolving Chicago music scene.

How did you come up with the band name Ganser? I read in your Chicago Tribune article that the writer brought up Ganser Syndrome, is this where you got it from?

NG: It came to Alicia in a fever dream.

CL: Brian’s high school soccer coach’s last name was Ganser, so that was part of the motivation too.

AG: I’m cooking up an entire backstory involving the Ganser sisters from the Shangri-Las being distant cousins.

How and when did you all meet and decide to form this band? Did you all have a strong sense of what kind of music you wanted to make? 

NG: Alicia and I met in college and bonded over a shared interest in music, film and shoes. Later we found ourselves dissatisfied with the lack of creative growth in our careers, so we lost our minds and decided to make music. Brian found us and Charlie was the best Craigslist find ever.

AG: I think we knew what we didn’t want to make before we knew what we actually wanted to make. I’d rather make an album that feels like my favorite movie rather than my favorite album, and sometimes that comes out in saying “I want it to feel blindingly white and like you’re holding your breath” for the ending of “Bad Form” rather than “Let’s all play this specific syncopation pattern.” 

What are your thoughts on the Chicago music scene? Is there a large post-punk scene happening? Favorite venues to play in Chicago?

CL: There are a lot of wonderful bands in Chicago doing a lot of different things, with experimental bands like Ono, Nonzoo and Blacker Face, to more straight up stuff like Deeper and Absolutely Not. The Empty Bottle, a solid 80% of the time, is the best venue in the city. Thalia Hall is also wonderful. They give you free socks in the green room.

Favorite up and coming bands your currently listening to?

AG: Really liking Pozi, Working Men’s Club. We’ve got a running playlist going of what we’re listening to here].

BC: Viagra Boys, Drab Majesty, Shame, Dogstar.

CL: This band Queen is super sick, Freddie Mercury has pipes. We are digging this new Patsy Cline record too. The self titled one.

If your band was an Animorph, what animal would it turn into and why? 

NG: What is an Animorph?

BC: A bat. Like us, they’re most active at night. Plus, bats make up 1/5 of Earth’s mammal population, so we’d have a massive built-in fan base. 

CL: A fucking slug. Because our favorite tour snack is silence and rock mold.

AG: Wait, weren’t the bad guys in those books basically slugs? 

If you could open for any band (dead or alive) who would it be and why?

NG: The Cramps, that would be wild.

CL: Probably the Birthday Party or Cows. David Bowie. Scott Walker.

AG: What they said. Also Magazine. Or, playing with any number of bands that are stuck in Europe in the same way we’ve been stuck stateside. There’s so many good bands in Germany and the UK right now. We’re in the middle of recording an album, and hopefully that can take us over there.

Where do you write and record your songs? 

BC: At times a song starts out in the wild with some humming into an iPhone while tapping a beat on the nearest surface. Generally, we capture ideas at our home workstations, individually or collaboratively, then bring them into the rehearsal room to flesh them out as a band. We’ve been recording at Altered States studio in Chicago with Brian Fox since recording our first LP in 2017

Are any of your members in other bands/projects or came from other bands/projects? 

CL: Brian is in two other bands. Both of them rip. They’re called Silent Age and Magnetars.

BC: I’ve been playing keys in Silent Age for a few years alongside drumming in Ganser.  The recently rebooted Magnetars are currently in the studio (Altered States) working on an EP.  

Anything else you’d like to mention? 

CL: Abolish ICE and also maybe fight your local congressman unless you have a good one. Maybe then just send them nasty letters.

NG: Go Hawks. (kidding)

Check out Ganser’s video for “Bad Talk” below and make sure to check them out at this years Riot-Fest: 

📸 Kirsten Miccoli Photography

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