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INTERVIEW: The Gentleman Losers

Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Hi Vents,

Thanks for getting in touch. We’ve been very well, thanks. Busy with all the work that an album release brings, but so happy that we finally got it out!

Can you talk to us more about your song “The Good Bird Singin’ In The Twilight Tree”?

The Good Bird is a song that pretty much summarizes the theme of the new album. It’s about being stuck in a limbo, sort of in between phases in life, in this half-world where the old things have ceased to be, but the new things just don’t seem to be starting.

Did any event inspire you to write this song?

The song was inspired by some recent events in our lives. We had a feeling of being stuck in this kind of mental no-man’s land, a feeling that was caused by many things in life in general – including the feeling we picked up from our friends, who felt the same way – but being stuck, seemingly infinitely, with making this record was a big part of it. Like some weird moebius loop, the album came to be about itself, to some extent. But really, we do feel there’s a lot of this feeling about in the world at large. Somehow we haven’t really moved forward in a long time, and yet the world as we knew it has vanished. Something’s broken, this can’t be the future, people!

The bird in the title is an actual nightingale that we used to hear singing in the ancient trees by the river in our home town of Turku. In the summer in the Nordics, the nights are really just a long hazy twilight. So, many nights, you’re coming home from the bar, you’re a bit drunk and the city is all quiet and this amazing birdsong is echoing in the air. You could just sit there by the river, forever, listening. The sound would fill you with hope.

How was the filming process and experience behind the video?

The video for that song was made out of these old Super-8 clips that we had. It’s really about memories, how they fade, and the impermanece of things. The footage was digitally distorted, sort of torn apart at bit level, to point out that the past is gone and it’s fading.

The single comes off your new album Permanently Midnight – what’s the story behind the title?

The title of the album alludes to the fact that midnight is a time that is neither yesterday nor tomorrow. Midnight has traditionally been thought of as dangerous and mysterious, the moment when the spirits walk and so on, and the reason for this is that it’s a liminal moment, one between states. In most cultures, liminal states are part of many rites of passage, where you transition from one phase to another. But in the middle of the passage you’re neither what you used to be nor what you’ll become. So it’s really not a good place to be. But on the other hand, we’re night people and the nighttime has always been our time. A lot of our music is done at night.

How was the recording and writing process?

The recording and writing process of the album was very long and arduous. It took us seven years to finish the record, but when someone asks us why it took so long, we’re hard put to give an answer. Of course, we didn’t spend every waking hour working on the album. There were other projects, including writing music for films, and our other band, Lessons (https://www.facebook.com/LSSNS/), as whom we released an EP last year. Then there’s a certain level of perfectionism that we suffer from. It’s not even about perfect musicianship or some technical points, but rather about a certain magic that has to be there. If we don’t feel it ourselves, we can’t be happy with the results. So it takes quite bit of tweaking and some elaborate processing to create our sound. And you always have to sit on the results for a while, to know how it places on the shit-gold axis!

What role does Helsinki play in your writing?

Our relationship with Helsinki has always been a tricky one. Until very recently, Helsinki used to be a very isolated, rather close-minded, drab, place, a literal town with no cheer, not an easy place to live in if you’re not part of the mainstream. And it’s sort of both too small and too big at the same time. It used to be so that when we got to spend time in cities such as Berlin or Paris, the return to Helsinki was always pretty painful. But, in the recent years, a lot has changed here. It seems that finally some Western influences are seeping in. People are opening their minds. At the same time, being so far outside of any scene sort of fits us. We can do our own weird thing here, left to our own devices.

What aspect of yourself did you get to explore on this record?

The biggest novelty on this album was the addition of vocals on some tracks. To me (Samu) this was a major new thing, both as a writer and a singer. It was something that felt like a natural development at this point. Another aspect we got to explore in ourselves was the incredible tenacity we found in ourselves during the long recording process. Saner people would’ve just quit!

Any plans to hit the road?

We are indeed planning to hit the road this time around. We are currently building our live set and are looking forward to playing live. Our first show will be in April, but unfortuntely we can’t talk more about it yet.

What else is happening next in The Gentleman Losers´ world?

We’re also working on our next release (Shock, horror! So soon?), an EP for Sound In Silence (https://www.facebook.com/soundinsilencerecords) that will come out in the Summer.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, play guitar, music geek, movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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