Sean Kane, vocalist of Gizmachi, and I were a little late hooking up. As most of you know, traffic in New York City can be a bear. Given that, Kane had spent the day in the city taking care of business, so I wasnít surprised when the call came in a little late. But as we settled into our scheduled Q/A, I found Kane deliberate, pointed and eager to tell it like it is.
Since Gizmachi is a new band, it seemed appropriate to start from the beginning. Gizmachi? Some family name or perhaps has some special meaning?
"The name of the band comes from the guitar player (Jason Hannon) and bass player (Kris Gilmore) and their earlier high school experiences," Kane explained. "They are the ones who made the name up. Itís a made up name, which we think is really cool because it has no direct meaning. It means whatever you want it to mean. For us it means everything and nothing all at once, which is kind of how our music is. For us itís a canvas. We believe that we all create our own painting. We get to mold the clay and create anything we want. We like it this way because if your name means something, in my world anyway, youíre categorized. We donít want that."
In what is perhaps one of the odder details of Gizmachiís bio-- the band was signed without really ever performing very much. It seemed strange to me that a band could still get signed strictly on the music. Still puzzled, I asked about the scene in upstate New York.
Kane offered a brief history of the early years, "I joined the group in '98. Then we got Mike in '99. Thatís when we officially formed. We played locally. Thereís a particular club up by us called The Chance and thatís really the only place we could play. Obviously you can only play in the same place so many times. I mean, besides fire halls and friends' basements and stuff like that. Itís a completely different scene up here. Itís a very trendy area, so the scene goes from hard-core to emo to metal-core rather quickly and the kids just follow the trends. Eventually we just got sick of the whole thing. So we just decided to lock ourselves in our practice room and try to perfect our art. It allowed us to go exactly where we wanted to be. So many bands these days rush into performance. All right now, we got a band, we got five songs, letís go play it live. Why not perfect what youíre doing? Thereís this great urban myth that youíre going to go out to your local club and some big record executive is going to come in and see you and sign your band. Well, news flash, itís never going to happen! Getting signed is not the easiest thing. It takes a whole lot of luck"
With much bravado Kane added, "So we just thought we would sit in our practice room and become better musicians and perfect what weíre trying to do. With this record I feel we have. We matured as a band, as human beings and musicians. Weíre very proud of this record."
So Gizmachi rarely played live, yet I read that you were always confident that one day you would get signed. That seems counter-intuitive. As a band you must have been working other angles.
"To be honest with you, Iíve worked for several bands," Kane stated. "I canít go into detail about which bands I have worked with, thatís a ĎClown Rule.í But Iíve been on the road. Iíve worked for bands and I made a shit-load of contacts. In this industry itís all about who you know. Those contacts are what made me say that Iím pretty sure weíll get signed. Whether it be a major deal or just a minor indie label, I wasnít sure. But I was confident that our record would one day get out. We were also talking to Shawn (Clown from Slipknot) for about two and a half years before we showcased for him."
Kane continued, "Like I said, I was working for a band. Clown was in New York City and the band I was working for was on tour with another band which Clown was friends with. So when we came through New York the moons sort of aligned. I met him at the show. We were introduced by mutual friends. I gave him our disc, he gave me his number and I didnít really expect a phone call to be honest with you. But we did get the call and we both said the right things to each other and thatís how the relationship began."
I could tell that Gizmachi took great pride in being the first band released on Big Orange Clown Records.
"Yeah, thatís really cool too," Kane agreed. "Clown is an amazing human being. He believes in us as much as we believe in us. Thatís really hard to find in this industry. I donít feel we could have a better endorsement for what weíre trying to do. Weíre flattered to be the first release on his record label."
I wanted to talk about the music. Gizmachi is a very aggressive band, but the songs donít carry the theme of hatred. So I asked Kane what motivated his writing.
"I write about experiences in my life. I have a journal that I keep all of my shit in. I try to fit in experiences that match how a certain part of a song makes me feel," Kane explained. "There are certainly very aggressive parts in each song, so maybe Iíll go into an aggressive moment from my life and throw down what I was feeling at that point. But there are also non-aggressive points, like most of the choruses. Some of those my guitar player Mike sings. Heís got a beautiful voice. Heís come along way. Lyrics are a very personal thing."
Laughing Kane added, "But I donít even begin to write lyrics until all the music is said and done. Little ideas form in my head, but I try not to write any lyrics or anything like that until theyíre done with the music. Thatís 'cause those fuckers always change the music! I donít even go to practice when theyíre writing. And they leave me alone when it comes to writing lyrics. Itís a perfect marriage!"
I asked Kane about their new video.
"The video is completely in your face," Kane replied. "Itís aggressive, itís real and itís pure emotion. Itís pretty organic in the fact that weíre using a lot of lipstick hams and shit like that. Itís just slammin'. We recorded it in New York City. Actually at the loading dock of our record label. Clown directed it. Basically itís just us completely throwing down the whole entire time. You know what I mean? Weíre happy with that too. I canít wait to see the final cut. I havenít even seen it yet. I would love to go into a hell of a lot more detail, but I havenít even seen the fucking thing! Honestly, there is no real story behind it. Itís just us loading in and throwing down. Weíre not trying to come up with a story line behind the video. Itís just basically old school. And weíre just going up there and breaking our necks!"
Kane continued, "We feel like were the luckiest people in the world. Hey, and Iíve got to give you props. Youíre the only dude that hasnít asked, ĎYou know itís really a plus that Clown signed you BUT, are you guys sick of hearing or afraid of hearing that youíre going to be the next Clown band or the Slipknot band?í I just want to tell everyone that Iím beyond thankful for the opportunity to be in any band. Slipknot is a great band. They are one of my favorite bands, period. But I donít think thereís much of a comparison between us."
Thatís an all too common story. I shared with Kane that I thought it was unfortunate that theyíre going through the same stigma that many bands face. A band is lucky just to get signed and if it happens to be by a big name suddenly everyone thinks, and youíll forgive the pun, that in this case theyíve got "Clown Shoes" to fill. Someone like Clown stepping in and saying, "These are my guys" can be a huge bonus, as well as a huge burden for any band, as from that people will always have expectations. But I think Kane made himself clear in this interview and in Gizmachiís music. The underlying theme here is: There are no expectations, there are no walls, I know what Iím going to do and itís anything I want.
"Thatís exactly how the five of us look at it," Kane assented. "Weíre not tame. We wonít be tamed by anybody. We have real ideas, we have vision of where we are going five or even ten years from now. We are obsessed with making that vision become reality. We are so excited to be here at this level. We are very happy and proud of our accomplishments."
So where does Gizmachi go from here? In May they go out on tour with Otep. And from there? As Kane told you, anywhere they want! I want to thank Sean Kane and the rest of Gizmachi, Jason Hannon, guitar, Mike Laurino, guitar and vocals, Kris Gilmore, bass, and Jimmie Hatcher, drums. I look forward to seeing them on the road!
Gizmachi's debut CD, The Imbuing, is due out May 3rd, 2005 on ROADRUNNER Records.
Check out the web site. http://www.gizmachi.net/
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