WORDS: DEC SHERRY | PHOTOS: KAT NIJMEDDIN & JOE CALIXTO
Gulch are a crossover hardcore band hailing from Santa Cruz- and if you haven’t heard of them, there’s a good chance you’ll at least have seen their Sanrio hoodie. Plenty of bands have a crossover sound fusing hardcore with one of a plethora of genres; Gulch’s musical background isn’t confined to just one style mixed with hardcore, however, and you can’t really restrain the band by labelling them with a sub-genre either due to their versatile sound. We spoke to Gulch guitarist Cole Kakimoto about the band, their live shows, current releases, upcoming work.
Cole states he wasn’t always sure of how Gulch would be received: “Before the EP came out, I was fully ready for it to fall on its face because people wouldn’t like the fact that you can’t pigeonhole our sound into one genre.” While the band’s sound is volatile and a mash-up of a lot of sounds, each Gulch release has been written so that the band’s backgrounds all merge to create a concise yet dynamic sound.
The name Gulch was chosen to reflect this: “The word Gulch stood out to me because it just sounded so nasty off the tongue. It’s a guttural sounding word and just sounds gross, which is what I wanted the music to sound like, so it was a perfect fit.”
“I THINK THE BAND SPEAKS FOR ITSELF WHEN WE’RE PLAYING OUR SET. IF ANYONE WANTS TO KNOW WHAT THIS BAND IS ABOUT, JUST COME OUT AND SEE US PLAY”
While Cole may have doubted the reception Gulch may have received initially, he believes in his band mates, telling us of how talented he sees Gulch vocalist Elliot Morrow to be and talks about Morrow’s writing process, or somewhat lack of it.
“Let me take a moment to express something. His lyrics are some of the most original, sincere, and interesting lyrics that I’ve seen in hardcore. He has NEVER used the word ‘I’, ‘me’ or ‘you’. Do you know how fucking hard that is? The funny thing is that almost all of his lyrics are written on the spot. I can beg and nag him all I want to write lyrics in advance, but until he is in front of a mic, he basically refuses to write anything. I think it takes the pressure off recording to get his creativity flowing.”
Energy and mood are critical to Gulch. As Cole goes on to mention, the band seem to come alive whilst playing music, so it’s no surprise Morrow waits until the band are in the moment to create lyrics.
Gulch currently have a string of well received EPs, including their most recent 2019 Promo. Looking to the future, Cole admits, “We have an LP coming out on Closed Casket Activities, but no hard release date yet. All I can say is that we’re very happy with how it came out. Shout out to Jack Shirley at Atomic Garden. He recorded the record with us and did an awesome job mixing and mastering it.”
“WE JUST LOVE PLAYING MUSIC, AND LOVE BEING THE BAND THAT PEOPLE CAN BE A FREAK TO”
Speaking on the creative process behind their upcoming release Cole say, “One important thing for us with this record was that we wanted to record guitars and drums simultaneously in the same room. We felt that it would sound the most raw and really capture the energy of the moment. Our past recordings have been done with all the instruments separately and I think that takes away a lot of the energy of the music.”
The band’s first few releases have all been brimming with attitude and energy already, Gulch clearly want to convey how they sound live on record with Cole saying “I think the band speaks for itself when we’re playing our set. If anyone wants to know what this band is about, just come out and see us play.”
We finish the discussion by Cole summarising who and what Gulch are saying: “Gulch is just a band. We aren’t here to preach any message or further any agendas. We just love playing music and love being the band that people can be a freak to… We play about a 12-15 minute set. For that short time, we just want to be everyone’s release.”