Originally from Canada, and now based out of Los Angeles, Gum Country are the duo of Courtney Garvin (aka Courtney from acclaimed indie-band The Courtneys) and multi-instrumentalist Connor Mayer. The pair have been making music for a number of years, starting with a four-track in their bedroom, the recordings of which they later released via Lollipop Records. After moving to LA, Gum Country went into Studio 22 with Joo-Joo Ashworth, and, “this time at full volume”, they produced their debut album proper, Somewhere, out next month.
Gum Country describe their own sound as, “harsh twee”, a blending of the jangle-pop sounds of British-indie in the 1980’s, with the more swirling, distorted tones of shoegaze. Playing all the instruments between them, to use an old cliché, Gum Country make an awful lot of noise for a two piece, with dense layers of sounds produced via fuzzy guitar tones, driving drums and lush, swirling keyboard tones. Somewhere is a record that sounds like escapism, a moment to step back from the world around us, yet lyrically it does touch on the everyday, from love and loss, through to tennis and gardening. Listening to Gum Country, this project feels like one that comes from a place of real love for what they do, a love for creativity, a love for music’s history, and from the listeners point of view a record to fall head-over-heels in love with.
FTR: For those who don’t know who are Gum Country?
Courtney: It’s me singing and playing guitar, and Connor playing keyboard and drumming. The two of us write the songs. And our friend Halle joins us on stage on bass!
FTR: What can you remember about your first show?
Courtney: It was at the Fox theater in Vancouver and someone afterward said we sounded like early Stereolab, which made me super stoked, and was actually really helpful to me.
Connor: We didn’t have a bass player at the time and I played on an electronic drum kit, so it probably sounded a little thin. I was still really stressed out about playing drums and keyboard together, and I think I screwed up a lot.
FTR: Why do you make music? Why not another art form?
Courtney: I actually do a lot of art forms, i draw and paint and work as a storyboard artist for cartoons. I like shooting film too, and processing it by hand in my bathroom. I think music is the most emotional of all the art forms though. Like all you do is feel, when you hear music. It goes straight to the soul.
Connor: Music is the art form that produces the strongest emotional response in me. I’ve also been doing it since I was a kid, so it feels like it’s much more a part of me than other types of art. I write a lot too, but not in a particularly artistic way.
FTR: What can people expect from the Gum Country live show?
Courtney: A short and sweet affair. Songs played with 75% accuracy, and you may not hear much of the vocals. And to be very mesmerized by Connor playing keyboard and drumming at the same time.
Connor: Positive vibes! Torrential guitar!
FTR: What’s next for Gum Country?
Courtney: That is really hard to say! We’ll be touring our new album as soon as it’s safe to do so. Until then, just writing new songs, dreaming up new merchandise, and answering emails.
Connor: We’re mostly just focused on the new album, but Courtney’s got some new songs in the oven too.
They Listen To…
Human Music – Shadows
Dummy – Angel’s Gear
Bed Bits – Cambrian Age
Mo Dotti – Inverted Skies
The Highest Order – Taking Off
Somewhere is out June 19th on vinyl via Kingfisher Bluez (Canada), and cassette via Dinosaur City Records (Australia) and Burger Records (USA), and CD via Waterslide Records (Japan). Click HERE for more information on Gum Country.