Gob Squad

author PP date 21/02/08

It's been a while since Denmark has had a great punk band with a new record, so it's about time someone stepped up to the job. I'm of course talking about Gob Squad and their newest album "Watch The Cripple Dance", which has been met with rave reviews around the web, including on this magazine. As punk has a large space reserved in my heart, I naturally I became a little more curious about the band and their background, and here we are. Thomas Bredahl, the front figure of the band, took his time to answer my questions over email and the result is a pretty neat and interesting interview. Read more below.

RF.net: Hi and thanks for doing this interview! Can you please introduce yourself to the readers, what you do in the band, and perhaps also describe your sound to those that don't know it yet?
Thomas Bredahl: Hey and thank you too. My name is Thomas Bredahl. I play guitar and do some of the singing in Gob Squad. Gob Squad have been around for some years now and we’ve developed from playing happy skapunk, to mixing that with hardcore, then skipping the ska parts and turning more rock n roll. Then again returning to some hardcore elements. And on this album taking a few other steps towards a more alternative rock sound. So to make the story short, we play alternative rock which shows our roots as a punkrock band with a little hardcore twist here and there.

RF.net: You've just released your third album “Watch The Cripple Dance” - how do you feel about it yourself in comparison to your other two albums?
Thomas Bredahl: I really like it. As described it’s got a different approach than the two other albums and we’ve been experimenting more with the actual sound. And then Stauning (the other guitarplayer and vocalist) is doing some of the lead vocals for the first time, which I think fits the songs well. Besides that the whole songwriting process has been more collective than before, where I used to write most of the lyrics and melodies. So to sum up, I feel very good about the new album ;)

RF.net: You've chosen quite a controversial title – have you previously watched cripples dance or what made you choose the title?
Thomas Bredahl: Yeah, we watch cripples dance all the time. There are so many people out there that haven’t got the best conditions to make something happen and they still try, work their asses up and end up dancing.

Stauning wrote a song with that title and we all liked it, so we chose it as the album title. Actually we weren’t sure we should use a song title as the album title, like we did on “Far Beyond Control” or if we should head back and use one line from a song, like we did on “Call For Response”. I actually got a problem with title songs, cause that makes that particular song stand out in an unwanted way. Actually that’s the reason why we choose the “Watch The Cripple Dance”, cause it was definitely gonna be the last song on the album and it’s definitely not a single. But again, watch how the cripple actually can dance ;)

RF.net: You announced last year that you were joining Volbeat. I've read you say in interviews that there will be time for both bands, but what happens if Volbeat explodes internationally in the same way as in Denmark? Are you afraid that one day you'll have to drop Gob Squad in favor of a bigger band?
Thomas Bredahl: Well, Volbeat already exploded like they/we did in DK, at least in some other countries. Of course this takes a lot of time and energy away from Gob Squad, but until now I/we have managed to make ends meet and write, record and release the new album. We’ve also got a tour set up in DK and Europe in spring/summer. So until now things seem to work out. I’ve got this philosophy that a problem isn’t a problem before you make it a problem. I try not to make this issue a problem..

RF.net: Much of the lyrics on “Watch The Cripple Dance” are politically/socially charged. We see this from a lot of American punk bands but it's more understandable from their view point because of the Bush administration. But you're a Danish band, and it seems like most people are pretty content over the state of matters in Denmark. Can you tell me a bit more about your lyrics, what inspires you to write them, and what Gob Squad tries to tell us?
Thomas Bredahl: First of all, Gob Squad isn’t a political band. We as a group have our opinions about stuff and since we’re writing pretty personal lyrics it’s natural that our political views will show in some way. We’re trying to take a look at our own lives and the lives of others and comment on that. We don’t wanna tell people how to think or act, but we find it interesting to tell people, including ourselves, how they act. If people wanna nod their heads and go on with the way of living we’re describing or try to change it, well, that’s their choice.

RF.net: Many reviews I've read have described you as a band that would perfectly fit on the punk label Fat Wreck Chords roster. What's your opinion on this and how do you see Gob Squad standing in comparison to a lot of the big American bands?
Thomas Bredahl: Well, Fat is one of the big labels in our part of the punk rock scene. I can easily see why people think we would fit onto their roster, cause they’ve released some of the stuff I used to listen to (NOFX, Strung Out, Less Than Jake) and managed to develop as a label and now released a lot of different stuff that I find even more interesting today (Against Me!, Strike Anywhere, Rise Against, Sick Of It All, Anti-Flag, Randy).

I think the big difference between especially Scandinavian and American bands is the sound. Some, but not all, of the bigger American bands sound too much radio-like, so to say. Scandinavian bands try to sound more like bands playing and got a more raw sound in general. I like when you can hear the instruments being played and hear that it hurts the singer to shout his lungs out. At least that’s what we’ve worked with soundwise on the new album.

RF.net: Related to that question, who have been some of your biggest influences over the years and why?
Thomas Bredahl: I myself am a really big Rancid and Green Day fan…and I’ve always been. The other guys can pretty much follow on those two bands, but people in the band got pretty different taste of music. We’re listening to everything from Otto Brandenburg to Dark Funeral. On the new album especially me and Stauning have listened to Billy Talent, Rise Against and stuff like that, which probably shows…

RF.net: If we take a step back and look at the Danish punk scene as a whole, it isn't really big. There's Pinboys, you guys, and Heading South used to be around until they split up. What do you think about the Danish punk scene? Are there any great bands in the hiding that you'd recommend that Gob Squad fans check out as well?
Thomas Bredahl: Yeah, the Danish scene isn’t that big. Don’t really know why, cause it seems like the scene is pretty big almost everywhere else. Guess the Vikings are more into metal. Hehe. But as you mention there are some good bands around. Actually Stauning is playing guitar in Pinboys at the moment. They’re friends of ours and they’re doing a really good job on the emo/poppunk scene. Then of course people should check out bands like The 20Belows and The Hitchcock’s. Both based in Copenhagen and playing respectively pop punk and some rock-a-billy-inspired punk stuff. Besides that there’s some pretty good things coming up whenever I surf myspace, so I hope to see some of those newer bands out there soon.

RF.net: You've got quite a few tour dates lined up for the spring. What are your expectations for the tour?
Thomas Bredahl: We’re kicking off with our debut in Sweden, which is gonna be really exciting. Sweden is a little UK, like UK is a little US. They’ve got some really good bands up there and from my visit earlier with Volbeat is seems like there’s a pretty good rock live-scene up there.

Then we’ll do a small tour, revisiting some cities/venues in Germany and Belgium. Hereafter we’re doing a DK tour with 8 shows all over the country. It’s been a while since we toured DK so it’s gonna be great to get out on the Danish venues and have a good time together with the Danish musiclovers. In may we’ll hit the autobahn again to tour Germany once again. So it’s gonna be a busy spring.

We’ve played about 250 shows, so it’s not like we expect this particular tour to be that much different from the earlier. We pack the van, fill it up and drive out there to have a good time. Of course we hope to see more and more people at the shows and hope that people will like what they see and hear.

RF.net: How does the next couple of months / the rest of the year look like for Gob Squad? Will we perhaps see the band at Roskilde Festival this year?
Thomas Bredahl: We sure hope so, but you never know. The Roskilde Festival aren’t something you decide to play. You get chosen. But of course we hope the festival will choose us ;) Besides that we’re planning to play a few festivals and probably do some more touring in late summer or the fall…and then we’re probably gonna start writing some new songs soon.

RF.net: That's all from us. Thanks for the interview! Keep rocking and spreading the word of punk around the country! Any final comments or anything you want to say to your fans / readers?
Thomas Bredahl: Well, thank you for your work on spreading the word of punk and doing this interview. Hope people will check out our new album and drop by our shows in March and April. See you out there

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