Live shots by Ana Monroe
New York’s Goes Cube recently released one of the most glorious and triumphantly loud records Crossfire has heard this year.
Without having yet stepped on British soil they’ve deservedly caught the attention of the rock press with their “dizzying and unexpected drum fills, bizarrely and lowly-tuned guitars, and unrelenting bass”. Crossfire’s Trotty P caught up with Guitar/Vocalist David Obuchowski to get the low down and find out exactly what the bizarrely named trio are all about…
Who are Goes Cube? What kind of music do you play?
Goes Cube is a band from New York (Brooklyn). We play heavymusic. People say it’s a mixture of metal, punk, hardcore, post rock, and artsy stuff. We don’t disagree. The record that was just released, Another Day Has Passed, has all those elements. Our next record probably will, too, but it’s also going to be much heavier and faster.
It’s an obvious one, but why are you called Goes Cube?
Goes Cube means Go Die. How? Technology…
Talking of cubes, what do you think about scientists genetically modifying tomatoes to be cubes so they pack easier? Do you care?
Are you kidding? That’s pretty weird. They ought to genetically modify them (and other fruits/vegetables) to not hurt people who have Crohns disease. I miss salad.
How did you come together and what were your intentions when you started the band?
The band started in 2003. It was founded by me (David, guitar, vocals) and Matthew Frey (bass). He recently left the band (the record release showwas also his farewell show) and is now running marathons. We had a drum machine. Matt never played a bass in his life. My concept of playing bass was “play exactly what I am playing, but instead of chords, play the root notes.” So I’d show him where the root notes were. From there, Matt developed his own style of playing that I can honestly say I’ve never heard before. He didn’t do many fills, but it was constant and his tone was brutal. From the get-go, we set out to make punishing music. We even called our drum machine “The Beating Machine.” It was all about being loud and aggressive. It was, on one hand, a reaction to a lot of shit being played (and still played) in New York at the time, and also a representation of more personal things.
Anyways, in terms of goals, this is where it gets interesting: Matt’s goals wereoriginally just to fuck around and have fun. Mine were much serious. I’d been playing in bands since I was 11 or 12, and had always felt that being in a band was supposed to be part of my life in a larger sense (not just a hobby). So when Matt and I started Goes Cube, I was already thinking about touring and putting out records. Matt tempered me. I like to think I motivated him. Matt ended up dedicating 6 years of his life to Goes Cube and playing bass—things that were originally just a hobby. He and I are still best friends. And now he’s in better shape than everyone, and he drinks just as much beer as the rest of us. Not cool.
So when did Kenny join up with you guys then?
Kenny joined the band in 2005, though his first show with us was in 2006. We’d just gotten to the point where the Beating Machine wasn’t doing nearly what we wanted it to. So we brought in Kenny who was back in my first band when I was 12 and he was 13. Kenny changed everything immediately. The world of Goes Cube changed literally overnight. All I can say is that Kenny is an insane drummer. Insane!
Matt Tyson, who runs the site EarFarm.com, took over Matt Frey’s place in May of 2009. Matt Tyson had been a longtime supporter of Goes Cube (EarFarm wrote about Goes Cube the day after Kenny’s first show), and he’d actually come on tour with us for 5 weeks to document our first cross country tour in 2007. Since then, he’d become a very close friend to all of us. So we asked him to join because we coudn’t picture having someone in the band who wasn’t a great friend.
You don’t sound much like a New York band. How do you fit into the scene there and how has it influenced you?
We don’t fit into the scene. I don’t even believe there is a scene. I believe there are a lot of pretentious and insecure people hanging around with other pretentious and insecure people, and they tell themselves that there’s a scene so they can all feel special and like they belong. I think these people wish it was the 80s, or at least wish it was back when the Strokes was still the second coming of rock and roll. I think being in New York is both an amazing thing, and also an awful thing.
There is opportunity in New York. And I do believe it forces you to work your ass off if you want to rise above. But for all the cultural diversity, it’s amazing how same-y the bands sound. And, you know what, the crowds seemed to love it like that. And the press.
Now, I will say, Kenny and I are from right outside of New York. We grew up listening to Quicksand and Sick Of It All, and shit like that. So I think there is some New York influence in our music, even if it’s not contemporary. But it also only accounts for a fraction of our sound.
What are your plans for the next year?
Our ideal plan for the next year would be to finish writing the record (it’s already about 70% written), tour a bit, play some great CMJ shows, record the new record, enjoy the holidays with family, then tour the UK and maybe other parts of Europe, come home to spend a bit of home time, then tour around SXSW like we do every year, then come home for a bit then have the record come out and do it all over again. I say that’s the idea because some of that stuff is already happening, and other stuff isn’t for sure.
Tell us 3 things we probably won’t know about Goes Cube…
1. We don’t smoke, nor do we use any drugs. We do drink, though, so YES you can buy us a beer or a whiskey.
2. We have self-booked every single tour we have ever taken.
3. We did actually exist and write music that sounded just like this before we’d ever even heard a note of Torche’s music.
What are your favourite songs from your own career and the inspiration behind them?
This is a hard question to answer because the music and the lyrics come from different places just about 99% of the time. So, for instance, one of our new songs is called “Property,” and it’s one of our most brutal and heavy songs. The inspiration for the music was that we, as a band, had been experiencing some frustrating shit, and fighting a lot (not with ourselves). I won’t go more into it. But the lyrics are really about my wife. It’s a love song using some of our own inside jokes. Though, it’s purposely written in a way that I think most people will take it as a commentary on materialism.
“Saab Sonnet” is on the record that’s out now. Musically, writing that song was as close to stream of consciousness as you can get in terms of writing structured music. Again, though, the lyrics were separate. Those were about a time in my life where I had sort of resigned myself to something, and told myself I had different goals than I really did. “Goes Cube Song 57” is kind of a favorite of ours, too. That oneis about someone cutting off their nose to spite their face. Someone told our drummer once that they were pissed that I wrote that song about them. I hadn’t, but as the old saying goes, if the shoe fits…
One of my favorite songs on Another Day Has Passed is “Bluest Sky.” The music was us really wanting to push ourselves (on ADHP, it’s the heaviest most brutal song; on the new record it would fit right in, and be one of the more tame songs if I had to guess). But the lyrics and title are kind of funny. We had just written the music, and we were pracitcing. I said, “OK, let’s play the newest guy.” Kenny said, “What’s it called? ‘Bluest Sky’?” I said, “Well it wasn’t, but it is now.” So that was the inspiration for the lyrics.
Lastly, there’s another new song called “The Homes Of.” I wrote the music and words together, and they’re very personal, though not in some kind of bad/deep-pain-only-I-can-understand way. I envision that when we record that song, there will be some guest vocals, and it’s looking like that guest is going to be a really amazing artist, someone we admire quite a bit. But it will also be quite the surprise.
Sounds exciting, we will await the news. OK let’s end on what 5 bands do you recommend we check out?
Jones Street Station (gorgeous, countryish, mellow rock), Hull (beyond epic metal), Giraffes (a way too catchy, way too fun blend of metal and 70s rock), Constants (gorgeous atmospheric melodic with bursts occasional bursts of metal), and oh…what the hell: Napalm Death. They’re pretty obscure. You’ve probably never heard of them. Also, check out Freshkills, Necropolis, Destructo Swarmbots, Paul Michel, Austerity Program, Red Beard, and Valient Thorr. And then go back and check out Gaunt and New Bomb Turks. Shit, I’m way over 5, aren’t I? Math was never my strong suit.