With “Pre Strike Sweep,” members of the Los Angeles-based GØGGS, which includes Chris Shaw (vocals), Ty Segall (guitars), Charles Moothart (drums, guitar) and Michael Anderson (bass), are leaving very little to the imagination. While there was plenty of sharp edge to cut your brain on with their 2016 self-titled debut, the follow up has gotten “nastier” according to the frontman, which he feels is reflective of how much the world has changed since the group first began writing together.
We recently sat down with Shaw to discuss the growth of GØGGS, why you shouldn’t buy the album if you’re “cool,” and the fan who helps bring it all full circle.
TrunkSpace: The members of GØGGS all stay pretty busy outside of the band. How do you guys prioritize time for this particular project and ultimately decide what aspects of your individual writings become GØGGS tracks?
Shaw: All the songs for “Pre Strike Sweep” were written together as a band, although Ty (Segall) probably had some riffs he was saving for this particular project. I also had started saving lyrics, but nothing really comes together until we all put our stamp on a song. It’s true we are all pretty busy, but in a way that makes it easier to get things done with this project. There’s no time to waste.
TrunkSpace: “Pre Strike Sweep” is your second album. Creatively what changed between the debut and where you were at when conceiving the tracks that are the follow up?
Shaw: We grew as a band. Played live shows, went and took our music to the East Coast. A band really doesn’t evolve until you play live. You also get more comfortable creatively the longer you work with someone. I’ve been working with Ty in the studio for the past six years now. We trust each other. The world got shittier, so our music got nastier. “Pre Strike Sweep” isn’t an album that leaves much for interpretation. It tells you what it wants from you.
TrunkSpace: Focusing on the songwriting itself, is there an overall theme to this album, a particular headspace that is reflected in the tone and messaging of the songs themselves?
Shaw: I suppose the theme would be GØGGS is back and they’re pissed. I don’t want to shroud the album in some cloak of dumbass philosophy to make me sound more intelligent. It’s a lean, mean, fucked up album. Don’t buy it if you’re “cool.”
TrunkSpace: What are you most proud of with the album?
Shaw: I think this album has some of the best lyrics I’ve ever written, specifically the song “Burned Entrance.” The second verse is probably some of my finest work. I wanted to connect with the listener and tell them exactly how I feel about love, society, death and rebirth on this album and be direct as possible. I think I accomplished that.
TrunkSpace: Again, we know you all have different projects happening, so what is your personal journey like when you call wrap on a GØGGS album? Do you feel the need to step away from the band atmosphere and wrap your creative brain around a different focus?
Shaw: I am always on to the next thing, but I don’t really ever step away from music because it’s always around me. I also don’t do well without a schedule. I had to realize that about myself because sometimes I expect others to be that way and that approach doesn’t work for most people. It works for me. I’m not a method actor, so I don’t turn on my GØGGS brain, so to speak. All the shit I do creatively bleeds into each other. At the end of the day, I’m the same person no matter what I’m doing. That being said, I don’t define myself by anything I’ve done creatively. I feel like that would be an incredibly boring way to live.
TrunkSpace: What do you get writing and performing within a band, and this band in particular, that you can’t access from a solo mindset? What are the benefits for you personally in having a group of people fighting the fight alongside of you?
Shaw: It’s personally rewarding for me to work with other people in creative relationships. I have always seen the importance of community and creating something with like-minded individuals. All of my most meaningful relationships have come from music. But then again, me “solo” would probably mean you reading a book or article I’ve written. Being in a band is fun, but self-actualization is also important.
TrunkSpace: There are number of songs on the album that clock in at under three minutes, and two that come in at under two. We hear filmmakers talk all of the time about how there is a different approach to storytelling with short form content in the digital age. Can it be the same with music? Is there a different approach in writing a song like “CTA,” which is just over a minute and a half?
Shaw: Punk songs are supposed to be short. “CTA” wouldn’t work if it was longer, and why should it have to be? If I can inflict as much aural damage in 30 seconds as someone else can in three minutes, why would I be the one who needs to change something?
TrunkSpace: We love great music, but we also love great lines – lyrical snippets that stick with you beyond the macro of a song or album. What is your favorite line from “Pre Strike Sweep” and why?
Shaw: “Young dumb writer burning out on the road, never knows which way his story goes, personality crisis for a home, chewing down his boredom to the bone, everywhere that he goes.”
Self-deprecation is a fun way to pass the time.
TrunkSpace: Are albums a bit like chapters in your life? Do periods of your life become defined by the music you were making at any given moment?
Shaw: Yeah, for sure. Not all chapters have happy endings either. (Laughter)
TrunkSpace: What is the single greatest music-related moment of your career/life thus far and why?
Shaw: Henry Rollins being a fan of Ex-Cult and GØGGS is probably the coolest thing that’s happened to me. Black Flag changed my life. They will always be my favorite band.
TrunkSpace: Beyond the release, what’s next for the band and its members as we finish out 2018 and look forward to the new year?
Shaw: We will come back when it’s time, but don’t expect us to be on your schedule.
“Pre Strike Sweep” is available now on In The Red.
Future tour dates can be found here.