Pop-punk generally has one concern: fun.
Gob, the pop-punk quartet from Vancouver, has certainly lived by that rule. In recent years, the challenge for the band has been maintaining the energetic, light mood of its music while evolving. The new album, Muertos Vivos, is the group’s first serious attempt at accomplishing this.
The album title, according to singer and guitarist Tom Thatcher, came when the band members realized the material they were writing had a common theme.
“All the songs touch on death in one way or another, but we wanted to keep things light,” Thatcher says.
The name is supposed to juxtapose death and life and celebrates death’s certainty.
“It seems inevitable so why not celebrate it?” Thatcher explains.
Unlike most of Gob’s previous material, Muertos Vivos carries a much deeper and heavier sound. But for Thatcher, the change was just a direction the album naturally took on its own.
“Every album is different from the last one,” he says. “There was a long time between this one and the last one; this just reflects who we are now.”
The record was also completely self-produced, allowing for a greater personal influence by each of the band’s members on the album.
The new sound is quite a departure from the one that made Gob famous. But Thatcher sees his past success as a challenge to overcome with the band’s current material.
“We always strive for success. We make music to make music, but you have to outdo yourself: it’s what drives you.”
The band is proud of its past material, but insists this record is its best yet and its next effort should be even better.
Gob has been touring Canada almost non-stop since Muertos Vivos’ release. On past tours, the group travelled with some of Canada’s biggest punk acts like Sum 41, but the band doesn’t show any preference for who it plays with.
“I think we have a good time on every tour. We’re a fun bunch of guys; we like touring with anyone,” Thatcher says.
While the band may not mind whom it’s with, Thatcher added in the future, he’d still like to play with some of his favourite acts: Gogol Bordello and Billy Talent.
For Gob, touring has always been a big part of its career. With such high-energy music, the live experience of the band has been crucial to its success. Its musical enthusiasm — what Thatcher refers to as “good time music” — was apparent even as the band started in Vancouver before there was much of a punk scene.
“We just sort of created our own scene. Everyone else took themselves way too seriously and we just wanted to have fun,” he says.
And they have not stopped since.
As far as the future is concerned, Muertos Vivos is keeping the band busy for the moment, but Thatcher says he would like to try a different, more personal style of music in the future.
“I think I would like to do something other than Gob,” he says. “I write hundreds of songs every year and we just choose what suits us and there’s always good stuff left over. But I’m pretty busy right now so it might be a little while.”
Still, the band is completely focused on its current album. From its members’ humble beginnings creating a punk scene in Vancouver to its latest investigation into more complicated concepts of death and politics, Gob is a band that keeps growing while somehow maintaining the fun that made it stand out in the first place.