The Gateway District - a punk rock band from Minneapolis. We sat down and spoke to drummer Brad before the band played the Fest this year.
Scene Point Blank: I've read a few mentions of a second record coming out. Is it ready yet?
Brad: Well, it has been recorded for awhile now but we are "taking our time" mixing it. Once we ran out of money, it seemed like the best thing to do. The plan is to take whatever we get paid at Fest this year and put that money into scratch-off lottery tickets. So, it's almost ready.
Scene Point Blank: Is it going to be on It's Alive again? How did you hook up with them?
Brad: We don't know for sure who's going to release it but it will actually be done and out sometime this winter. It probably will not be released by Psychopathic Records, which saddens me greatly.
I originally met Adam and Jenna (who run It's Alive) through The Copyrights. They did a Chinese Telephones/Dear Landlord split 7" and they are fucking awesome! When we had the Gateway District LP recorded I asked if they wanted to deny their child even more nice things in life—luckily they did.
Scene Point Blank: Now that you've written and played together for a couple years, how has the process of writing a record changed? Is it more collaborative than Some Days You Get the Thunder?
Brad: I think we have gotten better at taking our individual songs and making them sound less separated as far as songwriting style goes. Pretty much every song on the new record has both Maren and Carrie singing and I think that makes everything fit together better. We changed a lot more musically in all of our songs once we started playing them as a band. We also worked on the songs more in general; recording some shitty demos of the stuff we planned to record at our practice space beforehand was a good idea. On the first record, we were trying to figure out how we wanted to play some of the songs in the studio so things ended up sort of rushed and there was more we wanted to change after the fact. So yes, "more collaborative" would have been a much better way to put all that.
Scene Point Blank: Are you expanding or going away from the countrified sound?
Brad: I would say we have gone away from that sound almost entirely. Carrie's songs sometimes lean a bit more towards the country side of punk but they sort of landed on the punk/pop side of things this time. That's one of the things that changed as a result of having more time to play shit as a band before recording. I think this one works a lot better as a record without the totally different sounding songs mixed in. We have talked about maybe doing an acoustic 7" or something someday that's more its own small project.
Scene Point Blank: Are there any other non-pop punk directions that you'd like to explore? There has to be a fifth wave of ska coming up soon…
Brad: I really hope you are wrong about that. Horns are funny way to wake someone up and that's about it. We are not really talented enough as musicians to "explore" much of anything outside of the tiny realm of punk music. I would, however, be interested in making a terrible record that attempts to sound like Bruce Springsteen but falls incredibly short of that goal.
Scene Point Blank: Do you see any of your other bands (or other Gateway District members former bands) slipping into your songs? How do you determine what is a Gateway District song versus a Dear Landlord song?
Brad: Yeah, for sure. I don't think any of our songs sound too much like the other bands we have been in, or are in now, but it's no giant leap either.
I tend to focus on whatever the more active thing at the moment happens to be and that's where songs end up most of the time. In Gateway District I write more complete songs: the music and lyrics. For the Dear Landlord stuff, Zack writes the music and vocal melodies and I pretty much just write lyrics—so that has a lot to do with where things end up.
Scene Point Blank: Are you living in Minneapolis now? How has living in different cities affected the band's growth?
Brad: Yeah, I live in Minneapolis. Maren and Nate also live here and Carrie lives on a farm in Wisconsin. Honestly, if we were all way younger and this was one of our first bands, I don't think it would work. We can't be a full-time band at all and we rarely practice. I guess we kind of step it up or scale it down depending on what we are all doing. But if any one of us wanted the band to be something more than that it would probably just collapse. Somehow that is not the case and we all really like doing this when it happens. I'm pretty sure that if were unable to tour at all we would still keep writing and recording records and playing shows around Minneapolis. I don't know how the distance has affected the band outside of that. We probably drink more when we do get together but it would be stretch to call that "growth."
Scene Point Blank: Since you're spread out a bit geographically, how much rehearsal time do you allow before tours? Is there more anxiety about hitting the road?
Brad: Usually we only practice once or twice before a tour. We play really shitty for the first couple of shows and after that things start to get tight again. It's a pretty bad system, I suppose, but it's our system. So, as long as you look at it that way, there's not much anxiety at all.