With their big-budget nationwide marketing campaign still being rolled out, Howler’s Jordan Gatesmith decided to throw whatever goodwill he’s accrued in his hometown out the window during a recent interview with the Guardian’s Alexis Petridis. It was a puzzling display, to say the least, and I don’t have much interest in editorializing Gatesmith’s remarks; I thought it’d be best to let him speak for himself.
The interview begins with Petridis asking Gatesmith if there is a strong music scene in Minneapolis. “I’m so mixed about this. I feel bad like back-talking my city or whatever,” Gatesmith replies.
“Feel free — they can’t hear you man,” Petridis prods, laughing. “I mean, they might.”
“Screw ‘em,” Gatesmith scoffs. “Yeah, it’s weird, because you know the ’80s saw a great hardcore and punk rock scene, Hüsker Dü kind of being the leaders of it, and the Replacements as well. And Prince was there, which was a whole different thing all together. Completely different. But yeah, I feel like there’s this giant lull period of like 30 years. We had Tapes ‘n Tapes kind of come out for a little bit, so that was kind of interesting, but the scene right now is interesting. It really supports its own bands, like they’ll build up these bands — no offense, Minneapolis — that I will hate. I will completely hate. But they’ll like sell out the biggest room in Minneapolis.”
Petridis asks him why he hates the bands, to which Gatesmith responds, “It’s not good. Ok, this is so hard, someone is going to hear this I know, but I’m just going to say it. There’s this band called the 4onthefloor, for example, and the gimmick is that they play, you know, they have four kick drums, and they all play the kick drum on the floor, and they’re like Mumford & Sons crap. I’m sorry. But that will get huge. They’ll do like crazy big venues, then everyone will be like, ‘Yeah! 4onthefloor is the band to watch! Everyone get ready!’ And then, of course, nothing will happen outside of Minneapolis for them. And I think a lot of bands that kind of do the punk rock thing, or kind of the underground thing are the really good acts that will just never see the light of day. So I have a hard time with Minneapolis.”
Petridis points out that Howler were able to pick up attention “within 10 minutes of forming,” and the interview plays out pretty typically for the next few minutes as they discuss the band’s rapid ascent to the top of the U.K. popularity charts, but Gatesmith seems rather flippant throughout. You can listen to the whole interview — including Gatesmith complaining about having to go on a massive U.S. tour this spring — starting at the 30-minute mark of Petridis’s latest podcast here.
Who knows? Maybe this is all just part of their latest viral campaign. All that’s missing is a screeching guitar chord and a flash of the band’s album art. America Give Up! Howler!