Interview with Brian Graupner - "I’m really excited about doing more Gasoline Invertebrate live"
We caught up with Brian Graupner of The Gothsicles fame and the industrial waste product that arose from it, Gasoline Invertebrate.
After successfully funding his initial EP in under 3 hours, Gasoline Invertebrate returns to Kickstater for the first full length album Damage Over Time. This will feature 10 tracks with production by: Reaper, Attrition, Somain, Stoneburner, Aaimon, Inertia and Juicebox, and including guest vocals by the legendary Chris Connelly, of Revolting Cocks, Ministry and Finitribe fame!
If you ever get the chance to go see any of his projects live then do so if you haven't already, you will not be disappointed. Total energetic beats and four on the floor fun will keep you bopping throughout the set! Also Brian hosts a weekly streaming podcast called Space Couch where he interviews bands and artists from the alternative scene.
Q: Hi, and welcome to the Goth-Ick/ unscene, take a socially distanced seat and we shall begin. How did the Gasoline Invertebrate project develop and what are the future plans besides the current album that is in production?
Brian Graupner: “Serious” or at least “non-jokey” music isn’t my natural inclination, but after doing The Gothsicles and other similar projects for billions of years, I wanted to try a different flavor. Then, once I did, the floodgates just opened.
I’m really excited about doing more Gasoline Invertebrate live, once we’re able to do that sort of thing as a society. Boston noise magnate and occasional stage partner, Deftly-D, really got me excited about live noise music again through these small “noise salon” shows he does, so we’ll be injecting a little of the chaos of noise improv and circuit bent gear into the traditional EBM setup.
Q: You have some amazing artist collaborations on the upcoming Gasoline Invertabrate album Damage Over Time. What has been the biggest challenge putting the production together so far and how have you overcome them?
Brian Graupner: I know, right?! I’ve been lucky enough to build a roster of impeccably dependable superheroes over the years (Inertia, Reaper, JuiceBox, Soman, Stoneburner) and luck out again with the quality of some new champions (∆AIMON, Attrition, Chris Connelly) , so that part has been decidedly tidy. I struggled with whether or not to drop that many names in your interview just now, but I also wanted to credit everyone.
The biggest challenge is finally letting a song leave the nest to hunt on its own in the wild after hearing it in production in a thousand times. I’ll usually give my stuff the “gym test” to see if I feel like the track is an effective motivator when working out or if I feel myself wanting to hit the skip button.
Q: How would you define the sounds between The Gothsicles and Gasoline invertebrate?
Brian Graupner: They’re very much two sides of the same industrial coin. The Gothsicles tone has always been admittedly amorphous, but always pretty silly and esoteric while almost quietly delivering quality electronic body music (or attempting to). Gasoline takes that same model, but goes full darkside, incorporating super trashed vocals and maybe an extra dustring of stadium techno or eurobeat.
Q: Your band names, and some of your songs, certainly have a watery animal kinda theme going on, can you explain why this is? Are you a water sign at all?
Brian Graupner: There’s no cosmic significance behind it, that’s just kinda what I’m drawn to. I will say that the ocean is fucking nuts, though.
Q: Is the comedic element of The Gothsicles music inspired by any previous act in the genre. What is your take on being a comedic voice in an otherwise serious genre?
Brian Graupner: I think for a lot of comedy musicians, that impulse is inextricably baked in from the start, but in terms of activating the gene, Weird Al blew up my 9-year old mind like a goddamn nuclear warhead. Pankow was another watershed moment for me, too, in terms of delivering these absolutely pernicious electronic sounds while being brutally irreverent.
This is going to be an atom bomb level humblebrag, but it’s also the truth. We’ve gotten farther with it than I would have ever foreseen. It’s nice to have the hard work pay off, but it’s also mind-blowing to be pretty high up on the same bill as your high-school heroes.
Q: Your initial band, The Gothsiscles were formerly based out of the birthplace of American Industrial music, Chicago Illinois, before moving to Boston in 2018. What differences are there between the two cities regards the alternative scene?
Brian Graupner: The Gothsicles really came into its own in Madison, and later MIlwaukee, Wisconsin. They were sort of off the national industrial map at the time and existed in this amazing international waters, “no rules”-type liminal space. Madison was especially formative with this truly singular combination of insane electronic scene talent and a “let your freak flag fly” environment.
But yes, you’re right, The Gothsicles have definitely called Chicago home for the longest amount of time. That place, man. It just *feels* industrial. If you’re driving there from Milwaukee, you can start to feel yourself get more industrial around the Dempster exit. I’m not kidding, some people will know what I’m talking about.
And great question! The thing about Chicago is that it’s almost secretly giant. I mean, no surprise that it’s a big place, but it’s easy to regularly find these pockets of the city you didn’t know existed with their own little mini scenes. Boston, on the other hand, appears to be at just the right size to be a “for-real” city while also being super united. We had a gig with Big Time Kill and Mari Kattman literally three days after I moved to Boston and we’re all still going to each other’s gigs two years later.
Q: You have played at an array of festivals over the years, which ones stand out and what festival would you love to perform at in the future?
Brian Graupner: Madison’s Reverence Festivals will always have a special spot in my heart container for showing what an absolute DIY masterpiece could accomplish. The Kinetik and Aftermath festivals were an extreme, nigh-on sacred, honor, and the involvement we’ve been granted from the get-go with North American powerhouse, Terminus, has been godlike. COLD WAVES was a palliple dream come true. I’m immensely grateful for the opportunity to play the door-opening Infest in England. Convergence was another bucket-list get. NEW CONTENDER, Mechanismus Festival, has been insane! Hypercharged honor getting in on the ground level with that one, as well them letting The Causticles pull off the “Wumpsticles” set (look that up).
If you’re gonna go to the tippy-top of the Gothsicles “mythos”, however, it’s got to be Sheffield UK’s Resistanz Festival. We made the most out of being the first band to ever play it with a new track stating as much and were asked back to be the (erstwhile) last band to play it, which was a giant “I didn’t waste my life” milestone. We got the invite back for 2020(!), but it’s been postponed a year, so here’s to Resistanz 2021!
Speaking of postponed, check us out at the upcoming Dark Side of the Con festival in New Jersey in September if we’re back up by then.
Kind of one of my things now has been, as time allows, to commemorate a festival appearance with a brand new festival-themed song and sometimes an EP. Check out all those festival songs at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLHG04gfrOE9IKUSQf71oV6f2CzWuh_7gn
9. You have been doing the Space Couch interviewer live stream from Earth's orbit for a while now, but how have you found doing live stream gigs since the social distancing came into effect? And do you see the internet having a future in doing more shows like this once the shut down is lifted?
Brian Graupner: Well, it’s definitely forced me to up my streaming game! I was initially able to rest on the novelty of “Hey, look at this crazy shit! It’s almost TV!”, but that’s definitely no longer the case as streaming shows and performances become the norm (which I think is pretty awesome and egalitarian).
What’s going to happen in a post-corona world is difficult to predict. My guess is that we’ll get back to something like normal fairly quickly, yeah, but music may be a different story. A lot of venues have tragically closed and by now, we’ve seen that online shows can be pretty goddamn awesome, so I’d venture to say we might see even pivotal gigs like record release shows or comeback performances move into the online sphere.
Q: You have some pretty crazy merch on your table. What is the inspiration for such shiny delights?
I don’t know, it’s another thing where I have to. I don’t hate doing shirts, but it’s a bit of an emotional flatline. Custom cat shit scoopers? Okay, now we’re talking.
Q: Last but no means least, the 5 point speed round... Water founter or bubbler? Soda or pop? Packers or Bears? Mousse or hair gel? And the most important one... Poe or Lovecraft?...
Brian Graupner: Water fountain / bubbler: Grow up in Wisconsin and “bubbler” gets pretty dyed in the wool. I’ll usually try to land on the neutral “drinking fountain” and “bubbler” will just come out.
I don’t know from sports.
Of those two, I’d say hair gel ‘cause I haven’t said mousse since the 80s, but I’ll usually say “product” because it makes me seem fancy and erudite.
Aieee. We could get pretty wild on this. I feel like Poe is probably consistently better, but swordcane to my head, I’ll always go with the wonderful, fleeting highs of Lovecraft.
Q: Thank you for taking the time to be interviewed with us and we wish you all the luck with the upcoming album. Any final words you wish to share?
Brian Graupner: The Gasoline Invertebrate kickstarter was funded in three hours! That’s bonkers! Thanks times the multi-verse to all the backers!
“Damage Over Time” officially drops May 22, 2020 on TIGERSQUAWK RECORDS. Check that out at gasolineinvertebrate.bandcamp.com.
Also check out all the brain-liquefying releases on Tigersquawk at tigersquawkrecords.bandcamp.com!
The Gothsicles (and now Gasoline Invertebrate!) are available for live streaming your online festival! We’ve done Dark Side of the Con Online and England’s “Karkasaurus Invites” at the time of this interview with two more coming up that I cannot yet announce.
CHECK OUT SPACE COUCH, SUNDAYS at 3pm EDT at