Interview with Rich Weinberger (Vocals), Adam Cichocki (Drums), Matt Popowski (Bass) & Austin Lipinski (Guitars) | By Sean Gonzalez
Gatherers is a four piece post-hardcore act from New Jersey. Their music blends primal chaos into tasteful melodies, propelled by a solid foundation of song writing that showcases their unique stretch of talent. After being signed to Equal Vision Records in 2015, the band put out their sophomore full length Quiet World. The album opens with a growling bassline for “God Deluxe,” spiraling into a frantic web of visceral vocals, blistering drums and winding guitars. Gatherers honed in on a unique style for their record, entangling themselves with part after part (never repeating a chorus) and packing cathartic vigor into every song. Album highlight “Ritual Flowers” has consistently been a song to come back to, luring listeners in with a steady build tat explodes in the song’s climax. It’s a powerful punch to the gut, and only allows for listeners to keep listening for the next song to shatter their emotions.
The band’s talent is not only lent from being musicians, but drummer Adam Cichocki tracks and produces records as well, having worked with bands across the spectrum.
Gatherers has spent 2016 touring and churning their creative talent for what will be their next full length. New Noise Magazine was able to talk with Gatherers at this year’s Woopsie Fest in St. Louis. Read the interview below and be sure to be looking out for this act in 2017.
What are the plans for the rest of the year, the new record is in production, how is it coming along?
Rich – New record is coming along good. We are at Woopsie Fest today, pretty excited about that. We have a weekend tour planned in November with a band called Ornaments and a band called Arrowhead. It’s a small weekend run, after that we are going to go back and finish writing the next album.
Adam – We are halfway done with it, I’m personally very excited because it’s an appropriate next chapter for us musically, vocally and lyrically, the content is very honest.
Rich – It makes sense for us. We just started playing new music and jamming and it all made sense. That being said, well that doesn’t really say anything [laughs], it makes sense for us, we are comfortable playing it. The other songs we wrote there was a lot more work put it into the songs, everything is just coming together. It’s a little bit easier, we are writing with one guitarist instead of two so there is less noise in the room. You can sit down and dissect the harmonies, it’s just going to be a lot more of an eclectic record than the past.
Matt – I feel like the backbone of things are being worked on a lot more. A lot of time we were focused on the sprinkles and not so much the foundation of things, a big part of it is if Austin plays a whole song on guitar it sounds like a song rather than a bunch of parts crammed together.
Austin – With our last record it was a little bit more rushed, we got signed to equal vision and we wanted to get it out there. With this one we have been writing on it, starting about a year ago, and no we have to buckle down and finish the second half. It still needs to be polished up.
Rich – It’s been a year since we wrote our last album and it can be easy for bands to have that time off and when the time comes you pick up your instruments and start playing and there already is an organic shift to your sound. I feel like it can be very easy to have that realization and be a bit apprehensive about exploring that avenue because they are afraid it’s a little too out of left field. For me personally, we’ve always been fond of bands where they have a discography and every album is a different flavor of ice cream, you know? If I’m in a certain mindset, I can visit this record for a particular reason, or mood and it’s cool. I’m excited we are approaching everything organically. Nothing is contrived.
Guitar wise, how do you go about writing now? How do you go about changing the recipe?
Austin – A lot of what I offer goes along with Adam and Matt, who are good at constructing the songs and I follow them a lot. I try to approach things that way, I don’t even think about a second guitar part right away. Right now, I lay a guitar track down and Matt actually is picking up a guitar for the other part and throwing ideas around. We want to find something that fits, not just put a guitar in the other spot just to have it there, only if it means something or good with what I play.
Rich – Matt has lent a big hand with guitars. We played with the idea of having someone come in halfway through to fill in that slot as a second guitarist, but based on the way things are going now, if it was anybody but Matt it would not sound as organic.
Adam – Matt has a good ear that melodically things are not stepping on things that Rich is doing. Melodically what we’ve done in the past is do things on guitars and do things on vocals, but I feel like catering more to Rich’s vocals especially since the melodies are becoming more intricate is definitely helping explore the vocal direction of things.
Matt – Even just barebones in melodies, whether Austin on Guitar or Rich on Vocals, we are really trying to make those shine. Instead of two guitars constantly doing intricate stuff, now it is something that can get stuck in your head, not something that you have to dissect. One thing I am trying to do on the guitars is get out of the way of that stuff, and let Austin’s stuff and Rich’s stuff shine, that’s the organic stuff.
From writing Quiet World to now, how have things changed, especially with vocals?
Rich – I wouldn’t say they are writing around the vocals, well you could say so but they are only in terms of dynamics. It’s not like I come to practice and say ‘yo write a song around this;’ it’s nothing like that. We’ve been doing this for so long by this album now, we can all get into a room and everyone is very attentive to everyone.
Adam – I think the songs are telling us where they want to take them.
Rich – Vocally, it’s a bit more hook centric, sounding more like songs from start to finish.
Matt – One thing I have been pushing with these songs is having standalone instruments be able to tell the story of the song. Whether guitar parts, bass line, vocals, strip away everything to one element and still be able to get the idea of the song. I feel that is one thing we have not been good at. Our goal is when someone listens to our songs to be able to go back and listen to it again, whether it’s taking one hook away from a three hook minimum, just making that person want to go back and listen to that one extra hook. That’s how the idea of linear songwriting goes, we don’t want to be too linear, but we want to bring back ideas and parts prior in a different way.
Rich – Songs with one memorable moment that have a sick payoff whether melodically or structurally or whatever it may be is a lot more satisfying to me then hearing a catchy chorus that happens three or four songs. “Ritual Flowers” is the last song we wrote during the session of Quiet World. I personally feel like it was peaking into the sound that we are exploring now with the next record.
Proudest Moment from Quiet World, each and everyone of you go.
Rich – “Ritual Flowers Music Video”
Matt – Damnit you stole mine.
Rich – It was a marijuana infused brain child of Matt and myself over the course of a summer with non-stop hot boxing. We pull our influences from a lot of film. Lars von Trier, this guy [Matt] is a huge Kubrick fan. Just to see it come to fruition and working with such an awesome guy Sam Halleen. Working with someone who didn’t step on our toes whatsoever and allowed us to explore every avenue for our vision. We worked hard on it.
Matt – If I could add onto that because that would be my proudest moment too. Me and Rich co-directed that music video, to put into context what Rich was saying. We wrote that song with that idea in mind, as we were writing the song we were thinking of certain visuals, visual cues and that helped write the song. This part sounds like someone dragging something, or this part sounds like xyz or whatever. That being said from the first part written of that song to the first idea to the music video was one big piece of art. To see that idea happen; there was nothing and then there was a song. There was nothing and then there was a video. All of it was one thing.
Adam – I guess working on the album was huge for me because I was so involved. But when we were sitting in the studio and hearing the finished product, hearing it all polished was like “fuck, I did that.” One of the parts that really got me when I was listening back to Quiet World is on “Assembly.” After the chaotic part it drops back into the re-intro thing, I thought that was sick. Hearing it polished and go through a lot of hands of people we are really into, it was a great payoff.
Austin – Along the same lines, looking back on the record as a whole and looking at our mistakes, my personal mistakes on the record, and growing from there. Taking that in and realizing what we have done and being proud of what we accomplished, it helped push me to what we are aiming for on this new record.
Matt – Can I get another one? When we got the email back from Equal Vision Records. We had been sending them demos from when we are 14 years old in different bands. I grew up listening to all of those Equal Vision bands. When we sent them two demos and they emailed us back, it all paid off.
Rich – Everything is a freaking dream.
Rich – Thank you [laughs]. If you have been with us, thank you. Next year is going to be awesome.
Adam – Come Hang.
Austin – Come to Woopsie Fest [laughs].