Interview with Male Gaze vocalist/guitarist Matt Jones | By Tim Anderl

As their chosen moniker suggests, weirdo-punk quartet Male Gaze are almost too clever for their own good. At least according to vocalist and guitarist Matt Jones, who confesses that King Leer, the laugh-out-loud title of their second LP for Castle Face—the label he copilots with Thee Oh Sees frontman John Dwyer—may be a bit too obvious. “Most people that have talked about the record have pointed out the punnery,” Jones shares. “‘Too clever by half,’ I seem to recall. While I think it may be that too many people get the joke, I’m terrible with titles anyways, and it seemed better than some of the other crap I came up with. I was pretty attached to Fall Catalog for instance, but I got outvoted.”

For the follow-up to their 2015 release, Gale Maze, the clever collective comprised of Jones, formerly of Blasted Canyons; bassist Mark Kaiser, formerly of Mayyors; and drummer Adam Cimino, formerly of The Mall, added former Blasted Canyons and Tiaras member Adam Finken on second guitar and called in resident Castle Face engineer Chris Woodhouse to work his wizardry behind the boards. “I ‘recorded’ our first record, and the idea was to go in with [Woodhouse] and steal all his good ideas while we worked on the second record so I can use them on the third,” Jones explains. “Mark Kaiser is old friends with him, of course—they played in the perennially underrated sludge/Satanist band, Mayyors—and I’ve done a ton of work with him through Castle Face and the live series, and in regards to his records with Thee Oh Sees a little too. He’s a weirdo genius within spitting distance. It doesn’t get better than that.”

King Leer ramps up the fuzzy, scuzzy characteristics of Gale Maze, steering away from post-rock leanings and placing additional emphasis on wall-of-sound pop rock mastery. “Part of that is the studio talking, and there’s quite a bit of breakup talking too,” Jones reveals. “A lot of these songs came in a kinda raw period right as and after [my relationship] all fell apart, and it felt like when you’re hungover and you want to hear something soft and sad and comforting. I kinda gravitated towards shimmery, jangly sorta sounds and what thrashers there are on the record. It was kinda like a return to life, gazing outwards again.”

Whether or not this is the band showing their softer side with sweeter melodies and some heartfelt introspection, there is still plenty of chaotic, fist-pumping fury in them. That’s part of the reason Male Gaze have taken their show on the road, heading to Europe earlier this year, and in advance of King Leer’s June 17 street date. “It was great to tour Europe,” Jones says. “The reception was pretty great, actually. Had quite a lot of fun everywhere, but my favorite night was probably in London. Our old buddy, Felix, had moved out there and has done well for himself and gotten established in Soho. On his whim, after the show, we caught the playoff game between the Clippers and the Blazers at a casino where he talked us in at, like, 3 a.m. By the time the game was over, it was dawn. So, we did a walking tour of downtown London with absolutely no one around. It was magical.”


“We’re gonna do that again,” Jones continues. “At the rate I’m writing, we’ll have another record by next spring. I’d like to do a few quick trips in the U.S.—we’re doing the West Coast coming up, and I haven’t been to the East Coast in years, so there’s talk of a little bit of that. I’m just gonna keep doing what I’m doing and hope I get better at it and that people keep digging it. I’m honored and grateful anyone cares, to be honest.”

Purchase King Leer here: Physical | iTunes

Author

Tim Anderl is an American journalist from Dayton, Ohio, whose work has been published in Alternative Press, Strength Skateboarding Magazine, and Substream Music Press. He was previously the web editor of GhettoblasterMagazine.com and is currently the editor of YouIndie.com, a host of Sound Check Chat Podcast, and a contributing writer for New Noise Magazine, Ghettoblaster Magazine and Dayton City Paper.

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