It may feel as though we were only just introduced to heavy collaborative project Gone Is Gone, and to be fair, we really only just were. But already their debut album, dubbed Echolocation, is approaching with a street date as soon as Friday, 6th January.
Comprised of Mastodon’s Troy Sanders, Queens Of The Stone Age’s Troy Van Leeuwen, At The Drive In’s Tony Hajjar and multi-instrumentalist-turn-composer Mike Zarin, the band are simply wasting no time, nor do they have to luxury to do so. In their short existence, they’ve already released a self-titled EP without missing a beat with their other professional commitments.
On paper it sounds like an ambitious and amazing idea. Through headphones, it’s, well…an ambitious and amazing idea. Moving as one unit, the band brought the best of their individual worlds and wove them together. It goes without saying, this is no regular band and Echolocation will be no regular debut album, so we spoke to vocalist/bassist, Troy Sanders to find out how they pulled it off.
The Neversphere: Between all the members there’s been so many debut albums. What’s the vibe like within the camp now that you all get the chance to release another debut album?
Troy: We’re extremely proud of it, which is very important when we believe and love what we do. In typical fashion, the songs were created last year, recorded months ago, pieced together recently and it’s out in January, so the anticipation builds and builds and builds. I always look at the release date as our art is birthed, so it’s very exciting.
I would be surprised if none of us were excited, that would be moving backwards. We’re playing this show in Los Angeles on our release date; this will only be our second live performance. We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to play. The main reason this band has become what it is, is because we enjoy each other’s company and we love the energy we experience when we’re together – that’s what keeps this band going.
It’s also what attracted the four of us to start this in the first place. So, nothing but good vibes in our world.
The Neversphere: The debut album process is challenging enough for new bands. Going back to the genesis of Echolocation, with so many established and acclaimed musicians, was there any sort of struggle while the members found their place in the chain of command?
Troy: That’s a great question. The beauty of it is it was the exact opposite of a struggle. This band has to flow and grow very naturally for us to even be a part of it. We don’t need this band, but we want this band. One of the big questions that myself and the other Troy ask ourselves is ‘Why have this band when we are fulfilled and busy with our other bands?’ That’s always a good question because when the four of us are together – either as friends or creating music, it’s an unparalleled energy that we have together. It’s a very similar situation where it’s four guys with instruments, we all have that with our other bands, but it’s a different adventure. It’s a different energy; different sights…sounds…smells.
It’s also a different level of reward. Everything has to click for this band to thrive. I personally don’t need another band to take me away from home anymore than I already am but I love being with these guys, I love what we captured and created and hopefully what we will continue to create.
When we got together, the music came and it just flowed; it all connected immediately and it was a four-way collaboration. We all come from similar but different worlds and I always enjoy jamming with different musicians. I think it’s a very healthy thing to do.
The Neversphere: As the legend goes, you were asked to join the band via a phone call waiting in line at the DMV. When you were given that elevator pitch, how did you envision the project sounding?
Troy: I didn’t really envision a particular sound. Once we did meet and get together to start writing for this full length there were no pre-conceived ideas or thoughts about what would come. I like creating like that; you allow the musical floodgates to open. Everything we’re feeling at the moment, it comes out and we gravitate to these ideas when we like what we’re hearing. Then we build on that until it becomes a song.
To a degree, this is what I was hoping to see in our trajectory but we weren’t honing in on a specific sound. It was nice to not have any parameters, you know, what we should or should not sound like. It’s quite magical when you can get in a room and really get excited by each other’s sounds and ideas. It’s friendship and musical collaboration put together. That’s where I feel it’s an intangible thing and that’s why so many people enjoy being in a band, because you can’t force this to happen. But when it does, it’s just magical. I’m in love with it.
The Neversphere: Back In July you released the self-titled EP, it feels like the album announce was so soon after. Did you have time to take in the response or feedback from both fans and critics to the EP or did you push through all that to make the album you wanted?
Troy: The first time the four of us got together at the beginning of last year, we all had a very small window of time when we weren’t all on tour. So we all convened in L.A to get in a room together and attempt writing music. When we got together, it just unleashed. All of this music came pouring out collectively. Two weeks into it – we only had roughly two weeks – we had all of this material we thought was interesting.
We worked non-stop and just pieced it all together and we realised we had a very strong skeleton of what could be a full album. Nothing was forced – nothing will ever be forced. That’s when we got excited and realised we need to convene once more and finish this thing. It felt great and there was momentum, and we hope to keep the momentum.
At the moment we’re so in love with this that we don’t want it to be a side project where ‘We’ll get to it when we can.” We really want to build on this momentum and establish ourselves as a proper band. We’re going to write, record and attempt to stay as busy as we can within the world of Gone Is Gone.
The Neversphere: Once the album comes out, a whole lot of people will want to see it performed live in front of them. Are there any plans to drop a more encompassing list of live dates?
Troy: That’s a bit tricky, we have to work around all our schedules. It’s going to be rare moments when we pull off any shows or tours. We’re very open to the idea of taking advantage of any opportunity that comes along. Three of the four of us have been to Australia many times, so it’s high on the priority list if and when we’re able to tour. So no announcements coming shortly.
The Neversphere: The no-brainer for us would be to book all of your other bands on a festival…
Troy: [Laughs] Then there would be no excuse for this band not to perform, right?
The Neversphere: I followed another project of yours, Killer Be Killed. I couldn’t help but notice the similar names. Is there something in that? Or am I just over thinking it?
Troy: [Laughs] That’s actually just coincidence. Gone Is Gone was one of a handful of suggestions I had and the other three guys really gravitated towards it. We honed in on special opportunities and doing things while we can, and not being afraid. Honing in on things beautiful, frail, fragile and fleeting – like life itself. The idea of ‘Let’s do this now, and make it important’…We need to focus and mean it…because when it’s done, it’s done – when it’s gone, it’s gone. We’re having fun with it but it’s extremely meaningful to us.
The Neversphere: Now the album is done and dusted, and you’re not pinned down to the album tour, will it be straight back to the 9 to 5 grind for everyone, so to speak?
Troy: No we’ve already got some new song ideas collectively. Once again, we kind of live by the calendar and the next opportunity that we’re at home; we’ll convene in L.A again and start piecing together the parts we like…
…There will be spaces between but we are full throttle ahead.