The tags on Gulfer’s Bandcamp page go like this: punk emo math math emo math pop math rock Montréal.
David Mitchell, Vincent Ford, and Simon Maillé formed the band back in 2011. “We all come from a love for math rock,” explained bass player Mitchell. Math rock is a style of music that features odd time signatures and irregular stopping and starting throughout a song.
Ford, who is the lead singer and guitar player, uses the tapping method of playing guitar, where he ‘taps’ the fret board with his fingers instead of using a pick. The result is a cool staccato sound that you can hear in their new song “Ten Souls”, which sounds like a bunch of wild bubbles jumping around in a mosh-pit.
“We all listened to the same kind of music that not many people care about here in Montreal,” said Mitchell, referring to some of the major influences on Gulfer’s sound. These are bands like Maps & Atlases, Pennines, and Football Etc.
The band also describes themselves as following the ‘emo’ style of music: “Not like […] 13-year-old girl bands,” Mitchell clarified. Emo bands from the ‘90s, like American Football, are some of Gulfer’s other influences.
The band’s rituals before a performance include warming up, and “trying to get [Ford] to not use-up all our drink tickets,” Mitchell said.
For Gulfer, finding a band name was frustrating. “One night, we were a month away from playing our first show […] and saying the stupidest band names we could come up with,” said Mitchell. He suggested “Golfer,” and, evidently, this turned into Gulfer with a simple change of a letter. Mitchell explained that the name is really working for them, significantly because it’s a Google-friendly name where you won’t get 20 pages of non-band related search results. As an added bonus, the word Gulfer is also a popular girl’s name in Turkey.
When it comes to Mitchell’s definition of success, he mentions the upcoming tour during which they’ll be hitting a lot of the U.S. Midwest in July and August. “As long as we come home alive, and not completely broke, that would be a success.” Mitchell’s hopes for the band’s future include “having as many people possible listen to us, and playing as many places that we can.”
The musician was drawn to the bass because he believes it’s easier to play than the guitar. He “[doesn’t] have the finger dexterity […] for smaller strings and faster playing” that guitar requires. He highlights how he “hates simple music” and jams on his American-made Fender Precision bass to time signatures other than 4/4 that you can hear on their new album.
Transcendals is to be released on Feb. 23. They recorded the album “with someone who’s worked with actual bands,” unlike their first 2012 album Split with Fago.Sepia, which was recorded with “[their] friend who had never really recorded before.” The band is ready to get their new stuff out there and “show the world.”
They will be sending some copies of their album to Japan. The bass player explains how Japan has “a culture that’s still interested in purchasing music.” There aren’t very many smaller bands passing through the area, like in North America, so people take advantage of new music that is introduced.
Replacing the “o” with a “u” was a good move for Gulfer, and they’re going to continue spreading their math/emo sound to ears all around North America (and possibly Japan in the future).
Gulfer will be launching their album on Friday, Feb. 23 at 9 p.m. at Casa del Popolo. Tickets are $8.