INTERVIEW: Gonzo Dog  | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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For those of us that spend our time in the independent venues of Newcastle, Gonzo Dog should be a name that is instantly recognisable. Composed of Guthrie and DJ Carbomb, their live performances have become iconic and their sound is a combative, dark, electronic collage that’s both bark and bite.

Guthrie focuses solely on the writing and vocals, naming themselves after their grandma’s maiden name, whereas DJ Carbomb focuses on the instrumentals. When asked about the origins of the DJ Carbomb moniker, their response was a witty: “I am a DJ.”  

The duo’s dynamic is unique, they both play two very different but important roles but understand each creatively. “Me and Guthrie disagree entirely on music, I hate a lot of things he loves and vice versa.” DJ Carbomb explains. “I send him a file and a few days later he sends back a vocal. We never speak beyond this.” Guthrie’s succinct response is: “I don’t like him.”  

The duo dropped a stunning array of sounds on their self-titled 2021 New Year’s Day release and have gone on to further perfect their unique style with their newest EP – HARM. “We did the first collection of tracks in a couple days,” DJ Carbomb explains. “Most of the instrumentals were made in one night. These five tracks have been sat on and refined for months.”  

Guthrie expands upon this further: “We had much more time in an actual studio. Honestly, it wouldn’t have been possible without Garry from SQUARMS, he’s helped us out loads with recording and production and is an all-round angel.”   

SQUARMS and Gonzo Dog perform gigs together frequently, and these live performances are an important aspect of the Gonzo Dog identity. Guthrie unpredictably manoeuvres around the stage during their performances, always keeping the audience on their toes, then ends by “rolling around on the floor”, as DJ Carbomb remarked.    

But the performances are not as improvisational as one might think, DJ Carbomb puts a lot of thought into how the duo will move around on stage, and Guthrie pinpoints the energy they wish to capture: “A lot of it is thinking about the gig aspect of things. Gigs and studio work are still of equal importance and work goes into both, in different ways.”  

The EP itself features banger after banger, whether it’s the rich texture of the noisy and disruptive FUTURE or the sampling on stand-offish track LILLIES OF THE VALLEY, but the stand-out is HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS, which uses an acoustic piece Guthrie created for the turbomafia music YouTube channel, featuring the musician playing the piece on top of a hillside. Guthrie explained this particular track further: “It’s about not knowing where to call home so making yourself comfortable wherever you are instead. It reminds me a lot of where I grew up, that’s why we filmed the acoustic version in Ouston [County Durham]. The guitar piece at the end fits this nostalgic feeling so it made sense to be at the end of this track. I always find it nice to stick a bit of guitar in as a breather from the electronic stuff.”  

GONZO DOG launch HARM at Cobalt Studios on Saturday 1st October, with support from SQUARMS and SMUJ. 

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