- 'We don't want to play the same song 12 times in a row.'
Coming out of the diverse Atlanta music scene, Gringo Star make hooky pop-rock that — while informed by sounds of the 1960s — doesn't rely on aping vintage sounds. Their repertoire is more varied stylistically than the standard-issue indie-rock outfit. "We're not trying to recreate some specific genre," says frontman Nick Furgiuele. "We like to make different-sounding stuff; we don't want someone to come see us play the same song 12 times in a row."
Formed nearly a decade ago by Furgiuele and his brother Peter, the band burst onto the scene with their 2009 album All Y'all. Two more albums followed, along with scattered singles and an early EP. All were self-released, though their debut album was licensed for European distribution by a proper label.
Things didn't go so well with that arrangement. "File them under labels that are kind of vacant," laughs Furgiuele. "You'll try to communicate with them about things. Maybe they'll get back to you, and maybe they won't."
Chastened by that experience, Gringo Star trod much more cautiously as they decided to reach for more widespread success. The songs for fourth album The Sides and in Between, which comes out this Friday, were mostly finished more than a year and a half ago, but the band took time "trying to build up the team around the release," Furgiuele says.
After handling their own business affairs for years, Gringo Star got a manager, Greg Vegas, who in turn hooked them up with Nevado Music, home to a dozen like-minded indie artists.
"Nevado seems like a family," says Furgiuele. "We're getting a bigger push than we had on the other records, for sure. They're invested; we'll probably put out the next album with them, too." The label reviewed the 18 or so tracks the band had recorded, paring the list down to the 10 best. "They remixed a couple of those and remastered the album."
For years now, one hallmark of a Gringo Star show has been onstage instrument switching. "We've had two or three guys in the band who could play drums and guitar, so we'd switch around." But the current four-piece lineup — only the brothers Furgiuele remain from the original band — has a full-time drummer in Jonathan Bragg. "We do switch between guitars, bass and keys," says Furgiuele, "but the drummer stays where he is."
Meanwhile, brothers Nick and Peter continue to write the songs, while maintaining Gringo Star's musical vision. "We get along pretty well," says Nick, when asked if they've ever experienced the kind of sibling discord that's plagued Oasis, the Everly Brothers and The Kinks. "But I guess like any brothers locked into a vehicle for months at a time, little things get under each other's skin. There have been a few times when we've broken up. But now we're pretty cool."