We’ve done our fair share of trying to explain who and what The Gradients are. What we do know (because they told us) is that, “The Gradients are a quartet born and raised in Brooklyn. Each member of the band contributes equally to making heavy, melodic and catchy songs without the use of effects. They are heavily influenced by ’70s New York punk as well as the ’90s Chapel Hill/D.C. scenes.”
Got it? Well, there’s more.
The Gradients also feature one J. Boxer, who is a part of no fewer than five bands. We came to know him as the guitar player in Fiasco, but along with playing drums in The Gradients, he’s been a staple in the NYCDIY scene; performing, recording and organizing shows. One such event he’s organized is the record release show for The Gradients self-titled debut LP, which actually happens to be part of the Fuck School (Work) fest going down at Shea Stadium on September 4 and 5 that also features a reformed Fiasco, Big Ups, Vulture Shit, and Heeney—who provide the perfect segue to the fact that their bass player Scott Andrews recorded The Gradients’ debut at The Silent Barn.
Ok, that’s a lot of info to digest. All you need to know is you can stream The Gradients below, read on for a quick Q&A with J. Boxer and then go to their record release show this Thursday. Cool?
How many bands are you in? And how do you separate one from the other for your own interest level?
I am in five active bands, all with songwriters I’ve known for years from playing/going to shows in the NYC/Westchester area; they are BLUFFING, Fiasco, The Gradients, Le Rug and Old table. I give them all as much attention as possible. Basically it’s just about learning to use a calendar and be clear about what I can and can’t make (many a double booking has happened before I was able to do this). I wouldn’t be involved in a project that I wasn’t really psyched on. I’ve started playing solo sets after not doing so for seven years, and am aiming to finish a debut LP at the Silent Barn with Carlos and Julian from Ava Luna, any month now. Also the place where I live in Crown Heights is slowly becoming a house venue called Bottom Bell Haüs, but more on that some other time…
Your LP was recorded by Scott of Heeney at Silent Barn, what was the recording process like? How many days, or did you record it “live”?
We recorded it at Silent Barn about a year ago when Scott operated out of there. He now records analog at his place in Jersey and upstate at Max Kagan (also of Heeney)’s family house in Franklin, NY. I remember it not taking too long, maybe three days or so, to get the basic live-tracking done, but I could be misremembering. Vocal/guitar/keyboard overdubs also added a few days or so, so it was about a week total. Speaking of overdubs, when you listen to the LP keep an ear out for a little “keyboard cat” cameo by our friend Max Coburn, A.K.A. Maxo. Matt Labozza who engineered/mastered our good friends Big Neck Police‘s debut, among other things, mastered ours as well and did an amazing job.
Will Fiasco ever truly “reform”?
Fiasco has reformed, with the members of Tetsuo (myself, Julian Bennett Holmes and our friend Jack Wolf). We have plans to record and we are going to keep playing bills that we curate every couple of months as long as it feels right. Our old bassist Lucian drums in a sick band out in LA (where he’s based now) called SHIT GIVER.
Future plans for The Gradients?
The Gradients are still looking to get our debut released on vinyl, though it will be able to be heard online by September 5. We have new songs that I had more of a hand in crafting which is exciting. Our next release will be a four-song EP with each member contributing a song. Until then, we’re playing as many shows as we can, specifically at colleges (get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org!); and we’re making a conscious effort to stick to all-ages unless we really like the line-up. We saw Guy P. from Fugazi at Shea (he apparently lives in Park Slope now) so our goal is to book the Fugazi reunion there 😉