© Photo Michael T. Wilcox
With Greg Gonzales from Cigarettes After Sex
By Ben John
Cigarettes After Sex have just announced a European tour in March including shows in Manchester, Brighton and London. So we caught up with the Brooklyn based songwriter Greg Gonzales ahead of the tour to talk about their latest release Affection, guitar solos and birds...
3rd: Hello Greg Gonzalez! For our readers tell us where you come from and how you guys met?
Gonzalez: It’s had a revolving list of players throughout the years, but I started the band in El Paso, TX, during the summer of 2008 with a drummer and the keyboard player, Steve Herrada, who plays on the EP I. Since then there’s been quite a lot of different members, but I’ve mostly met all of the major and current collaborators and band members just from navigating different music scenes.
Did the latest EP Affection turn out the way you thought it would?
Affection ended up being a single with a B-side in the end instead of the EP it was initially envisioned as. We actually just went into to record a bunch of covers for fun for the session, but I ended up writing Affection a few days before and figured we should just give it a shot. We tried about five covers that night along with Affection, but we were only happy with that one and Keep On Loving You. I’m very pleased with how those songs sound for sure.
Ok so let’s talk about REO Speedwagon. Are you actually into them?
I had grown up with Keep On Loving You and knew it well, but was fairly indifferent to it until a few years ago. I had just moved to New Jersey and I suddenly heard the song again. It just hit me and I started to love it and listen to it a lot. It just really hit the spot at the moment. Can’t say I'm a huge REO Speedwagon fan besides that, though I do kind of like Can’t Fight This Feeling.
"I love guitar solos when they’re done well obviously"...
Your cover of ‘Keep on Loving You’ does an amazing job of bringing out a melancholy that lies beneath in the ostensibly up-beat original. Can you describe the moment of inspiration you had when jamming out to REO Speedwagon (of all bands) that you realised it could be the material of a Cigarettes cover and release?
While I was writing other material for the band I would start playing Keep On Loving You just for fun a lot. When I played it it felt like there was a hidden desperation, or melancholy as you’ve said, in it that you didn’t necessarily get from the original version. It was just apparent to me when I played it and slowed it down. So after that I had it in my mind that I would cover it in that way at some point with the group. It took 2 years for that to actually happen though.