Friday, March 14, 2014

Interview with Joe Perreze (GODDAMN GALLOWS, PERREZE FARM, etc)

Joe Perreze has been an important part of the Roots scene for quite a while, he had pulled double duty playing Banjo in both Jayke Orvis' Broken Band and The Goddamn Gallows, before focusing primarily on The Gallows. Meanwhile he has also worked on his own Perreze Farm project plus he's an accomplished artist, doing much of his various band's related artwork as well as covers and various art for other groups. I recently spoke with Joe Perreze and discussed a number of things, from the upcoming Goddamn Gallows album, "The Maker", to Perreze Farm, Autopsy Tailors, and much more. Read the full interview below...

DODOBIRD: What's your basic backstory musically? How did you get started playing?

JOE PERREZE: I started when I was 13 playing bass in rock/post grunge bands. From there I quickly picked up guitar and got into the post hardcore and punk scenes playing around Montana to other angsty and misunderstood high schoolers. The Goddamn Gallows can thank this era so long ago for my screaming vocals. Out of high school two very important people came to the forefront of my life; my longtime friend Dan Austin (Spadeball Ink) and Darren Dorlarque (Farmageddon Records). Dan and I started a dirty delta blues band, Hangman's Hill, and were absolute sponges to the new universe of music Darren exposed us to. I moved to archtop Kay's and 1950's Harmony guitars, learned slide and open tunings and, I feel, really started a serious venture into music. Myself and Dan were big .357 String Band fans and moved to more bluegrass inspired music. I learned mandolin and clawhammer banjo. In 2008 I met Joe Frankland (Slackeye Slim) and played guitar and banjo with him, and broke into touring nationally. I also started The Perreze Farm at this time, as well a summer in Graham Lindsey's live lineup and a tour playing with Rachel Brooke (anyone remember the pre-Farmageddon Murder In The Mountain tours?) In 2010 Jayke Orvis graciously recruited me into The Broken Band on banjo where I officially quit any sort of straight job to pursue music. From there, in 2011 The Goddamn Gallows scooped me up and here we are.

DDB: So how did you come to join The Goddamn Gallows?

JP: I joined the Gallows by osmosis. The Broken Band did a lot of tours with them and from many nights of everyone being together I started hopping up onstage with the Gallows for a song, then a few more songs every night. When it came to recording 7 Devils they wanted banjo on the bulk of the album, offered it to me, we practiced for three days in Cleveland then headed straight to Nashville to record. It was a blast and I officially joined as a full time member. Very important note - Jayke wrote and recorded banjo for that album too. All the good banjo licks are his haha, I can't take credit for that.

DDB: Haha, nice. So now you and The Goddamn Gallows have a new album, "The Maker" recorded. Let me say that its amazing and I think its going to blow everyone away when its released, but anyway, it seems like you have a bigger presence on the album than you did previously. Did you have a larger hand in the songwriting this time around?

JP: I did. On 7 Devils I wrote banjo parts to songs that were already 90% done. For the new album I was there to help build songs from the ground up. All the songs were written to have banjo from their inception. "I Am Still The King" was an unrecorded Perreze Farm song and "The Maker" was an instrumental I had been kicking around for years. Also did some swapping with Mikey and wrote guitar lines for a few.

DDB: Nice, I've been fortunate enough to have the new album for awhile now, and I truly think its the best thing The Goddamn Gallows have ever done. I also feel that while it is very recognizable as The Goddamn Gallows, it sounds a bit different. Some of it is more aggressive and It also seems darker in some way. When you guys set about writing the album, was any of that intentional or was it just the way things came out? Also, for fans of the band who haven't heard any of the new stuff, how would you describe the album?

JP: It wasn't entirely intentional. We just started coming up with more aggressive and darker stuff so we ran with it. I think everyone was excited to get back to harder music, akin to the more punk based Ghost Of Th' Rails album. As far as a description of the new stuff...metal and punk music with breaks for ragtime and spaghetti western tunes. All with a layer of screaming and Mikey's sweet crooning. I think that covers it.

DDB: Haha, nicely put. So do you guys have a released date yet, for "The Maker"?

JP: I believe so, but it's still under wraps haha. SOON.
******NOTE: The band has since announced the album will be released April 2, 2014****

DDB: Haha, Fair enough, is it coming out on Farmageddon and are there plans for Vinyl as well CD?

JP: We're working close with the Farm family, as always. And we would love for it to hit vinyl! It will most likely happen; probably not right out of the gate though.
*******NOTE: The album is coming out though Farmaggedon, and they are currently taking pre-orders for the CD which will be out April 2nd, and for limited edition vinyl LPs which should hopefully be shipped out this Summer***

DDB: Sweet, alright let's switch it up a bit... You mentioned the Perreze Farm earlier, so far you've released 2 EPs, I believe, 2009's "Songs For The Birds" and "This is a Photograph By My Friend, He Would Have Liked To Have Seen It On An Album Cover". Would you care to talk about those 2 releases a bit?

JP: Both were written and recorded in Anaconda, MT. I had a lot more time to record then...a lot more time to develop every last nuance of a song. Those two releases and were really just demos that went too far; material that was meant for other bands I was already in, but I couldn't stop adding more instruments and layers to it. So The Perreze Farm was made and those ep's followed. All of the parts (banjo, percussion, violin, cello, guitar, mandolin, vocals, on and on...) were written in my apartment and were later greatly bettered by Joe Frankland (Slackeye Slim) and Graham Lindsey. They were really the backbone of the final recordings.

DDB: Are there plans for a new Perreze Farm release any time soon? And if so, would you prefer to do a physical pressing this time around or would it primarily be a digital download thing again?

JP: I would love to have another official release! I have enough material for a few LP's by now haha. I would probably do another digital release, I really like the option of the "donation download."

DDB: Well, we've touched on The Goddamn Gallows, and The Perreze Farm, you want to mention any other projects or ventures you got going, Autopsy Tailors, or anything else?

JP: Yes, my company, Autopsy Tailors, will be coming out with a new line of clothing/real cool stuff for spring of '14. Huge, HUGE thanks for everyone's support!!! I hear the new stuff is really dark and really rad. 7 Sins Sideshow has graciously opened it's arms to me to help with production, writing and fabrication for their show. Go out and catch us if we're in your neighborhood. Also my beautiful fiancé has a brick and mortar shop, Abernathy's, in Davenport everyone should give a look-see. They commission me from time to time for design and fabrication.

DDB: Right on man, well I think that's about everything I got for you man, do you have anything you want to add or anything else you want to say?

JP: I think that's it man! Thanks for being patient and even bigger thanks for doing what you do!!! Keep up the killer work man!

DDB: Hey man, no problem, I'm just trying to spread the word about cool music and maybe shine what little bit of a spotlight I can on bands and artists in the underground that I feel are important. So thank you man, and I'm sure we'll see you on the road in the coming months.

If you're unfamiliar with The Goddamn Gallows, make sure you check out all their previous albums, and be ready for "The Maker" when it drops in April. Its the best thing they have ever done and without a doubt one of the best albums of any genre I have heard in years. It truly establishes The Goddamn Gallows as THE premier band in the entire Underground Roots music scene and simultaneously shows that musically they have moved completely beyond any of the bounds of Genre descriptions and their inherent limitations. They are truly doing something unique and original. Also, check out both Perreze Farm EPs, as they're both rad and available for digital download from their bandcamp page with the name your price option, so even if you're broke, you got no excuse.

Perreze Mfg. Co. blogspot:
The Perreze Farm Bandcamp Page:
The Goddamn Gallows website:
Farmageddon Records website:
Autopsy Tailors website:

All live photos by Bethany Sweitzer, all artwork property of their respective owners, ie the band, label, artist, etc

Andy Sweitzer, Dodo Bird Zine, 2014

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