Ghostmouth's Sean Chaucer: My dad can beat up your band's dad
Gimme Noise caught up with quick-witted lead singer Sean Chaucer before their CD release show on Friday, and he spend a good amount of time boasting that his father could beat the crap out of the dads of the members of Howler, Polica, Doomtree, and a load of other Minneapolis darlings.
Band Members: Sean Chaucer, Donovan Seaberg, Shawn Mouacheupao
You seem to include a lot of humor and fun into Ghostmouth's music, which I very much appreciate. Do you find it easy to to be take seriously as an artist when approaching your career with this view?
I find it painfully easy in fact. While our demeanor and overall attitude towards promotion and stage performance can be very brash and humorous, it is executed with a degree of wit and cynicism that puts a greater weight on what we say and do. If I could compare our approach to anyone else, it would be Kurt Vonnegut. While his writing is very satirical and humorous in nature, his readers are only laughing in self-defense. I feel as though it's the same way with those that find what we do humorous.
Musically, while we may incorporate some of this quick-wit into lyrics and melodic choices, it is always a very conscious decision, and the deeper message behind our music is usually more meaningful, and often quite sad.
Minneapolis is well known for its indie-rock scene, as well as its detractors that hate this scene. How do you describe Ghostmouth's music, and what do you think of the scene?
Ghostmouth fits into an interesting mold. While many bands, local or otherwise, find their sound early on in their career and have problems breaking away from it, we have never let labels and genres hinder us from doing whatever it is that we want to do. I believe that many bands are so frightened by the idea of breaking away from "their sound" that they leave no room to rediscover themselves and bring their music to an entirely new and unique place.
That being said, I have a great deal of appreciation for the Twin Cities music scene, because there are a lot of musicians who do break away from this mold. Some of my personal favorites have included Dosh, Kill Sadie, Peter Wolf Crier, Self-Evident, and No Bird Sing. Although the indie-rock community is certainly thriving, I feel as though many of the bands that deserve recognition for taking risks and growing as artists are instead recognized for less meaningful reasons, or just not recognized at all.
You say that you hate Howler, The 4onthefloor, as well as Doomtree, Communist Daughter, and Polica. Are you really prepared to kill all of their puppies and have your dad fight their dads?
I'm sure they're all lovely people; I know some of them. I'm certainly not fond of any of their music, let alone impressed, though I wouldn't be surprised if they said the same thing about my music.
The 4onthefloor puts on a terrific live show, but when listening to them on record, I feel as though their energy and songs fall flat. They seem like rather fit individuals, but I'd be willing to bet that their dads smoke a lot of cigarettes, and therefore get winded rather easily. My dad doesn't smoke, so I'm quite certain that my dad has far greater stamina and could therefore take their dads in a fistfight.
Doomtree certainly has a lot of talented people involved; I've loved nearly everything Lazerbeak has been involved in, and Cecil Otter's Rebel Yellow was a well-above-average release, but I can't take Doomtree seriously. I know this is a touchy subject for Minnesota music fans, but it's just my opinion. Music is supposed to create a fictional dream for its listeners, and by constantly shouting "Doomtree! Rhymesayers!" into your ear buds, they are breaking the fourth wall and reminding you that you are just listening to a hip-hop song. It really detracts from any messages they are attempting to put into their music. They're all a bit older, so I assume their dads are a bit older as well. My dad could take their dads.
Communist Daughter comes close to some deeper insights lyrically at times, but their guitar tones are awful, and their music is kind of wimpy. If Johnny's dad is as wimpy as his singing voice, my dad could take his dad.
Polica is the living proof of the only bad thing that Justin Vernon did to the indie music scene; convincing burgeoning indie-pop musicians that it is okay to use auto-tune for every vocal part in every song, even though Vernon only used it for two or three songs. My dad doesn't really know anything about auto-tune, and what people don't understand, they destroy, so my dad would destroy their dads.
Howler is kind of cute, I suppose. They play at being bigger dicks than they actually are in an attempt to snag more press, but Jordan Gatesmith is much nicer and far less of a celebrity than the Twin Cities writers are making him out to be. His music is very derivative, and reminds me of music I was writing when I was 16 years old, and he's only two years younger than me. His lyrics seem to lack any meaning whatsoever, most likely due to the fact that he does little to examine his songwriting process. The songs are probably meaningless to him, and so I find them meaningless as well. Plus, they're an awful live act. They're not a tenth as punk-rock as they think they are, and my dad was in a real punk-rock band in New York in the early 1980s. There is not a doubt in my mind that my dad is more punk-rock that Jordan Gatesmith's dad, and so he would definitely make a fool out of him in a physical battle.
I'll leave all of their puppies alone though, simply because I'm a vegan and can't bring myself to harm an animal.
This being said, if any of the aforementioned artists were ever to release an album that I enjoyed, I would be fully prepared to spread the love.
I hear some traces of ska in the new album; what did you draw from when writing for Toast Mouth?
Well, I wrote these songs when I was was 16 years old (except for two songs on the album that were written by my old band-mate from my high school days). I'm 21 now, which doesn't seem much older, but I can barely relate to the person I was back then. People tend to underestimate how much human beings change in short periods of time. I had never really intended on releasing these songs, but we were still playing them live, and fans would always come up to us after shows and ask why some specific song wasn't on our debut album. So this one is really for the fans. Back then, I was listening to The Libertines a lot, as well as some truly awful Libertines knockoff bands that were being paraded around England as the second coming of Pete Doherty. So they songs on the new album have a similar catchy punk-rock vibe, mixed with my 16 year old attempts to write poetic and meaningful lyrics. Sometimes I got lucky and hit more towards the mark, and other times I fell flat, most likely die to fact that I did little in the way of examining my songs and lyrics back then. I basically just had this dream of moving to London and becoming a starving poet. I moved to Minnesota instead, and I'm still kind of hungry.