Interview with Gazebos

Interview with Gazebos

Q&A with Tea Leigh
Photos by Sami Harthoorn

Call it fate, call it fortune, call it the all-wise guiding-goddess Hand of Rock ‘n’ Roll, because any way you cut it, Gazebos was meant to be. Ever since the motley quartet of Seattle music-scene lifers came together in 2014, Gazebos has been a shining beacon of the city’s live-music landscape, their performances raucous and cathartic and hilarious, uniting the tribes under a banner of unabashed and unabridged fun. Now—finally!—Gazebos have an album out, their debut for Hardly Art Records, and nobody will be surprised that Die Alone is not the existential bummer the title suggests. Gazebos rages against the forces of post-millennial, pre-midlife anxiety and Die Alone is the soundtrack. –Hardly Art Records

Tea Leigh: Have you all been musically inclined since you were wee babes? What was the moment it clicked for you and you knew you’d all be little badasses?


Shannon Perry (singer): Ha! I have been playing instruments and making music since I was young, yes. As far as the moment that I realized I was a “little badass,” I’m still patiently waiting for that magical moment to occur.

TV Coahran (guitarist): My dad was in rock bands and practiced in the garage. I didn’t do piano lessons or anything but I got him to show me some guitar chords when I was 12. And he had a Tascam tape 8-track I used to play with. I think it cost $1000+ at the time. New tech :)

Whats the weirdest/grossest thing to happen on tour so far? I need details.

Shannon: Hmmm.. Uhhhh…. I think the grossest thing is just the typical lack of a lot of private bathroom time, which leads to a lower standard of personal hygiene.

TV: Shannon (Gazebos) and Cody (Shannon & the Clams guitar/vocals) got stuck in a snowstorm between Denver and SLC and couldn’t make it to the show in time to play. Everyone else was in Clams’ big van and we took different highways accidentally. I learned how to play 14 clams songs in the back seat on the 7 hour drive and got to play guitar with them that night. With like pages of chord notes taped all over the stage. 

“I think my existential crisis is more digestible for both me and the audience with a little smile attached to it. Not that the smile is contrived, it’s just that life is ridiculous and sad and funny and thrilling all at once, and I try to reflect that.”


Have you always had this playful dynamic that comes out in your videos & live performances? How do you keep up your lively energy when speaking very plainly of entropy like in the song ‘Boys I Like’?


Shannon: I think that I’ve always had some level of playfulness in any art that I’ve been involved in, whether it’s in a band, or in tattoos that I’ve done. I like to put a wink in most things, because humor is one of the only ways to cope with the strangeness of existence. I think my existential crisis is more digestible for both me and the audience with a little smile attached to it. Not that the smile is contrived, it’s just that life is ridiculous and sad and funny and thrilling all at once, and I try to reflect that.

TV: I dunno. That song is really quick and upbeat and jumpy. Maybe the death-obsessed lyrics are a good contrast.

Whats the most difficult/enjoyable thing about collaborating visually versus musically?

Shannon: For me, the most difficult part of musical collaboration is giving up some creative control. I’ve got strong opinions, and it’s hard when the vision is shared, but I think TV are similar in this way and I have found a nice level of sharing that involves a mutual contribution of vibes. As far as collaborating visually, we don’t do a lot of collaboration in that regard, we just make music together! And he is kind enough to let me take a lot of lead with our visual aesthetic, because I’m a visual artist at my day job as a tattoo artist.  

I think we ultimately have fairly different styles in a lot of ways, but it’s the combination of that styles that creates our band, and we can appreciate that and make room for each other stylistically. Hasn’t ceased to be exciting to make new music with him yet, and I look forward to making more!

You all have been in a ton of bands. What are some moments in those bands that helped influence the success of Gazebos today?

Shannon: I’ve been the lead singer in 3 out of 4 bands that I’ve been in, and I think this is the first time I’ve really realized more of my potential as a vocalist, as I’m just feeling more free to express myself honestly. It took me until my 30’s to become this comfortable with myself, and I’m having a blast shouting into the void. It’s very cathartic!

TV: I learned a lot of new chord tricks from playing shows with R. Stevie Moore and learning how to play his songs.

Most of your lyrics seem to have a wonderfully twisted duality. Can you talk about your writing process and what influences that nihilistic twang the most?

Shannon: I don’t think I’ve ever done an interview where I didn’t use the phrase “existential crisis” less than twice. There’s just no way around it for me. It’s the basis of most of my lyrics, the way I dress, the art I make, and so forth. I’m just not entirely sure why I’m on earth. Or why anything exists, I guess. All of my experiences are seen through that lens, and it just takes over when I’m writing lyrics… plus during many casual conversations. I’m still waiting to grow out of this affliction, though I’m afraid I might lose my muse if I did. Who knows. We are all going to die, so we might as well be as happy as we can while we’re here. Which is really just a long way of saying “YOLO”, I guess.

Lastly, some folks think it’s lame but I think it’s paying it forward and nice: What advice might you have for other hard working creatives?

Shannon: Be yourself and work hard!

TV: IT IS LAME… just kidding. Uhh put extra thought and effort into making something that hasn’t already been done a bunch of times. Everything already HAS been done but try anyway.