Criticism often follows artists who take risks. But it’s when these risks pay off that artists can manage to become their most innovative and brilliant. Boston’s Guerilla Toss approaches creativity with a bold and daring style. It is particularly apparent on the band’s new album, “Gay Disco,” out today on NNA Tapes, in which GToss produces a form of noise rock that’s vibrant enough to be engaging, funky enough to induce strange movement, but still remains frighteningly shrill and disturbing.
Give a listen to second single “Pink Elephant.” It’s different and that might be a scary thing, but the percussive, samba-like groove is actually nothing you’d expect from a noise-punk band (in the best way possible). Guerilla Toss is currently on tour with labelmates Blanche Blanche Blanche, but often-naked-on-stage bass player Simon Hanes, with input from other bandmates in their van including drummer Peter Negroponte and keyboard player Ian Kovac, was able to give us some bits of inspiration on how to stay creative, even when the odds are against you.
The first time I thought of myself as a creative person was when I got ringworm and colored in the circles on my body with a marker.
Not only does creativity take courage, but I’ve learned from my time as a volunteer firefighter that often courage takes creativity. It’s kind of a snake-eating-its-tail type of thing.
If you want to make something, chances are at first it’s going to suck. It takes a lot of balls to put something out there even though you think it’s going to suck.
When collaborating, we all try to bring our unique personalities to the table. Somebody plants a small seed, like an idea that came to them while they were walking down the street or playing pinball or something, and then after a slow process that involves making other parts and being skeptical about them, and drinking a bunch of coffee, we end up with a song.
We all have other projects than Guerilla Toss that I think are reflective of our individual approaches. [Guitarist] Arian [Shafee], both with his drawings and with his performance, tends to take a very violent, almost masochistic approach. Everything he plays with Guerilla Toss feels like it’s causing him pain, which I think is on purpose, and when he draws, it has a lot to do with his own feelings of pain.
When I was 14, an older friend of mine bought me a notebook to help me release the satanic energy that I had inside.
It’s not always easy for us to be able to start synthesizing musical influences that most people would make fun of if they hear them.
When you’re used to operating under a musical language that sounds like destroying tupperware, it’s hard to find ways to incorporate elements of something super tonal like say, disco, into it. It’s a matter of trying it on for size to see if you’ll like it.
I feel very privileged by the fact that when Guerilla Toss started playing shows we happened to be around so much holistic love and acceptance from the creative community around us. It’s probably one of the biggest reasons why we’re still a band.
The music that was coming out of Boston when we started, bands like SKIMASK, New England Patriots, Bugs & Rats, and so many others have always been so motivating to us to continue being creative. The things that they deliver are so badass that it makes us want to be that badass.
As a performer, I think you have an obligation to be an equally-active audience member.
Being weird, if nothing else, is a great excuse to do whatever the hell you want. It’s also a great anti-depressant.