Jonah Matranga: Vocals, Guitar
Mark Weinburg: Guitar
Jeramy Tappero: Guitar
Bob Lindsey: Bass
Whilst on tour with Funeral For a Friend, the boys from Gratitude take time out to hang with Room Thirteen and chat about politics, originality and all things Bobcore!
Room Thirteen: You have known each other for about 5 years now, Can you tell me a little about how you got together?
Jonah Matranga: Bob and I have known each other the longest and through needing a new guitarist we met Jay. I have learned though out the years that there are some really nice people who just cant get it together and there are those who can play but just aren't cool or they lie and stuff. To get someone who can play and you get along on tour is rare so to find Jay was great!
R13: You're originally from the US, what made you decide to come over and try and "crack" the UK?
JM: I've been over to the UK with numerous times with bands and it's always been fun. It's not so much of a strategy but more of a case of I know a really great place to play, let's go to the UK. Also our label over here was really excited about the new album and we wanted to get over here and play for people who liked our music.
R13: What do you think makes your sound so original?
JM: You never know what's in another bands heart or mind but for us we're not looking for strategies, we're looking to be able to sleep at night knowing we're playing music we love. Of course we would like to be able to support ourselves by what we do but we put the music first. I think no matter what you do whether you are a lawyer, teacher or a musician, strategies are the wrong way to go as in the end you will just give in to the pressure of are we popular and things like that. If we had a trick or a gimmick and we became popular I don't think it would be as much fun, as it would be as if you had lied to people. I suppose you could compare it to meeting a friend and totally lying about the person you are by dressing, talking and being a certain way. In the end you wouldn't really be friends would you?
R13: So do you not believe in gimmick orientated shows?
JM: Well people make a lot of money out of it so good luck to them. There are lots of bands who do things on stage that I would never do but for me...
Bob Lindsey: Well there is a special name we have for that and perhaps we should introduce it to the UK
JM: What Bobcore?
JM: Bobcore is music for everyone. It's not about a scene or a particular this or that and yes its particularly cheeky of us to call it Bobcore but everyone these days seem to have their own 'Core' and we wanted to create one that was none genre specific. All our favourite bands are ones that originally didn't really have one particular scene. Whether its Zepplin, Prince, Foo Fighters or The Who, they were all bands who when they first started out weren't particularly popular and a lot of people thought they were slightly odd but they all were able to bring people together
R13: You're on tour with Funeral For a Friend at the moment; what's their take on your music?
JM: I met them when they covered a song from an old band of mind and they are very sweet. They took me out on tour with them and now we're label mates. They were doing this tour and with our album coming out it was sort of obvious we came out on tour with them.
R13: Do you think they compliment your music and visa versa?
JM: Well apart from we're so much better, totally!
JT: well we both have such a diverse show and both be really loud and heavy.
JM: I think they picked a really cool bill. The three bands that are supporting them all have different elements to them and I think that it makes a show when all fans don't look the same.
R13: Are there any shows that really stand out?
JM: Norwich was a good one.
JM: For me it was because we all seemed to connect as a band and all the fans were happy and smiling and I think that's what makes playing in the UK so special. I find that the further away the show is from a big city the better it is. Perhaps it's because there aren't as many people there who are trying to claim that they are cool and there aren't as many prompts as to what is cool and what is not, that they sort of make it up for themselves more. Also if you live in places like London you can go see a band every night of the week, in smaller towns they seem to appreciate you being there more.
R13: What do you hope these dates will achieve for you as a band?
JM: Well what we'd love is to come back and do a headliner. I would be great to play some 200-500 seat pubs/clubs all across the UK. The big shows are fun and can have a great atmosphere but if we could come back and see some of the people we met whilst we were over here this time it would be fantastic.
R13: I noticed there was a lot of crowd interaction and you also went out afterwards and signed CD's for people. Is that something you feel strongly about?
JM: For me the whole night is the show. It's the setting up, playing your stuff, doing interviews then going out and meeting the people you have played for. It's the whole thing that is part of the art. Having a kid pay £10 for a CD and say "You were awesome tonight!" is for me just as important as hitting every note is the chorus.
R13: You are also quite political in some of the lyrics and the way you deliver you music. Do you believe that music is a good medium to introduce political beliefs to the masses?
JM: Well it's a very powerful medium; you only have to look at the Live8 gig to see that. When they showed the clips of the dead or dying children from the original Live Aid and then bought on one of the children from the clip it showed that the Live Aid appeal did actually do something and changed people's lives. It just showed everyone why they should try. It's now about being critical or self righteous and we make just a much of a mess of the world as anyone its just about everybody doing something. Basically anything that leaves you not talking or not trying... I don't see the point. I'm not being political to be political I would say I'm social. Art in the community is the most beautiful thing.
R13: You're latest album 'Gratitude' came out 20th July; what sort of a reaction have you had so far?
Jeremy Tappero: We don't really pay attention to number or things like that so we don't really know
JM: We had some of the initial press come in but I don't actually read any of my reviews. Either I hate them because they are negative or they are positive which don't get me wrong is great but its so easy to get knocked off this route we're on. I'm very careful about that sort of thing because I know my ego can get fed or I can get really down if someone doesn't like it. This tour has great though. As it's gone on you can tell when you opened a show that the kids have had a good time and they have called their mates in the next town and said "Hey I've just seen this great band!"
And Gratitude really are a great band, on and off the stage. To find out more about Bobcore and the Gratitude boys please visit their website www.GratitudeMusic.com