With the release of Gideon’s Army’s new album ‘King of the League’ today we decided to have a chat with Robert Bray to get to know him and his band better.
When did you form your band?
It’s come together over time, but we started gigging in 2014. Our first gig was in March 2014 at Mexicali Live in Teaneck, NJ.
How did you decide what style/ Genre of music you wanted to do?
The songs come from my guitar or when I’m singing on my own or when I’m jamming with bandmates. Certain sounds will inspire me to sing, and once in a while it hits a deep nerve and the music wants to travel. And then a song appears.
What inspired you to make music?
The singers and songwriters of my youth that moved me in a profound way. Eddie Vedder, Bruce Springsteen, Scott Weiland, Mick Jagger, Elvis, the Beatles, Johnny Cash, Kings of Leon, Tom Petty, the Black Crowes… Those are my biggest influences , but I’ve taken inspiration from many people across all genres of music. I fell in love with the guitar sounds on those records too.
What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs?
My love relationships show up again and again in my songwriting. My songs are also filled with my love of music, and my professional, artistic, social, and financial struggles. I tend to write about my most noble of emotions, my greatest joys, and my deepest pain.
Could you briefly describe you music-making process?
Most of the time my guitar playing will inspire the song. I’ll catch something that makes me want to sing. And like I mentioned before every once in a while you hit something deep, and you get possessed with a desire to express yourself. To articulate a profound sentiment in songful verse. It’s unexplainable, but once you’re possessed you have to write that song. Sometimes the song starts from something I’m singing to myself and then I go sit down with my guitar and find the groove. And sometimes it comes from singing along to something that one of my bandmates is playing when we get together to rehearse or jam.
What has been your biggest challenge as a band and have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how?
Thanks to the marvels of the internet we’ve been able to attract devoted fans all over the world, but it’s been a challenge to get the word out in our own home city, although it is still the city where we have the largest following. It’s been a challenge and it’s still a challenge to fill out a sizable venue. Our fans are scattered around the world and not concentrated in select cities or regions. Although we do know we have the most fans in NYC and Brazil.
What is your Favourite song to perform live and why?
That changes based on my and our mood, but In the Summertime or One Kiss are always fun to play.
Whats your favourite venue that you have played at so far?
I’m tremendously excited about our June 1st album release show at the Cutting Room in New York City. It is one of the best sounding rooms in the city, and it’s got a real rock ‘n roll vibe. I also love playing at Mexicali Live in New Jersey. it’s not far from where I grew up and it’s close to my family and some of our biggest fans.
What’s the most bizarre thing to happen while you were on stage?
Strings pop sometimes mid song, and you’ve got to change up your chord shapes to keep the song going and avoid sounding out of tune.
Who has been your favourite support act so far?
I’m psyched to share a bill with Marco With Love at the Cutting Room on June 1st, they’re an exciting NYC based rock ‘n roll band.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Spend time with my girlfriend, close friends and family. I like to take in live music, go to the movies and the theatre, and I love to travel and discover great tastes and sights.
Any Plans to come to Ireland in the future?
I have been to Ireland, Dublin and Belfast, and I love it. I cannot wait to go back. My last name Bray, is a town in Ireland, and it’s the ancestral homeland of my father’s side of the family. Would be a dream to go back and play the great venues there.
What advice do you have for people who want to form their own bands?
Don’t just form a group with any bunch of assholes who want to form a band. Work on your craft, work on your instrument, work on your song writing, wait until you can legitimately attract others of top quality. You can flounder for years in a project that is going nowhere. Better to take your time, have patience and then hit it hard with the best musicians in town.
Strong honest advise to end on, lets hope Gideon’s Army return to Ireland soon!