Robert Gomez

Robert Gomez - June 2013

Robert Gomez Session
Violitionist Sessions

Session Date: March 13, 2013
Posting Date: June 3, 2013
Artist Hometown: Denton, TX
Links: Facebook, Bandcamp
Recorded by: Michael Briggs @ Civil

Robert Kornbluth
The Great Kaboom
Robert Durand
ONE: Could you tell us about your album Severance Songs?
Robert Gomez: Well, that’s just an album of, basically, songs that are made from the poetry of Robert Olen Butler, taken from his book, Severance. So, I came across his book, got pretty into it, and the concept behind it, and I had been thinking about doing some sort of album where the words were not my words, but were someone else’s words, and it just seemed like a perfect fit. I talked to him about it and he was into it, and I just chose five of them and made songs out of them. So, that’s what it is.
MB: Sort of similar to Doug Burr’s The Shawl, where he put Psalms to music.
Robert: Yeah. It’s insanely difficult, at least, more difficult than I thought it was going to be. I thought it was going to be like, ‘Man, the words are done? That’s a huge part of it. A lot of the work is done!’ But, no, it’s even harder now.
MB: Did these songs use musical ideas that you had had around for a while, or were they all completely unique to this project?
Robert: It was all completely unique. I don’t think I’ll make another record that sounds like that record, because…it’s hard to realize how important the words are to the sound of the music. They really are. These pushed me in a whole direction that I just wasn’t…used to, for lack of a better word.
TWO: Your Green Hour Residency at Dan’s Silver Leaf ended in February. Can you tell us about what that was?
Robert: That was an improvised music project. I would have a different guest musician every week, but then our guest musician just kind of stayed on and became a permanent fixture. Jeremy Buller joined the band, so there’s three of us, Evan Jacobs, Jeremy Buller, and myself; and we just improvise music. Some people call them noise songs..So, it’s kind of like that. Improvised music, completely. We were doing that at Dan’s during Happy Hour. I dubbed it the ‘Green Hour,’ so we were the Green Hour Residency, and now that’s the name of the band, Green Hour Residency, even though the Green Hour Residency is no longer happening.
MB: So, is this band going to continue?
Robert: Yeah.
MB: Under that name, but playing regular shows?
Robert: Yeah. I think our next project might be with Jason Reimer of History at Our Disposal, who is in Dallas now. He had a concept for a thing called ‘the cell phone show,’ where people would text their images to a number, and then those images would be projected onto the stage, and the band would react to them and stuff like that, so…I kind of want to do that next. With him, he’s going to join as well.
MB: You also have a residency where you play Cuban music?
Robert: Well, every now and then. I have a Cuban band, and we play—
MB: What’s the story behind that?
Robert: I’ve just always loved Cuban music. It’s something I’ve studied and worked on and been in bands or whatever. It’s something I’ve had for a long time. Me and some like-minded musicians, we play Cuban music from the 30’s and 40’s, sometimes older styles. It’s more of a repertory band. We don’t do any modern music, and we don’t write any original music. We’re just playing old, classic things that people don’t really play around here.
THREE: What are your thoughts on the Denton music scene?
Robert: I think it’s a great scene. I think it has improved over time. I think there were always a lot of good bands from Denton, but what we’re seeing, or at least what I’m seeing these days, is a lot more experimental music, more really just interesting music than there has been before. I don’t know why that is. Maybe because there’s really no record industry anymore, there’s no radio stations, no magazines. There’s none of the things that maybe influenced musicians at one time. Now it’s like a free-for-all, and, for some reason, I feel like this area of North Texas is just really creative and…kind of weird, you know? Sometimes weirder than Austin. They say ‘Keep Austin Weird,’ but Denton is truly weird. Always has been, but now even more so, I’d say.
– Interview by Michael Briggs. Transcription by Dale Jones.