Eclectic rock band celebrates its 15-year anniversary
Before Gelatinus Cube was a band, two of its founding members, singer/guitarists Pat Chase and Tim Swanson, were teenage Boy Scouts heading up a ragtag troop that sounds like it was lifted straight from a screwball 1980s comedy.
“One time, we made a catapult during the end-of-camp Jamboree and we were launching water balloons at families, and we got in trouble for that. Then there was the time I stole the lighter fluid from the Order of the Arrows ceremony and I was going to blow up [the can] later from a distance with a long fuse. I didn't get to do that, unfortunately,” said Chase, 30, who joined Swanson and fellow bandmate Mike Daull for a late-September interview. “We had a long history of problems, so of course a punk band came out of it.”
Early on, Gelatinus Cube, which will celebrate its 15-year anniversary with a concert at Spacebar on Saturday, Sept. 30, created music intended to push most listeners away.
“We wanted to be the worst band ever,” Chase said. “We wanted to piss people off, and we achieved that. The early music is loud, fast, out of tune [and] poorly written. In the early days, we were atonal, but not on purpose. We just weren't very good at our instruments.”
But, over the course of 15 years and nine albums — Chase and Co. are still processing the idea that they have now been doing something half of their lives (“And I'm not even old,” Chase added) — the friends improved as musicians and songwriters, shedding the teenage desire to stick to loud, snotty tunes in favor of a more eclectic sound that bounces from winding, brass-haunted indie rockers (“Doin' Great” off 24 Hour Rock and Roll, from 2015) to disarmingly pretty piano ballads (“Cheap Seats”) and more primal, guitar-driven rumblers (“Remote Control,” both off The New Corn, from 2014).
“There was a weird cocoon burst and maturation process [before college],” said Daull, who joined in 2008 and is the third-longest tenured band member.
“We were all getting on the same page with the idea that genre was bullshit and there was no reason to try to be anything. You are what you're making right now,” Chase said. “We walk in a direction where everything feels right in that moment.”
Asked to describe themselves as teenagers, Swanson said he was closed-minded, especially when it came to music (“If it wasn't loud, fast, angry punk I didn't want to play it,” he said), while Chase let loose, calling himself “shitty, self-centered, self-aggrandizing [and] unaware.”
Later songs reflect significant maturation — a growth that continues on the in-progress Wild Animal Land, which the band hopes to release by year's end.
“You can't spend your entire life without taking a look at yourself and going, ‘What are you doing? Why are you doing it?' … Most of the other records are blaming. They're heavily focused on, ‘This is your fault. Not mine,'” said Chase, who became a first-time father in 2016. “This one, it's something different. … This album is drawing that line in the sand for me: ‘Who are you going to be?'”