But for an ultimatum from bassist Tim Wilson it’s possible that Edmonton trio Gary Debussy might never have left the basement.
“He said that he was going to murder us if we didn’t play a gig,” laughs drummer Sean MacIntosh. “I said ‘OK, OK, I’ll talk to Parker (Theissen, Zebra Pulse/Krang) about getting a show.”
It’s clear that something had to give; 10 years of playing together out of view of the public had also put a slight bit of stress on the drummer, who, along with Wilson and guitarist Kyle Cullen, had been slowly but surely honing their instrumental rock to an edge. There were occasional early one-off gigs, and various other band names, but nothing concrete. Even MacIntosh was beginning to feel the band was becoming somewhat cloistered, chafing at the thought that the songs it was working so assiduously on would never be heard.
Now that the band’s finally taken the plunge in the past year it’s made its presence felt in the scene a lot faster than MacIntosh expected. A Wunderbar favourite, Gary Debussy found a singular genre all its own, one that encompasses bursts of noise, sudden silence, intricate, intense interplay and pure gonzo power. The songwriting, which MacIntosh says is partially divided between full songs brought in by Cullen and jammed out tunes between all three, has mutated.
“We’ve thrown out a lot of them as we’ve progressed,” MacIntosh says. “But it takes us some time to write; we’re slow fuckers in that sense.”
Gary Debussy’s got a few songs up on Bandcamp, but not much to show for a decade’s worth of writing. This will hopefully be rectified in the future. Gary Debussy are in the process of recording at the moment, though MacIntosh cautions that people shouldn’t read too much into that.
“We’re obsessively stupid about this stuff,” he says. “We have a finished batch that Kyle has been mixing; we’ll probably listen to it, and then scrap the whole thing and start all over again.”
MacIntosh is vague about where the band may be headed to musically. Is there a trajectory to Gary Debussy? Will the group eventually evolve into something that makes sense of its long gestation period in the basement? Maybe, but Mackintosh seems happy to confound all expectations if he can get away with it.
“I’d like to try something simple, like, I’ll just play a snare drum, and we’ll do four notes in half an hour,” he says. “We’re talking about this, actually, about doing something like writing a three-piece percussion type thing. I think it’s nice to keep people guessing.”
Fri, Dec 13 (9 pm)
With Desiderata and [willscott]