The Buddha Den

Everything you wanted to know about the Dayton music scene and more but were afraid to ask

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

PROFILE: Gentleman Auction House

...with their most recent album, Alphabet Graveyard, debuting a #6 on the CMJ charts and the band touring relentlessly across the states, it seems that the sky's the limit for St. Louis septet Gentleman Auction House. The Buddha Den spoke recently with frontman Eric Enger about the past, present, and future of Gentleman Auction House...

The Buddha Den: First off, how did Gentleman Auction House come together? What forces and previous bands landed you at this point? How did you finally decide to stop at seven members?

Eric Enger: GAH started as sort of a one-off need-some-friends-to-play-a-show distraction from other things we all were doing. Some people came and went in the beginning and then the door locked. To be honest, none of our previous bands really matter other than to break up the page with occasional capitalizations of things.

TBD: While there may be some convenient reference points for your sound both contemporary and a little further back, how do you describe your sound? From what influences does the band draw?

EE: Certainly we all have different tastes (as riding in the van with us would demonstrate), but from a songwriting standpoint I just like big messy pop. Any folky leanings are probably about to vanish because I'm definitely in an anti-acoustic guitar phase right now. Played out. But Nineties' pop and the bulk of New Jack Swing tends to monopolize ye olde cd player. Still big Soul Coughing fans. Girls Against Boys. Self. Although I'm randomly getting back into Juliana Hatfield and GBV so I hope I don't forget how much I dislike the guitar, acoustic or otherwise. And can anyone stop Jesse McCartney right now? What the H? Great!

TBD: Tell us a little about your relationship with Emergency Umbrella and the success of your latest album, Alphabet Graveyard, on the CMJ charts and the blogsphere at large. Did you have any sense that this album might make this kind of impact?

EE: EU's been very encouraging to us and it helps that we have a mutual interest in each other both professionally and, more importantly, personally. Every time Billy Schuh gets a haircut our entire band blushes. I'm not sure what "impact" you're referring to because I know my dog still looks at me like I only exist to suit her needs. I'm guessing everyone else has a similar tale. Tail? But it has been nice to have some label backing, etc., and we've been fortunate thus far.

TBD: How would you describe the current music scene in St. Louis? What sorts of things are happening with the various clubs and bands? What styles seem particularly prominent at the moment?

EE: St. Louis' music scene is like our weather. If you don't like it, wait a second and it will change. The town is always replacing exciting bands with others. Which is not to suggest that there aren't some great bands with longevity, because there are. Of course there's tons of awful shit too. Tons. Dance punk (and variations thereof) is the last local "trend" that I was really exposed to. Some good bands made it interesting though. And, again, some not so much. Although we've been on the road a bit lately, so I'm sure there's a lot that I don't know about. But you should check out John Hardy and the Public. No trend there, just great songs.

TBD: What does the near future hold for Gentleman Auction House? Any big plans we might like to know about?

EE: We actually have a Christmas record coming out on November 18. Pretty excited about that. I love Christmas the most. And we have some more touring to do throughout the rest of the year. Then we gear up for 2009. More touring, alien abductions and a new record.

TBD: Is there anything else you would like our readers to know about Gentleman Auction House?

EE: Everybody in our band has fingers for toes. I typed this with my feet.

...Gentleman Auction House will perform at Pearl next Monday, October 20, as part of The Buddha Den Presents series...

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