behind the music with
Bo Gritz

London noise-rock trio are back and ready to get serious

by Giovanna - March 17, 2023

Hallo and welcome to Hashbrandnew's BEHIND THE MUSIC: Exclusive Interviews With Your Next Favourite New Bands! Today you get acquainted with London's BO GRITZ. The trio have been gaining respect since 2015 with a couple of EP and singles and a strong reputation in the London gig circuit. After almost a five-year hiatus they are now back with a more mature sound and the announcement of their debut album 'Chroma' due 9th June via cult indie label Glasshouse Records (Mandrake Handshake, For Breakfast).

  • You are named after the Vietnam War veteran who ran for United States president in 1992 under the slogan: "God, Guns and Gritz". How did you choose the band name and why?

    Well the answer is actually incredibly boring! When we were naming the band I was reading a book by the gonzo journalist Jon Ronson called 'Them'. I saw Bo Gritz written down in the book and we thought it looked and sounded good as a band name and now here we are. 

  • For those that haven’t heard of you yet, how would you best describe your sound, and who have been your biggest influences?

    I find it really hard to describe the band’s music, I feel really pretentious. Someone who I work with recently described it as ‘packaged madness’ which made me laugh, I think this idea of the sounds being ‘crazy’ (their words), but you can still bop your head and get down to it .

    Regarding biggest influences, It’s something we don’t actually discuss too much as a band, you know, it’s a very organic thing in that we just meet up and play. Of course we all pull from similar backgrounds but I wouldn’t say there’s any key bands or 'key texts/albums' so to speak. When Finn and I started playing together the touch points were like Shellac, Jesus Lizard, Birthday Party, Swans, but I would say we’ve evolved from this now as we’ve got a bit older and wiser *cough*

  • L/R Max Goulding, Benjamin Salt, Finn Holland. Photos by Ranishka Kumarage
  • Can you tell us a little bit about each member of the band and their role within the group?

    Sure! We're a 3 piece. On guitar and lead vocals we have Finn Holland, bass and backing vocals is me Benjamin Salt, and on drums/samples is Max Goulding. The writing process is very democratic. We tend to write live in the room, but recently we’ve been coming to rehearsals with little electronic ideas and samples, and then jamming along to those with our instruments. Finn does all the artwork for the band, and Max is a very talented sound engineer and helps out a lot with the mixing and production side. I would say I’m the band enforcer/administrator. 

  • You have a solid reputation as a very noisy live act. Can you tell us about a particularly memorable performance you've had?

    So many to choose from. The one that really springs to mind is supporting Ho99o9 at this tiny venue called the Old Blue Last in East London. If you’ve heard their music, you can imagine what the show was like. I thought the ceiling was going to cave in, you couldn't FIT anymore people in that room. I was deaf for weeks. 

    On the funnier memorable side, we played a show once where both mine and Finn's guitar straps snapped within the first two songs, so we played the set sitting down/trying to hold up our instruments whilst singing and playing. After the show, someone approached us and was like ‘is that your thing? You don’t use straps?’ 

  • Artwork by Finn Holland
  • You’ve just re-emerged after a 5 year hiatus with a powerful single ‘Observes and Select’ (which was ‘Editor’s Choice’ on hashbrandnew). Can you tell us more about the track?

    Yeah so we wrote this track during one of the Covid lockdowns, in the basement of the Railway Tavern, Tulse Hill, a pub in South London. Like most of the songs from that period, we were playing around with some drum machines and sample loops, then jamming along with our instruments.  I think it really showcases the shift in the sound of the band that happened whilst we were writing the new material, incorporating different sounds and textures that’re not just bass, guitar and drums which we had previously used. 

    The lyrics are from a cut-up technique. Finn collected a large bank of words and sentences, collected from many different sources which were then butchered up. Gossip magazines, articles on a murder, manuals from a washing machine were merged and then used to form the lyrics for the songs. ‘Observes and Selects’ became something depicting a place confusing and claustrophobic, but you can bop your head to it as well.

  • You have recently signed to indie label Glasshouse Records, congrats! What can we expect for 2023?

    We have one really big piece of news actually! We've just announced our debut album called Chroma, which will be released via Glasshouse on June 9th both physically and digitally. I think this should be available to preorder now. We're really excited to finally put out an album. We've released Eps and standalone singles in the past, but this will be the first album. We wrote most of it during the covid lockdowns and it was recorded between Max's home studio and Hermitage Works Studios. It feels like a long time coming but we can't wait to get it out and play it live.

  • Photos by Suzi Corker (2017)
  • Are you going on tour soon? Are you planning to perform any gigs abroad or has Brexit made it impossible for small bands to do so?

    We are starting to get a few shows together which will be fun, but most we're unable to announce yet unfortunately. The biggie we can say is an album release show at the Waiting Room in London on Friday June 9th, tickets should be on sale for that now. We have a sick band called YSING supporting us so it should be fun. The other announced show so far is Paris on May 17th, but there's more coming! Once the album is out hopefully we can jump on some more euro fest line-ups later in the year also, so stay tuned.

  • Bo Gritz are Finn Holland (guitar, vocals, samples), Max Goulding (percussion, samples) & Benjamin Salt (bass, vocals).