Virtual Session: Ron Gallo

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Ron Gallo joins Jade of The Current for a virtual session. (MPR)

Jade: Hey it's Jade joining you on The Current for another virtual session and today we are joined by Ron Gallo. Ron Gallo has a new album I've been very much looking forward to it, it's gonna be called Peacemeal and it's coming out October 9th. I've already started to enjoy some of the songs - they're about traveling, about being an introvert, about wanting to be around people. I think these are topics we could all relate to so I'm excited to get to some of these live songs in just a bit but I wanted to check in with Ron first. Ron, how are you doing?

Ron Gallo: Pretty good. Today feels good. We've done this a handful of times and each time it gets a little bit more comfortable playing into the abyss. And I can see you and that's cool. That's just such a huge upgrade.

Being able to see humans a little bit is always nice.

Yeah I power washed for the first time yesterday that was really cool. That was a...I discovered my new passion yesterday.

Power washing what?

A deck. It was awesome. Have you ever done that?

I have not power washed anything but it sounds already extreme and I've done so many home projects, I've started working on a garden. This is like the first time and I have actual tomatoes that have grown so I feel like my green thumb is already growing. So I'm excited to learn more about power washing, I'm sure everybody else is as well. But I think we also need to get to some music and before we do will you introduce the rest of your band?

We have Chiara D'Anzieri on the bass. Dominic Billett on the drums. Yeah.

Let's check out a couple of songs and we'll chat in just a moment but I want to hear some of the new music so tell us what you're gonna play, and play us a couple of songs.

Alright we're gonna start with "Wunday (Crazy After Dark)", and then into a song called "Easter Island".

[Music: "Wunday (Crazy After Dark)" by Ron Gallo]

[Music: "Easter Island" by Ron Gallo]

That is off of the new album Peacemeal coming out October 9th, "Easter Island". You name drop a good selection of locations in that song and a lot of us are sequestered right now. Is there a place where, if you could be somewhere else right now, where would it be?

I would have to say back in Ravenna, Italy where Chianna is from, where her family is probably on the beach a Hana-Bi which is like a beach venue club bar that we always go to and that's actually where we met a few years ago so, in an ideal world we would be there under the orange umbrellas at sunset. It would be awesome.

Being back with people in a shared space, I saw something on your Instagram where you said that your first job is a human, and your side gig is music. Do you feel like those jobs are more intertwined these days?

Yeah I mean ultimately, no matter what I do I guess I don't stop the human part. I just think it's finding a way to blend the two. They're not always complimentary, which I've found in the past because you... I guess any pursuit or job, you can get sorta pretty deep into that identity and it consumes your life and that's basically all I did for three years. We toured endlessly and put out records and you get to a point where I think you are so used to just doing one thing that you don't really know anything else and I found, I basically hit a wall and I just got crazy burned out because I was kind of neglecting the human necessity for the sake of the work and that's kind of what led to taking the last, well, it's longer than I wanted to now by global situation, but I planned to take a year off. It's been longer than that now by default. But yeah, I just wanted to take time off and figure out what it was to just be alive again and get excited about music again and just not have that be the only thing, the only dominant force. And so I think now that I get back to, especially with these songs, it's kind of embracing the humanness a little bit more and kind of looking inward and you know, kind of being real about whatever that is. Which is rare because I've always been very outward looking and you know with a lot of stuff I've done. So it's kind of changed sonically, everything, but also kind of what I'm talking about. So I think now for the first time I'm trying to blend the two in a way.

I think that's happening to a lot of people more and more you know because of the way we're living, even the question of "How are you doing?" I feel like people are giving a lot more real answers to that question then I usually get and I think that's because of the way a lot of people are reflecting on their lives and when you talk about reflecting on the songs and the sound of the music that you're making I think Chiara, I believe, I'm hopefully saying your name right. I think the addition of her voice is a big part of what is making the music sound so different. Do you mind talking about that a little bit? The addition of another vocalist?

Yeah I mean it, I think we're lucky because we found each other and we both play music and I think, you know, it's just such a great thing to be able to kind of do that together and have it work and it be complimentary because you know, it's just she's actually originally a cellist so now she's sort of you know, played bass, played guitar but like putting together this project, working on the record it was sort of her exploring like a new territory of music at the same time that I was and so yeah, I like to have that other voice there, I mean with this stuff it's kind of bringing in a lot of stuff that I love that I've never brought into the mix before so, yeah, I mean it's great because it's been just the two of us for six months straight now so it's just been cool to be able to make stuff together. Make it a party.

Yeah and create a new sound together. There's something that you were just showing off on that "Easter Island" song which is, I don't know if it's low-fi rapping or if it's spoken word, however you want to talk about it but it does create some flexibility in your storytelling and I've already seen you perform that song adding sort of different words to it and, do you enjoy having that flexibility sort of added into the music that you're making?

Yes it's all about the flexibility at this point because, I don't know, I feel like I've always kind of limited myself, it's easy to get put in boxes, you know? It's like, you make records and then you kind of, they might all fit into one realm and you feel compelled to like, "Well that's what I do so I gotta keep doing that." But it's limiting in a way so yeah I mean, the way that song came about was, I made all the music first and then I had the lyrics sheet and I pressed record and that's just what happened. It was sort of this like talk-song fast cramming words into spaces and so it was sort of accidental but yeah, I don't know, I guess it's sort of a mix of all of those things. I mean... I'm a, I don't know what to call it but it's just what happened. But it's different than what I've done so now I'm like okay well I can just like talk fast over songs if I want now, you know? Why not?

You can do whatever you want, it's 2020 we can all do whatever we want and I do have an idea that I've been thinking about a lot - is this idea of is it possible to avoid making political music in 2020? Is that even possible?

Well, it is and it's super popular. Most of the biggest music in the world is not political. That's what you asked right? Is it possible to make music that's not political these days? Yeah I mean the thing about it is, that would not be new for me, if anything. What I thinks weird is that all the music I made before this year was probably way more quote unquote political than the stuff I'm making now but I feel like in the way it's the same thing because I'm always much more concerned with the human issues because those are kind of the root of the political issues so I'm like, lets just skip all that and get to the root of the problem which is ultimately human and what goes on and how we deal with our minds and how that manifests into the world because really that's what it is, right? If anything the music I'm making now is the least political it's been but I feel like it's kinda all the same and I really like what you said earlier about how people are getting more honest answers. What were we doing before? Why were we... maybe that's the beauty of all this time. By the way I don't know where to look right now so when people watch this they're gonna be like, "Why does he just look at the floor all the time?" Because you're down there. Anyway that's where we're at. But anyway, I lost my train of thought.

You were saying that you were feeling that this music is more human music and you like that people are having more conversations, and what were we doing before then?! And I don't know.

Exactly. So that was the point I was getting to is that as crazy and backwards and as insane as these times are I think that it's a necessary step in our evolution because people are opening up more and all that really means is that we were all full of shit before. It was all like fake gentle pretend and now if people are being more real and it took this to get us there then I think the future is bright. Not at the expense of all the people that are suffering or bad things that have happened but you know, it always takes struggle for people to kind of get to the next level and if we all come out of this being a little bit more real then it's not the worst thing I guess we're all an organism we're all growing and we're evolving constantly so hey, nice.

Here's to a more real world ahead of us. Speaking of that I want to hear some more real music. Again the new album Peacemeal is out October 9th --

Really quick. I hate to cut you off but also because the nature of the world right now we actually, the record, is getting pushed back. So this is cool because this is a live, we're gonna work out details live. It was set to come out in October. It's gonna come out early 2021 now.

Ok cool.

So basically what we're gonna do is, sorry you're finding out this way but hey, that's...we just found out today this but six of the songs are gonna live up online as an EP for, until February 19th and then we're gonna put out the whole record so all the songs we're playing today, there's gonna be two more singles through October, full record February. Sorry you had to find out right now. But I just wanted to say that.

I like that. Real time news happening. Breaking news. So expect the full album in 2021, but you can enjoy some of the singles right now and we're gonna listen to a couple more here on The Current's virtual session with Ron Gallo.

[Music: "Hide (Myself Behind You)" by Ron Gallo]

[Music: "All the Punks Have Been Domesticated (2020 Version)" by Ron Gallo]

As always leaving us with something to think about Ron Gallo's new album Peacemeal, it's gonna be out sometime in 2021, early in the year and right now you can enjoy some of that new music and you can find more of that music as always over at TheCurrent.org. Ron, thank you so much for joining us for The Current's virtual session.

Jade thank you so much for having us, this is so cool it's like we can see each other we can talk, this is the best one we've done, it feels real. Like a real show!

I know. One day. One day we'll be back in the same room, you guys will be playing some live music here in Minnesota and we're very much looking forward to that.

It's gonna be beautiful.

It will be beautiful. And I just want to say thank you to our technical producer Jesse Wiza and engineer Peter Ecklund and thank you so much for watching this and check back for more of these virtual sessions, you can follow along at thecurrent.org

Songs Played

02:16 Wunday (Crazy After Dark)
04:55 Easter Island
17:45 Hide (Myself Behind You)
21:06 All The Punks Are Domesticated (2020 Version)

Songs 1, 2, and 3 are from the 2020 EP Please Don't Die. Song 4 is a reworked version of the track that was originally released on 2017's Heavy Meta. Both were released by New West Records.

Credits

Host: Jade
Technical Director: Peter Ecklund
Producer: Jesse Wiza

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