Gutless // FEST Feature Friday

While countless musicians will make the trek to North Florida from across the country and, in some cases, out of the country this October for FEST, let's not forget about the talented artists residing in Gainesville all year long. This week, we're focusing on Gutless, a four piece alternative-indie group with punk undertones who are based out of Gainesville and are playing at FEST this year, alongside other impressive Florida based artists. 

Currently, Gutless have released one EP titled Some Voids... and one split EP with the group Consent, who are also from Florida. Although short, Some Voids... creates a sound for fans of a variety of genres, spanning from laid back indie rock to energetic and fast paced alternative rock with noticeable punk vibes.

Exploring feelings of uncertainty, anxiety, and the past and present experiences that impact people in their daily, every day lives, Gutless presents a catchy EP, with well composed melodies and in-depth lyrical content that dives deep rather than glossing over the subject matter. Highlights include the opening track "Nestzzz", in which vocalist / guitarist Vi sings "But I've grown tired of fleeing / Now it's all I know / In the palms of a feeder / With exhausted wings and unsure of where to go", as well as "This is the breaker / it tears you apart / It tests all your passions and your sense of pride / No one here to listen / no one I can seek / Depression is far too demanding of me" on the closing track, "Breaker". 

Vi has a clearly displayed vocal range which creates the ability to convey different emotional states though their lyrical delivery. This leads to a special and personal experience for the listener. With their EP being catchy and enjoyable, it's safe to say that their live performances are fun, inclusive, and personable. You can listen to Gutless on both Spotify and Bandcamp, as well as catch them at FEST if you're lucky enough to be going! 

Gutless are performing at FEST 16 on Saturday, October 28, 2017 at The Boxcar. Their set is at 12:40 PM-- you can view the entire FEST schedule here.  

Left to right:

The Boxcar 10/28/17 Gutless (photo credit: Amanda Starling | Some Voids... album art

I got the chance to ask Vi, the founding member of Gutless, some questions about FEST, the importance of inclusivity in the music scene, and how Gutless' formed. Check out their answers below! 

Q: What do you believe sets FEST apart from other music festivals? 

A: FEST really puts a strong emphasis on the community aspect much more than other big festivals. It genuinely feels like everyone there is an integral part of the experience. The organizers, volunteers, and overall audience are as valued as the bands performing, and that blurs that dichotomy of artist/audience and makes each set feel more personal and intimate.

Q: What steps do you believe that music festivals can take to ensure inclusivity for all attendees? 

A: I would like to see more women, trans folks, people of color, and disabled folks performing in punk festivals. It's also important to boot out any bands who propagate bigoted, exclusionary bullshit (e.g. The Dickies).

Q: What are your FEST essentials? 

A: My FEST essentials are comfortable shoes, light clothing (shorts, crop tops, etc.) for the potential heat, fanny pack, sunscreen, and lots of hugs from friends from all around the world.

Q: What caused Gutless to evolve from a solo project to a full band experience? 

A: I started writing the first few Gutless songs after my previous band broke-up in the summer of 2014. For a while after that I felt like I didn't have the energy to seek out and practice with other musicians, though I knew that eventually I'd want to record those songs with a full band. So I played solo for a few months while using the name Gutless (which was jacked from a Jawbreaker song), eventually got booked for a show in Orlando and remembered that my friend Tim was living there at the time.

Tim was one of my favorite drummers that I've met in Gainesville, so I called him and asked if he was down to play that one show, and he said "yeah", so I made a few Megabus trips to Orlando for practice. I had already been talking to my friend Andrew about making music together, so I invited them to play bass and Simona from Insignificant Other agreed to fill in on guitar for that show.

The show was a blast, and to my surprise both Tim and Andrew became really invested in the project and have stuck around since, even though both would eventually move away from Gainesville. At the time I considered myself lucky to just have them on board for that first show, so I'm super grateful to still be making music with them.