It is, quite simply, physically impossible to dislike Gehtika. Whether you encounter them on stage, where they run riot in crazed make-up and tear the place to pieces (as the band convincingly did at Bloodstock this year) or if you actually encounter the amiable bunch in the flesh, they are so unerringly genuine (bizarre gentlemanly accents notwithstanding) that it is impossible not to warm to them immediately. That the band happen to be one of the most musically exciting modern British metal bands out there, of course, helps as well, but ultimately what makes interviewing Gehtika such a pleasure is the fact that, although they are unassailably confident, they exude none of the arrogance or sense of entitlement that some bands emit (often without cause), putting their rapidly increasing profile down to hard work and cups of tea. The simple fact of the matter is, however, that gehtika are one of the most exciting bands out there right now and if you haven’t had the pleasure of checking out their recent ‘IQ’ EP, or the more recent single, ‘stack the pyres’, then you should consider slapping yourself, hard, going hence and doing so before returning here and learning more about the band behind the music. Either way, it is SonicAbuse’s distinct pleasure to present this interview with the wonderful Gehtika.
Gehtika, quite an unusual name and spelling – where does the name come from?
Scott: Um, the name came from a long ago project which was basically the same band but with only me in it out of this current line up, and one of our previous members came up with a different name and it kind of stuck. We had a little bit of a reputation so we decided to build on it, but then everybody else left and there was only me and it’s all these wonderful boys now.
Was the make-up always part of the presentation or was that something that evolved over time?
Scott: No, that was a daring idea for a photo shoot. We decided to jazz it up a little bit and Mr O’Meagher over here threw a paddy to start off with, but then he took it under his wing and rather enjoyed it in applying his eyeliner.
Obviously it’s something that gets you recognised but has it ever got you any flack?
Scott: Oh yes, plenty of times! Black Veiled brides! Lots of 0people think that we’re like them, but they haven’t listened to us, so all I can say is “Idiots!”
The whole concept of gentlemanly metal is really unique, I would say, where does that come from?
Scott: Um, I’m going to hand you over to Mr O’Meagher for that one – he’s the instigator.
Topher: Well, I think the first time it started was when Mr Allen let it slip on stage and said the word “spiffing” and about three people shouted it back at us straight away and from that moment on, that’s where it started. So we thought, hell, why not, let’s just go for it. We got really into Sherlock Holmes and all this English material…
Scott: [Interrupting] There’s no better word than the word “spiffing” is there boys. It’s inoffensive, it’s rather jolly, it’s rather spiffing! We had the whole tent for the Sophie Lancaster stage shouting “spiffing”. Usually it’s obscenities like shouting the F word and the C word… yes, Mark… but we like to use polite words!
To what extent does it influence the lyrics?
Anthony: To a certain extent I suppose. We’ve got a song, ‘checkmate’, which is a bit of a twist on a Sherlock Holmes story, so in that sort of essence, and ‘impossible question’ as well, is very thought provoking song that was very obviously bought…
Scott: [Interrupting] I don’t think I have the brain capacity to think about that particular subject, no…
Anthony: [Interrupting] he tried once and it ended quite badly!
You lack the linguistic capacity?
Scott: Yes, yes…
I see…. And now all the questions have gone out of my head! [Frantic shuffling of notes]
Ah yes – the EP – recorded with Mr Hill from Sikth – how did that come about?
Scott: Well, first of all he’s a rather spiffing fellow and one of our good friend’s bands had recorded with him and we were scouting around for prospectuous [sic] producers… that’s a new word there, prospectuous, note that down and keep that for the Oxford English dictionary please…
I think it has to be in print a number of times before they add a new word to the dictionary…
Anthony: Well, we can do that…
Well – if you get more interviews today then you can use that!
Anthony: Yes, we have several interviews to do!
Scott: But yes, we had a chat with him and thought him a rather jolly spiffing fellow and so we got booked in and he kind of changed us in our writing ability and helped us move forward from the stage that we were at that time.
Anthony: Yes – he properly produced us and now we sound… better!
Scott: You did your job, Justin, thank you!
Is he paying you by the word for each mention?
Scott: No… but he should! Mr Justin Hill of Sikth. He produced our EP ‘the impossible question’…
Anthony: [Interrupting] £800 a word…
To what extent are there other bands in a similar field in Birmingham or do you stand alone?
Scott: If you look you’ll see that Mr O’Meagher is wearing a Morgue Orgy, morgue orgy t shirt. Morgue orgy… Those boys don’t necessarily wear the make-up but do you know what, they just love to have a jolly, spiffing good time. We all have fun don’t we boys? There are plenty of bands in the Birmingham area – Eradicator as well – who just like to have fun. And we differ slightly in genre but we all just like to have a good time.
To what extent do you think it is difficult for independent bands to break into festivals like Bloodstock?
Psy’: It’s not – if we can do it, they all can.
Marc: [Turning atypically serious] Things like Metal to the masses have opened up the stage for these kind of festivals for independent bands and it’s an amazing experience . We did it last year and the likes of Eradicator have done it this year – it’s just amazing. It opens up the door for all the unsigned bands across the country. It’s not that difficult. Well… it is, you have to work bloody hard – you’ve got to be good!
I was expecting stories of blood, sweat and tears…
Scott: [Suddenly remembering that they should be in character] Oh there is – there’s a lot of that behind the scenes…
Scott: And a little bit of poo as well…
Anthony: [Interrupting quickly] No, we won’t mention that…
How much of a challenge is it to balance the commitments of work and being in a band that’s rapidly on the rise?
Scott: Screw work! Priorities! You set aside the hours and put the work in where you can and you’ll make it!
Anthony: Mr Knight here has obviously just had his baby… [at this point a random dispute over the baby’s name breaks out which is hard to unravel]
Marc: [breaking in across the bedlam] May I just give drummers some advice – wait for the band to get big and then join ‘em.
Anthony: Wait – I got stuck on the baby thing… Oh yes – commitment to the hours is the key. There’s always ways to work about it and I think a lot of people seem to think you can only have a full-time job or you can try and do the band and if you don’t have a full time job you can’t pay the bills but that’s not true – you can work around it and if you’re dedicated enough then it should be no problem.
A good example of this is that for the last month, we have our new drummer here Mr Lord (say hello) and we have all been working our day time jobs by day, or by night in Mr Lord’s case, and a six hour day on Saturday and Sunday at the weekend so we have pretty much no life. But we put in the work and it pays off.
To move on, the art work is awesome, who does that?
Scott: Mr Scott Davidson – he’s a jolly spiffing chap…
Anthony: [Interrupting] £800 per name
Scott: Yes, yes – he’s a local artist from the Leamington Spa area, he’s done lots of artwork for us recently – the ‘IQ’ EP and ‘stack the pyres’, our new single. Check out our page to have a look at that and check him out too, Scott Davidson. He’s bloody marvellous.
So you have the EP, you have the single, when can we expect an album?
Anthony: That’s something we’re looking at the moment. We’re writing it now and hopefully towards the end of the year we’ll look to record the thing and release it early next year. If you have a listen to ‘stack the pyres’, that’s the theme we’re going along with, although we do like to change it up quite a bit don’t we?
Scott: Yes, yes, we like a bit of jazz in there or, as I did last night, a bit of Brian Adams…
I didn’t notice any Brian Adams last night, I’ll be honest…
Scott: Oh yes… subtle hints. They’re not on the CD, I’ve changed them recently, without permission.
Obviously, you’ve played bloodstock and you’ve gone from the New Blood stage to the Sophie Stage this year…
Yes, it’s scary…
…So what are your plans to keep the momentum going?
Marc: Keep on writing, keep on gigging… stop throwing me in at the deep end!
Why not, the deep end is where you clearly belong!
Scott: I think the album is one of the key things we want to do. We want to create an album that has no filler, that has no songs that you skip past or skip bits in , we want to deliver the full spiffing experience and then we can go9 back to what we do best which is to tour extensively off the back of that product. Last year we did 75+ shows as well as working full time and we were quite pleased with ourselves… and very tired!
Marc: If you want it to work, you can make it work, basically. If you put the time in, it’s easy.
Scott: The drinking is hard!
You strike me as the sort of band who’d work well with a concept kind of album, is that something that would appeal to you?
Anthony: It is something that we’ve spoken about. We’ve come up with a few titles already and it’s trying a new style of writing basically… a bit of jazz in there maybe. But yes we’re looking at a bit of a concept album there, possibly. We’re also looking at a Pledge type campaign so if people have got any ideas about what they would like to pledge for then please contact us on Facebook and let us know. Or if you just want to give us the money…
Scott: Somebody rich, come along to my house. I’ll make you a cup of tea and you give us some money and we’ll do you proud!
Some sort of gentlemanly tour of London would be quite good…
Scott: I’m rubbish at getting around London unless you put me underground and that’s a true story… I’m very good underground, and not so good up top… and that’s not a euphemism…
Psy’: He’s like a mole!
Wow – that just killed the conversation!
So what musical influences are key?
Oh, all sorts. Black Dahlia Murder would be one, Lamb of god, Gojira, our local peers – the likes of Morgue Orgy are big influence because we love listening to them and playing with them.
I know this is an interview for us, but I can’t praise Morgue orgy enough, they’re spiffing fellows. So again, £800 a name – go check out Morgue Orgy, Morgue Orgy – that’s four time £800!
That should get your pledge campaign off to a good start!
Yes – we’ll do three albums.
Scott: Yes, with Justin Hill, which I’ve just said again, so now you’re going to have to pay us double I’m afraid!
So what do you have coming up?
Marc: We’ve got a couple of shows coming up, we’ve got Headbanger’s Balls at the end of the year. We’re really looking forward to playing that because it’s for a good cause – the Teenage Cancer trust which is going on all over the country – so we’re part of the Birmingham leg of that. We’ve got a Halloween show at Rock Zombie in Dudley which we’re looking forward to.
Aside from that, it’s all about the writing.
You’re quite close with Headbanger’s balls aren’t you
Scott: Yes, well, our manager, Bethan is doing marvellous things with them. So she’s definitely involved with promoting them. We’re very pleased to be on the tour. I myself will hopefully be setting up a show involving headbanger’s balls, in Coventry which will be on the 17th Oct so please come down then and give me some money.
Anthony: You’re voice changes a lot doesn’t it?
Scott: Yes it does!
Anthony: I think you need a punch in the throat…
Scott: I need a drink.
Any final words?
You really are the drummer aren’t you?!
Scott: Colonel Sanders… Now he owes us £800!
Anthony: Thank you very much for supporting us over the years. Thank you for supporting us last night, we had a jolly good spiffing time and everyone’s marvellous to be honest. If they didn’t support us, we wouldn’t be doing this, we’d just be playing in the studio, so it’s rather marvellous and we thank you all.
Scott: Oh, and drink tea.