Gengahr
Felix Bushe on gaining confidence, moving forward, and why he'll always be a nature buff...

Felix Bushe has always been what he describes as a “nature buff.” He traces the fascination with nature back to childhood weekends visiting his grandmother, where the two of them would sit in her garden and watch the birds that he’d then tick off in his book.

At that age, he had no idea that in a few years time, he’d have a new book and would be ticking off the birds that he saw through a tour bus window. Not only has his interest made him a worthy team mate of a pub quiz, but it’s influenced the title of Gengahr’s second record, 'Where Wildness Grows'.

The second offering from the Hackney based four has been a long time coming. “I think that it's very ambitiously self-conscious.” Felix explains, “It kind of wants to do one thing but it's also very self aware.” However, the album feels alive with it’s anxieties. Felix’s distinguishable, affected vocal lilts; twisting from cutesy to hypnotic in a mere moment. The guitar is comfortably twitchy, and the bass barely takes a moment’s break.

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We're not the most extrovert individuals...

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“We are quite self-conscious and we're not the most extrovert individuals,” Felix says, adding that for good or for bad, the band definitely aren’t a group of “egotistical maniacs,” and they’re certainly “not narcissists in any way.”

Clash can hear the shyness in his voice as he says it. For many, this would be a redeeming quality but Felix recognises it’s something that the band are missing in a musical world where that very trait drives success a lot of the time. But ultimately, that isn’t the aim for the band. Instead, they’re designing their own. “We try and create our own little world which we feel comfortable in and when we're ready, we share it with everyone else.”

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In Gengahr’s world, there are thunderous storms of rumbling bass and chasing drums. Vocals warp from basking in the sun to howling at the moon, and quiet moments are sat on edge before inevitable disruption. Just like their debut, which told tales about ghosts and witches, ghouls and sharks, the songs on 'Where Wildness Grows' act as short stories in a fantastical collection.

“I've always been drawn to fables and I remember when I went to sixth form I started studying classics because I really liked the Greek tragedies.” Felix reminisces, “There was something amazing about how relevant they are, if you changed the time period they're just the same stories that happen over and over again.

“Human beings have a tendency to fall into these patterns and most of them are driven by raw emotions and things that are programmed in our mind like mistakes that we will make and there's little that we can do to avoid them. It just shows we've never had a solution to these problems, just a way to cope with them.” Managing his emotions is something that the frontman is very familiar with doing, and it’s songwriting that allows him to control them. “I think there's a lot of the closure you get from writing songs, you have to go through what it is you're trying to convey.”

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It just shows we've never had a solution to these problems...

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He remembers being told a long time ago that it’s easy to write a sad song, but it takes a genius to write a happy song that isn’t crap. “It's difficult to fake it and it to be convincing. All the best songs are going to be about heartbreak or some sort of disaster that has happened in somebody's live. That's the most hard hitting and that's the one that's going to connect with the listener.”

‘I’ll Be Waiting’ is perhaps the most upbeat on the album. It shimmers with a summertime glow, with the surf rock guitars crashing below. Where the lyrics first read like a love song, they take a bittersweet turn and turn into howling declaration. Whilst ‘Pull Over (Now)’ bathes in a gentle melancholy reflection of a reckless night and turns into a swaying anthem of dissatisfaction.

“Sadness is not necessarily a bad thing. I think that it's a healthy emotion to feel and that's why it's part of our repertoire.” Felix decides, “As much as we think it would be nice to be happy all the time, you'd go insane. You have to suffer those highs and lows to really appreciate what you've got in equal measure. There's something very cathartic and therapeutic about being upset and even crying, I think it's a very powerful tool that the body has in order to relieve itself of the things that it doesn't want. The human emotion is something that I find fascinating and we all have to grapple with it every day - dealing with our own anxieties and pressures. We're all quite fragile beings, you know? There's something quite beautiful about that.”

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You have to suffer those highs and lows to really appreciate what you've got...

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Each song is connected through the very core of Gengahr – the unfaltering falsetto, the lyrics that you urge your ears to strain and hear in order to decipher, the twinkling and intricate instrumentals that lay the foundation. Yet on this record, the band have undoubtedly pushed themselves. The title track is strikingly beautiful but toys with heartache, and ‘Rising Tides’ showcases the strength of each band member and their perfected craft with such intensity that you won’t ever forget it.

“We were trying to create new pathways and see where we could walk down and push ourselves to see where we could go. We were figuring out what kind of works and what doesn’t work quite so well. It’s a very ambitious album musically.” There’s a definite intrigue to the album, one where a single listen isn’t enough to properly digest it. In order to fully understand Where Wildness Grows you must delve in feet first and allow yourself to unlock the world where Gengahr exist in their purest form.

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'Where The Wildness Grows' will be released on March 9th.

Words: Tanyel Gumushan

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