Gunnar Gehl fresh off the release of his first single ‘Ocean blue’ has been opening for the band PRETTYMUCH on their Funktion tour. Of his new single ‘Ocean Blue’ Gunnar says “The inspiration behind ocean blue was a moment I had walking past a girl, sharing a moment of looking at each other. The reason I wrote it was because I wish I would have turned around and said something. It’s something I believe everyone has gone through so it was really easy to write about.” GIGsoups Thomas Darro had the chance to sit down with Gunnar and attend the show at New York’s historic Irving Plaza.
So we have talked a little about tour, you have been on tour for three weeks now. Is this your first tour?
Yeah first tour…yeah its crazy! We’re doing 24 cities, and 22 shows over about a month and a half. We started in Seattle and came down through California across Texas, through Florida. Then went up the east coast and now we are in New York.
How would you describe tour? This being your first.
Umm its… have you ever been on a cruise ship? I guess like the easiest way to understand it is the days are so similar and they are just in different places. So like everyday I know that at 3 o’clock I’ve gotta be at the venue for soundcheck. By 6 o’clock ish I have to be back at the venue for the show and load in is always between like 10:00-11:30. So it’s like the same routine just in so many different places so you like do that whole thing, you go to bed, then you wake up somewhere new and do it all over again. But it’s fun being the artist because I have those times off so I can go explore each city a little bit.
Oh you have had some time to explore? Has there been a favorite place so far?
Oh yeah I make sure of that. I’m seventeen I have to make sure to enjoy it. I haven’t been to most of these places before but New York is just really cool because I mean it’s New York. Irving Plaza is a historic and amazing venue and I am excited for it tonight.
So I have read a lot of your interviews and of course listened to a lot of your music recently, you talk about trying to capture feelings and moments through your music. So I wanted to ask you about a time this tour where you have just said to yourself like “Wow I can’t believe I’m doing this, I can’t believe I’m here.” Something along those lines?
Yeah… it’s been every night to be honest with you. It’s one of those things where like I said it’s become a routine so I store these emotions kind of in the back. But there is this one part in every show or actually a couple parts in every show that are normally like wow moments for me. But I’d say consistently its when my song called ‘More than you know’ and everyone’s hands are going side to side up in the air with their flashlights. I do this guitar solo thing and then it’s like 4 – bars where I don’t have anything and I just look straight forward and look at everyone waving their phones. It’s one of those moments where i’m like “wow I’m actually doing this.”
So you mentioned that guitar solo in ‘More than you know’ you have been playing guitar since you were seven and you cite John Mayer as your biggest influence. Is it because of his work on guitar that draws you to him?
So no, I didn’t really put two and two together. When I was a kid maybe like six years old or probably a little older than that, I watched a video on my dads phone of “Bubble gum lips” John Mayer song and I didn’t know who John Mayer was or whatever it was just the first music video I had ever seen. So I would just watch it on repeat and repeat. I think that is where it kind of played a role when I heard that voice a little bit later on I was like “I know this voice. Who is this?” Then yeah I kind of got hooked on him a little bit later like right at the beginning of my teenage years when everyone is making that typical high school transition to rap and hip hop I was like blasting John Mayer. I just fell in love with his melodies and how articulate he is with his decision on what he plays, its crazy man.
Do you have a favor….?
‘Slow Dancing in a Burning Room’ that is the one song…the one song I don’t care what time of the day, how upset, no matter what the one song I hear that I can sing every word.
What can fans expect when they come see you in concert?
Energy. Um and I guess it comes back to the John Mayer thing is one of the things I learned and picked up from him and then made my own was to when it comes to my live show it’s all about music to me. It’s more of just a feeling to me. So from my shows you can see it is music that drives me and nothing really else. But we have a lot of fun, we bounce around, I pick some drum sticks up at one time, it’s a blast!
With this being your first tour and performing did your stage presence come sort of naturally?
Yeah that’s one of those things that I’m very fortunate that stage is like home for me. If that makes sense, so like I don’t really get scared…like obviously I get butterflies before the show because it means you care but like when it comes to when I step one foot out and people can see me it like switches from excitement and nerves and becomes gametime for me. It was really crazy because we have this great team behind me. So when we were at our first show in Seattle everyone was like at the edge of their seats like wondering if I was actually going to be able to do this. But when it’s live stage presence for me is not something I try to do but when I’m up there vibing out and am up there for the right reasons it comes off as good stage presence.
So what is next for Gunnar Gehl when you finish tour?
Yeah, it’s going to be depressing dude. I’m going to go home and be so bummed out that its over but also inspired to create something that gets me back out here for my own reasons. So i’d say when we get back i’ll be creating and writing music and getting music out there for people to hear and pick up on. Maybe do another tour with someone else and a tour of my own. I don’t know yet. One day at a time.
That new stuff do you think you’ll be releasing it as Singles, EP’s, Albums?
Yeah, I would probably say the next 4 or 5 songs are going to be singles and then when it comes to early next year in the spring time we’ll probably have an album by then.
Following the interview GIGsoup was at the show as Gunnar Gehl opened up for PRETTYMUCH. Gehl proved to be an act to look out for. From the second he took the stage following an intro audio track the crowd was glued and screaming for the seventeen year old Gunnar. On stage you would never think this is his first tour, each song building off each other and creating a true show on stage. His unreleased songs he performed were impressive and are definitely signs as whats to come. Gunnar Gehl is an act that deserves to have his own tour very shortly with his catchy songs with lyrics of things we have all experienced, as well as showing his talent on guitar with a solo that blew the crowd away.