I’D RATHER BE IN A BAND THAT SOUNDS LIKE NOBODY THAN TAKE THE EASY ROUTE AND SOUND LIKE SOMEBODY ELSE -Gabriel Perry
Article by Jay Meridian
Photography by Joshua Fitzwater
Gabriel Perry brings hypnotic and brutal solo-act Hindu Pez back to the stage with Gutter Gloss this fall to get us in touch with our inner rage. A mainstay of the Coastal Virginian music scene since 2004, his creative endeavors include [0PT-0UT], We Never Sleep, and Deathouse Blues. Perry has also served as a guitarist with Heretics in the Lab, and toured with Baltimore’s Red This Ever to cover for guitarist Ilker Yücel—with no formal rehearsals prior to taking the stage. After this fall Perry plans to take Hindu Pez on a national tour of the southeast.
In the meantime, Gabriel Perry just finished a fifteen-hour workday. He is cruising around the lowlight backrooms of Norfolk’s Taphouse Grill high-fiving regulars. He is full of energy. He tosses back slurps from a large dirty chai (he gave up alcohol in 2013), and offers cash to those curious about that jukebox thing in the corner. Working at The Norfolk Taphouse is just one of his jobs.
“I know a lot of practical day jobs to keep myself fed, but music is what I know; I know how to make music. It’s my Irish birthright, and we’re stubborn people.” After a moment he adds: “But I don’t drink, anymore. I wasted a lot of years being wasted.”
The product of a small hometown with an Irish ancestry, Perry picked up his first guitar at age fourteen. Isolation and a natural creative aptitude for music formed the foundation for Perry’s later musical endeavors. His refined eclectic taste and simultaneous involvement in divergent projects are indicative of discipline and talent. Those are unique traits that set Perry’s work apart. “It’s an INTJ thing,” he shrugs.
Perry is a millennial with a strong work ethic and a vicious sense of humor. By the time others have adopted a do-it-yourself solution, Perry has usually already done it; ‘it’ generally referring to the entirety of his PR work and stage effects. That he has steadily continued to produce music through a tumultuous period for the industry, in a transient area funded by DOD dollars, is no small victory. It is testimony to the staying power of dedication and skill. In each of his ensembles, Perry unapologetically strives to produce an authentic energy, and most of all, to engage his crowd.
“I just want to do my own thing.”
“A saying that I try to apply to Hindu Pez is ‘Don’t push the envelope. Set it on fire.’ I try to keep pushing it. People should get a good show.” Perry will make good on that this fall when he takes to the stage.
Perry’s personal mission to “kill club music” began behind a mixer in the early 2000s as a response to the homogenous hum in his speakers. Back then, he was the fiery twenty-something DJ Who?, spinning club standards in the shadows of Club Hartz alongside DJ Vortex. It was with great discontent and unease in the booth that Perry experienced the derivative crisis in industrial music, and a troubling lack of club night and concert patronage.
In the next ten years we would all witness the rapid transformation in online media and music industry business law that would forever change the way consumers would encounter music. Communities shifted to online spaces. Club nights in Hampton Roads closed their doors. For local musicians, these changes assured that effective music e-marketing would always be a moving target, and that music would become a disposable commodity.
“It was like, ‘Welcome to the music business- here’s this train wreck,” says Perry. “The more people lose their attention spans the harder it is to get them to listen when there’s something new. I’d rather eat shit than to take the easy route and sound like someone else.”
The combination of stressors finally drove him to brew his own musical manifesto. In 2004, Hindu Pez was born. The pared-down solo project incorporates 90’s-style sampling, tribal trance, hardcore elements, and showcases music more than special effects. Recent additions to his discography include 2012’s Unsellable and Surgical Strike – The Best of Hindu Pez
Guided by a fierce punk sensibility, Perry most focused on engaging the crowd and giving them an exceptional experience. Each of his projects represent a drastic shift, as if the challenge of musical reinvention was his ultimate goal. He continues to investigate new styles and alternative genres to inform his work. [0PT-0UT]’s riveting, confrontational style completely diverges from the more traditional, guitar-driven melodies of Deathhouse Blues.
“You can’t put a price on the feeling when you perform” says Perry. Making the statement you want to make, whatever that statement is… it’s ‘magic.’ Corny word, but it’s true. There’s no drugs, booze, or sex that’s good enough. You feel untouchable. You feel like you just walked through bullets and couldn’t be touched.”
Overall, the vitality of the creative exchange is something Perry seeks to foster in his interaction with other musicians. It is a thing that takes time – something that our information-rich culture seems to have less of these days. He has no patience for unoriginal performances, and calls them like he sees them.
“I hate ‘goth karaoke.’ Why’s there always this keyboard on the stage no one is using? Stop lying to your audience! We all know you wrote this at home behind your computer.”
Some of the best moments in Perry’s career have occurred on tour with other notable forces of music. “It’s the little things,” Perry says. Of his meeting with Kristof of Bile, in Amityville: “No idea we both had a big love of The Who! I would love to play with Bile if I got the chance.”
Given the option, Perry would travel to New York to partake in the creative energy of the Northeastern industrial music scene. He would also appreciate the chance for Hindu Pez to share the stage with Karacell.
In Boston, on his first Red This Ever tour, the band found itself trapped in a hotel under four feet of snow. This convinced Perry never to tour in the winter again. “We dug out of our hotel, and I put my entire leg in a snow bank. I thought: ‘I’m going out [on tour] in the summer time! I’m done being bald and frozen!”
To date, the Gutter Gloss/ Opt-Out tour stands out in his memory. “The cake tour! Us, unleashing four crazy bastards on poor, innocent America. Matt McClure, crawling on the bar screaming in people’s faces ‘Come fight me!’”
So get ready for Pez.
The tour this fall is going to be exceptional, and different. When asked what we can expect, Perry presents his signature grin, and wanders over to the jukebox.
“It will be like a jackhammer in a china shop. I don’t want the crowd to have a sense at all, coming in. Not, ‘this is the part where the singer falls down, this is the part where the guitar player knocks his amp around.’ I want them to know who I am. I have more to offer now, and a stronger sense of focus and direction. It will be a better performance, a more intelligent show. It will be a jackhammer in a china shop. Something with some integrity and intelligence—and the word ‘fuck’ a lot.”
for more on Hindu Pez visit www.hindupez.com
757E Zine is a bi-monthly music, arts, and culture magazine dedicated to local musicians and artists who are not afraid to push boundaries. 757E Zine doesn't strive to be "safe" but rather in touch with what is new and unique in Hampton Roads music and art.
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