Gulfer & Charmer Do a Split
Thanks for checking in on our features, we hope the supplementary content is fun and helps you feel a little closer to the music you love. Today we've got an interview with members of Montreal's Gulfer and Michigan's Charmer, "two of the emo scene's shining stars" accoring to Uproxx. Despite never having met in real life, these two wonderful bands found a way to channel their admiration for each other and their own collaborative spirits into one stellar split. "Look" and "Diamond (Sprinkler)" are both available to hear and purchase now on all platforms, including Bandcamp. I asked the bands to reflect a little on what splits mean to them and to the punk/DIY community below, enjoy!
Mack: What are some of your favorite splits to return to?
David (Gulfer): My favourite split that I own is the Mercury Program/Maserati split. Some honourable mentions would be Weatherbox/Sainthood Reps, Suffix/Beau Navire, Strange Mangers/Trashlord, I Kill Giants/Sinatra, Annabel/Empire! Empire!/The Reptilian/Joie de Vivre, Portrayal of Guilt/Slow Fire Pistol, Spencer Radcliffe/RL Kelly, Pennines/TTNG, Caravels/Octaves…as someone who came up in a peak era of splits, I feel like I could go on forever, haha.
Joey (Gulfer): Jimmy Eat World/Mineral, Loma Prieta/Raein, Blithe Field/Ricky Eat Acid. Modest Mouse/764 Hero
Vince (Gulfer): Everyone Everywhere/Into It. Over It.
Dave (Charmer): I unfortunately sold off a majority of physical releases a couple years ago so I don’t have any on hand. Name Taken/Bayside is my favourite split.
Mack: What do you think is special about the idea of a split? What makes them exciting to you as a musician and as a listener?
Joey: One of my favourite things about splits is their “hidden gem” factor. Sometimes a band you love will have a split that you discover after you thought you knew all their songs. Those moments can be really exciting as a music fan.
Dave: I used to find so many artists in the mid 2000s through splits my favourite artists were on. Splits are the original related artists tab, it’s unfortunate modern convenience has killed this concept.
Vince: The whole idea of finding a band because another band you like has some kind of connection with them is a cool way to get your hands on new music. When I first got familiar with labels like Topshelf and Count Your Lucky Stars, I would always make sure to check the splits they would put out. It was a cool insight into what was happening in the scene in the States at the time - what bands were interacting with each other and who was supporting who.
David: To expand a bit on Vince’s point, I think there is something really special about discovering a new band based on a band you already like vouching for another band you may not already have heard of. This happened to me recently with the Portrayal of Guilt/Slow Fire Pistol split that came out last year - I was a huge POG fan but had never heard of SFP and now they are one of my favourite heavier bands. I also love the idea of a split like the World Is/Self Defense/Code Orange/Tigers Jaw that happened a few years back, four pretty different bands who were all breaking interesting ground coming together to document the state of the scene around that time. I’m sure it hipped a few people who were leaning towards one side of the scene to stuff that was happening on a different side, and while we’re pretty similar sounding to Charmer, hopefully this split can also maybe bridge a gap or two as well. I know we’ve definitely had been sleeping on some younger bands and hopefully some of Charmer’s fans will discover us too!
Mack: How did Gulfer & Charmer come to collaborate on this project?
Dave (Charmer): We were sitting on a song and I wanted to release it in a more special way than just putting out a single. I’m personally a big fan of Gulfer and they were the first band I reached out to.
David (Gulfer): I admittedly had not really checked out Chamer prior to Ivy dropping, but in a covid-induced frenzy of investigating a bunch of newer bands, that record hit super hard. I’d been in a phase of pop-punk influenced emo bands like Free Throw and Hot Mulligan, and Charmer hit that exact spot for me. I remember tweeting at them a bunch around that time and was stoked to see that they were already following us. A few months later Dave hit our DMs saying they had a track they were sitting on and asked if we had any b-sides from our S/T record lying around, which we didn’t, but we were so excited about the prospect of a split that we started tracking for it a few weeks later. Thanks for sitting on the track for an extra 6 months Charmer!
Mack: What do splits represent for you or unlock for you as a musician that an EP or an LP doesn't?
Dave: Some splits don’t have the same magic as others but when they’re done with consistent production and solid songwriting it keeps me engaged longer as a listener.
Vince: Similar to Charmer’s situation, Look is a song Joey wrote in the Dog Bless era that didn’t quite fit on S/T. For whatever reason, we decided to resurrect it and we thought it would be perfect for this split. Splits can be a cool way to transition from release to release, either reflecting the last bit of material from a previous era, or teasing a stylistic change to come.
Mack: Do you see this format coming back into style now after seemingly falling to the wayside for the last handful of years?
David: I think it will, but maybe in a slightly different way. Unfortunately it seems like the logistics of the record industry are a little tricky right now, so the glory days of the split 7” may unfortunately be behind us, at least for a bit, but I can see the digital split taking off. I think, in our world at least, it also has a lot to do with how strong the communal aspect of the scene is. One reason for a dip in splits over the last few years might have something to do with the gap between emo waves - but in the few years that this new school of bands has been around, we’ve already seen legendary splits from Shin Guard/For Your Health and Dogleg/Worst Party Ever, and the Oolong/Dannythestreet/Arcadia Grey/Guitar Fight from Fooly Cooly split was also hella promising for the format. I think there is something really wholesome and fun about a split and I hope they stay strong throughout this generation of the scene but either way, we may or may not have plans for another one soon....
Dave: I sure hope so. I purchased a lot of splits that were exclusive to specific tours and nothing has really replicated that experience.
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