Gam Solub is one of Tufts’ up-and-coming bands, and with a new EP on the horizon, they only seem to be gathering steam. Recently, I had the pleasure of sitting down with three of Gam Solub’s members to discuss their band’s inception, their experiences thus far, and their plans for the future.
When I asked guitar player Sam Golub where we should conduct the interview, he led me right to the heart of their music: the Wren 240s. By 5pm, I had a camera set up in one of their dorm rooms, and I was preparing to sit on a carpet with three band members and my cozy socks. The setting felt strange for an interview, but very connected to Gam Solub’s essence. The band is, at its core, just guys bein’ dudes. They constantly hang out together in non-musical contexts, they have fun, they roll deep at parties. They are clearly good friends. Seeing such organic musical camaraderie from the outside is really refreshing, and it makes me excited about their prospects for the future.
Over the course of the next 10 minutes, bandmates Ethan Isenman, Sam Golub, and Tim Holt casually explained Gam Solub’s origins to me. They met each other individually, with Tim and Sam knowing each other from high school in New Jersey. Their story reminded me of Sam and Ethan jamming together during the Hillel freshman retreat last year. I also learned the significance of the Wren 240s, which acts as a rehearsal space in addition to living quarters. I was curious: did this informal approach to rehearsing affected their sound? I went to one of their frequent on-campus shows to find out for myself.
This show took place at Theta Chi, off Packard Ave. The venue was, in a word, cozy. Theta Chi’s basement features a low ceiling, and can maybe accommodate 35 comfortably. One corner of the room was dedicated to food and drinks, provided by Tufts Dance Marathon, and the other was dedicated to the performers. This setup eliminated the boundaries between performer and audience. One could easily stand inches from the musicians if they wanted to. Although the small size of the room had me worried about the acoustics, it was a photographer’s dream.
After a short set from Oakland, the opening act, Gam Solub took the “stage”. The audience numbered relatively few, but it seemed like they all knew the band. Everyone warmed up to their tunes in no time, and band members exchanged little quips with various audience members in between songs. All of the band members certainly know how to have fun. During one tune, I crouched down in front of Ethan and Sam, who were playing their respective guitars. Ethan noticed what I was doing and smiled a big, cheesy smile right into the camera. My ensuing laughter impeded my photography and I had to take a break.
Musically, it was clear that the band rehearses very often. As they played a combination of both covers and originals, they worked with such unity that they were able to switch up sections of tunes with no prior planning, to great effect. In the middle of one song, pianist Nate Hirsch turned to his bandmates and said “I’m going to take a piano solo”. The others then ceased playing 4 beats before the start of the form so Nate could have a dramatic piano entrance. It went off without a hitch and the crowd went nuts. Being able to execute something like that off the cuff demonstrates a deep bond, deeper than one between musicians. It was clear to me that their friendship and their cohabitation prepared them for all kinds of impromptu antics. Check out our interview with the band here: