It only took Gentlemen Hall about five years to make it to the Grammys.
Granted, the six Berklee alums weren’t nominated for any awards. They weren’t physically present at the ceremony. They weren’t even in the same time zone. Preoccupied with the recording of a forthcoming, hotly anticipated EP, they hadn’t even bothered to watch the show. Right up until their friends starting sending them a slew of congratulatory texts, Gentlemen Hall assumed that they had nothing at all to do with the 2013 Grammys.
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Flash back to months prior, when Target approached the synth-favoring band about licensing their high-flyin’, mildly psychedelic pop jam, “Sail Into the Sun.” Gentlemen Hall gave the big box titan their consent, and then, with only a vague timeframe for when to expect the commercial to appear, they just sort of... forgot about it. So, while “Sail into the Sun” was making its national television debut — in a big way — its authors remained oblivious.
“We had no idea it was on TV at this point,” recalls vocalist Gavin Merlot, dropping a line from Brighton Center. “All of our phones started buzzing like crazy, to the point where they were, like, freezing up and locking up. “Finally they cooled down, we could read the messages, and we said, ‘Oh s—, our song just aired on the Grammys.’”
Not that these globetrotting, festival regulars — who will appear on one of their most star-studded (and incongruent) bills yet alongside Hall and Oates and the Roots at the Life Is Good fest in a couple of weekends — haven’t experienced their share of awards and big ticket cross-promotions. In what turned out to be the longtime alt-weekly's final Best Music Poll, the (now defunct) Boston Phoenix readers voted Gentlemen Hall the best hometown band of 2012. Local Ben & Jerry’s shops named a signature, lemon sorbet smoothie in Gentlemen Hall’s honor. But they were still psyched to hear about this most recent accolade.
”It’s a really good feeling when you’re in the studio making new music, and you’re in a somewhat local band, but you can say, ‘Well, this music will probably get heard.’ [That] is something you question all the time when you’re in a band,” says Merlot.
Before too long, the follow-up to 2011’s dazzler of an EP, "When We All Disappear," should be heard quite a bit. In the meantime, those following Gentlemen Hall on social media can expect temporary streaming access to preliminary mixes. The latest of those as of this interview, “Satellite,” melds piano balladry with a downtempo, synthed-out and sexified chorus.
“Because of the limitations of starting out in a band, a lot of the time you’re [recording] on laptops, without the capabilities to record a full band,” explains Merlot. “The sound on this next release will be a bigger, full-band synergy.”
If this pending collection of jams does, in fact, echo a six-person ensemble more distinctly than the sprawling electro-rock scenery on 'When We All Disappear,' we’re expecting a whole lot of magnetic pop euphoria.
So, even if fans can’t make it out to Canton for Life is Good on Saturday, it appears they still have plenty of sonic goodness to look forward to.
Life is Good Festival
5 Blue Hill River Rd., Canton
$65; $120 weekend pass