Regional musicians converge into Gayngs

Hot-shot indie stars from the Twin Cities and Eau Claire have readied a LP, planned a big First. Ave. bash.

Yeah, that’s P.O.S. and the gayng splashing in the pool. For more on the artist, see our profile of Michael Gaughan.
PHOTO COURTESY MICHAEL GAUGHAN

Yeah, that’s P.O.S. and the gayng splashing in the pool. For more on the artist, see our profile of Michael Gaughan. PHOTO COURTESY MICHAEL GAUGHAN

Jay Boller

For a band that no one has heard, Gayngs (pronounced âÄúgangsâÄù) is getting plenty of press, locally and nationally. Even Pitchfork has posted their upcoming track list. So what is Gayngs? âÄúItâÄôs definitely not a super-group,âÄù said architect of Gayngs Ryan Olson (Mel Gibson and the Pants, Building Better Bombs ). âÄúItâÄôs maybe a mega-group, if anything.âÄù Semantics aside, the recently unveiled 20-plus-member band has a lot of people, a lot of regional talent and a somewhat iffy genre: soft rock. On paper, Gayngs sounds like scenester catnip, a convergence of Twin Cities (Doomtree, Solid Gold, Lookbook, ect.) and Eau Claire (Bon Iver, Megafaun, ect.) staples. But other than heaps of upper-Midwest indie rockers, thereâÄôs more to the concept of this band. âÄúMe, Adam and Zach of Solid Gold just wanted to start writing some soft rock jams,âÄù Olson said, citing tongue-in-cheek âÄô70s softies 10ccâÄôs 1975 opus âÄúIâÄôm Not in LoveâÄù as their inspirational wellspring. Soft rock may conjure images of dentist chairs more so than punk clubs, but the cast was onboard. âÄúI think my favorite part about it is the taboos we were all taught not to do became totally accepted and celebrated in Gayngs,âÄù said Brad Cook of North Carolina-via-Eau Claire rockers Megafaun. The ironic vs. earnest jury on Gayngs may never return with a verdict, so itâÄôs best to take them at face value: cool musicians making indulgent tunes. Motives aside, the group is drumming up considerable local press, coming as a surpise to Olson. âÄúIt wasnâÄôt supposed to be âÄòBon Iver!âÄô and [expletive] âÄòP.O.S.!âÄô and all these folks,âÄù Olson said, downplaying the recording process to old friends simply hanging out. GayngâÄôs debut LP, âÄúRelaytedâÄù was recorded in just a day at Nate and Justin (Bon Iver) VernonâÄôs home studio and is slotted for a May 11 release. The project possessed just one rule: the tempo must remain at 69 BPM, Olson said. With a standard 4/4 pop beat clocking in at 120 BPM, the Gayngs vibe is decidedly laid back. âÄúI grew up on a lot of really sexy, flow rock,âÄù said Gayngs participant Channy Casselle (Roma Di Luna), pointing out thatâÄôs exactly what the troupe was shooting for. ThereâÄôs a certain upper-Midwest sense of pride among Gayngs participants, Cook said. With the players having mingled in familiar rock circles for over a decade, he gushed at the fact they were all able to come together, albeit briefly, to work on something together. On May 14 the cavalcade of Gayngs players will pack First AvenueâÄôs stage for a prom-themed gig, quite a daunting task given their numbers. Will they manage to coalesce? What say you, Brad Cook? âÄúYour guess is as good as mine.âÄù Channy Casselle? âÄúI canâÄôt even imagine.âÄù Understandable, but Ryan Olson is unwaveringly confident and cool. âÄúI think I got it,âÄù he said. Whether super cool, mega kitschy or both, Gayngs has shifted the local discourse. In the oughts, Craig Finn warned of slipping soft rock into the set list, but nowadays the buzz-worthy Gayngs will have no trouble slipping bodies into First Avenue.