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There is no frontier: CVLT Nation Interviews GUMM

Gumm is a hardcore punk band from Chattanooga, TN. The group has been on my radar since they released their 2018 EP Staring Through You, an aggressive, canorous collection of tracks. The quintet offers a grab-bag of familiar tropes many listeners would easily identify but rarely are seen together. Vocalist Drew Waldon’s bare all lyricism reads like an excavation, olde world memoirs barked through with the force of youth, while the guitarwork glides seamlessly between snotty hardcore punk a la Gag or Glue and the melodic overlays of Egg Hunt and Dag Nasty. After hearing the most recent single “No Frontier,” I decided to touch base with the band to learn more.

Tell me about the members of Gumm, and how you all met. 

Gumm consists of: 

Drew – Vocals 

Dylan – Guitar 

Harrison – Drums 

Phil – Bass 

Dylan: We all met through the local music scene in Chattanooga, TN. Phil and Drew have been friends for a long time and played in many bands together over the years. Prior to Gumm, our old bands were playing together here and there and we all got along well and had similar influences. We started playing together in March 2018 and have been kickin’ it ever since! 

When and how did you get introduced to punk and hardcore? 

Drew: Phil and I met in middle school, at a homeschool co-op, and we were definitely the oddballs of our class. We were watching jackass and getting into skateboarding when most of our friends’ parents wouldn’t allow them to, both of which served as sources for us to find new music that we wouldn’t have found otherwise. At that age, we didn’t even know what we were looking for – we just gravitated toward anything aggressive or energetic. I personally wasn’t allowed to listen to any music that wasn’t Christian, so I wasn’t allowed to own any of the records introduced to me through Skate videos or magazines or anything. I found my way in through MXPX, being that they were on a Christian label, and from the liner notes of their records I found out about Rancid. I would sneak-listen to them and The Casualities and stuff like that until high school when my parents finally got less strict about monitoring the stuff I listened to. Around that time, Phil had done some internet digging and introduced me to Minor Threat. That’s where the deep-dive into hardcore began. 

The pandemic had a substantial effect on the music scene where I come from, was it the same in the American South? Tell us about the music scene in Chattanooga, pre and post-pandemic. 

Dylan: Yeah, it’s been a crazy almost two years navigating the pandemic. We were definitely curious to see what the scene would be like when shows resumed in the late summer/fall in terms of what bands would still be around and what the crowd would be like. A few bands in our area called it quits, but the scene now seems to be more alive than ever. 

Prior to COVID, our shows in Chatt were picking up a lot with cool tour packages coming through and a lot of kids coming out and participating and that’s only seemed to continue. Phil promotes shows in Chattanooga under the name Tbone Presents and Drew books some shows as well, and we’re fortunate to be able to bring lots of cool bands through town. We’ve been joking that it’s the hardcore renaissance, but it might be true. Every band we’ve seen, locally and on the road, is playing tighter than ever, there’s tons of new punk and hardcore kids, and people are going off for all the bands! 

Phil: A few months into the initial pandemic lockdown, I was worried we would lose all the momentum we had built pre-pandemic. Our first show back in town was absolutely crazy, and the first hardcore show back in town was the best turnout I had seen in years. There seems to be a new generation of younger folks who maybe discovered hardcore over the pandemic who are rabid and ready to come out to everything. 

It seems that you pull from a range of different subgenres, but I mostly hear influence from hardcore punk and Dischord era emo. What are some of the most influential bands for you? 

There’s a pretty wide range of influences between the four of us but we’ll list some personal favorites below. 

Dylan: I love the influx of amazing HC/punk happening right now with labels like 11pm and Convulse. I also like a lot of NYHC, death metal, and more post-punk stuff. Lungfish, Snapcase, 108, Inside Out, Big Bite, Dead in the Dirt, Diztort, Fugazi, Sonic Youth, and mewithoutYou are some favorites, old and new. There’s a million more, but those are a few that came to mind that have had an influence and led me to discover most of the music I love. 

Drew: The Dischord reference is something we get a lot, and it’s very accurate. All my favorite shit is from that middle Dischord era – One Last Wish, Rites of Spring, Embrace, obviously Fugazi, etc. I love a lot of the classic NYHC bands, too, and most of the modern hardcore that’s been coming out the past few years. We all also like a lot of hip hop, jazz, outlaw country, and instrumental music; I’m not sure if any of those come through when listening to Gumm, but it’s in the mix, if only subliminally. 

Phil: I feel like Gumm is the exact product you get when you merge all four of our tastes together. There is such a wide range of bands it’s hard for me to start naming them, but just know the playlist in the van can get a bit unhinged. One second it’s Merle Haggard then with no transition it’s Morbid Angel. 

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I hear you’re working on new music. What can we expect from the new material? Touring plans? 

Dylan: We have a full-length record that is currently being mixed and mastered. We’re hoping to have that out in the early spring, but we don’t have too many details for that yet. We self-released a new single called No Frontier about a month ago that we’re very excited about. The album will have a new version of that song on it! 

Drew: I feel like this new record is Gumm fully realized. It’s the most dynamic collection of songs we’ve put together, but also feels cohesive. Lots of different influences blended together to make something fairly unique.

We will definitely be touring as much as possible over the next year. Details will be announced soon, but we’ve got a few tours coming up in early 2022 with some awesome bands like MSPaint, Pummel, and Strangle You to name a few. 

Phil: I am very proud of this new record and can’t wait for everyone to hear it. All of these songs were written over the pandemic, and none of them were written with haste. We worked and reworked and reworked every single one of them until we felt like they were the best they could be. 

What are some current bands from your area that you’d recommend? 

There’s a lot of cool bands in Chattanooga and the surrounding area. A couple of bands from Chattanooga specifically to check out are Lack of Control, Psychic Dungeon, Hard Way Out, Planet Terrestrial, and Quincey. All of those bands should have music out in the near future. 

As far as other bands from our region that you have to know about: Hanging Moon, Sinai Vessel, Chamber, Thirdface, Yautja, and Thief’s Hand are all amazing Tennessee bands. Heel Turn from Alabama is awesome. Also, be sure to check out First Day Out, Tsuris, Strangle You, Living in Fear, King of Summer, and Satisfied from Atlanta. 

The last words are yours. 

Thank you so much for reaching out. It means a lot! Don’t sleep on bands from the south.

Written By

Matthew Green is a musician originally from a suburb of NYC, currently living in Johnson City, TN. He plays in Drïll Sergeant, Stud Count and Academy Order.

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