Jersey Based Band Tour West To Rock New Fans


Gates play the Chain Reaction Nov. 26

Gates is a New Jersey based 5-person rock band that formed in 2010 in New Brunswick, NJ. Gates will be performing at The Chain Reaction in Anaheim on Nov. 26

The band released their latest record, Bloom & Breathe, which was produced by Mike Watts. The band melds beautiful sweeping atmospheric, post-rock riffs with strong alternative rock choruses and verses for an intense listening experience. The band has toured with acts like Prawn, Gifts from Enola, Frameworks, Have Mercy and The Gaslight Anthem to name a few.

The band originally formed while guitarist Dan King, bassist Mike Maroney and drummer Daniel Crapanzano were playing in a previous band and decided they wanted to start a new project in 2011. Eventually they hooked up with guitarist Ethan Koozer—who had moved to New Jersey from Nebraska—and guitarist/vocalist Kevin Dye, who had recently relocated to the East coast from Michigan.

The OC Concert Guide had the opportunity to chat with Gates’ guitarist Dan King about their title origin, latest record and working with producer Mike Watts.

OCCG: Why did you decide to call yourselves Gates? What’s the meaning behind it?
Dan King: The name “Gates” was considered alongside a graphic identity for the band. We knew we wanted something simplistic, and open to interpretation, so I created a typographic/ logo treatment that I felt would convey exactly that. We work on maintaining cohesive visual output throughout the band’s progression and the original concept of Gates set in Caslon became a platform for that we continue to expand on.

OCCG: What do you want for your fans to gain out of your latest record Bloom & Breathe?
Kevin Dye: This isn’t something we ever really thought about before, but ultimately we hope that listeners enjoy the record and are able to take away something from it. We make the music out of our own need and desire to do so, and so how people are going to react to it is the last thing you think about, when the record is finished and you’re ready to release it. We’ve had a lot of extremely positive things said to us about Bloom & Breathe and it’s incredible to see people feeling so strongly about something we spent so long on and put so much of ourselves into.

OCCG: What’s the significance behind the title, Bloom & Breathe?
Kevin Dye: The album title, like our previous album titles, changes meaning depending on context. In the song “Bloom,” the lyric is referencing accepting failure, and as the album title, it tends to sound more hopeful or echo the sentiment in the final track, “Again at the Beginning.” I think this duality was important to highlight. We all live a life, no matter how long or short, and we all grow from experience, whether positive or negative. This is often driven by the choices we make, and Bloom & Breathe is mainly about grappling with the reality of that fact.

OCCG: How did you know that music is what you wanted to ultimately pursue as a career?
Kevin Dye: We’ve all been playing music for many years, and as we’ve progressed more and more opportunities have arisen. We’ve been fortunate enough to have jobs that have allowed us to pursue these opportunities thus far. That being said, it’s been our passion for the music and the art itself that’s pushed us forward and not the potential for this to be a career for us. As long as we can continue to strike the balance we have now, we’ll continue to be as active as we are. Of course, in the future if we had the chance to play music full time, we absolutely would, but I don’t think any of us expect it.

OCCG: Where in the world would you want to tour and perform that you have not yet?
Ethan Koozer: We would love to tour the Pacific Rim and Japan.

OCCG: If you could choose anyone to collaborate with, who it would be with and why?
Kevin Dye: The band, Vasudeva, are some of our closest friends and we’ve been throwing around the idea to do a collaborative effort with them for quite some time. Doing a split record where we work together on a track or two would be really fun, and we’ve even talked about filming the entire thing as I think it would be an interesting process.

OCCG: How did you enjoy working with producer Mike Watts?
Kevin Dye: I’ve been a fan of Mike’s work since I started studying audio engineering in college. He was one of the reasons I got into the field. Working alongside him on a record was an awesome experience, and we all learned a lot from the process. Having someone there who you trust and can objectively judge the music is such an important part of making a record, and Mike was that person for us. He went above and beyond to make sure the record was exactly how we all wanted it to be.

OCCG: What was it like touring with acts from Prawn to Gifts from Enola to Frameworks to Have Mercy and The Gaslight Anthem?
Dan King: The guys in Gifts From Enola were the first friends we made on our very first tour. A year later we ended up doing a run with them which went really well, seeing them shred on their instruments every night was such an inspiration. Unfortunately they are no longer playing, but they had us play their final show, which we were incredibly honored to be a part of.

Prawn are our buddies from Jersey, we’ve known them for years and played with them in the NJ/NY a bunch of times. Touring with them was such a good time, those kids can rage and we love their music. We got some good wallball games going until their drummer Jamie threw the ball onto the roof of the venue.

We met Frameworks on our tour with them and Tiny Moving Parts. This was our first full US tour so we got to hang and get to know them while traveling all over the country. They joined us on the recent tour with Pianos Become the Teeth, which was a lineup we were extremely excited to be a part of. The shows were awesome and it is definitely one of our favorite tours that we’ve done. Frameworks is the band that we’ve toured with the most to date, those guys are our brothers and we can’t to meet up with them on the road again.
We recently toured with Have Mercy and Pentimento and the vibes were great the entire run. The tour package was awesome and we really had a good time not only playing shows together, also hanging out in between. We all had new albums in the works and showing each other early mixes/demos was really sweet.

The Gaslight Anthem are good friends of ours and touring with them was an incredible experience. Being a band from New Jersey, we just have so much respect for what they do and how much work they put into creating music. Mike and I actually play in a hardcore band called “Bottomfeeder” with their drummer Benny, which Kevin is producing at Vudu Studios.

OCCG: What are you most looking forward to your show at Chain Reaction on Nov. 26 in Anaheim?
Kevin Dye: I remember watching a lot of live videos when I was younger of some of my favorite bands playing sets at Chain Reaction, so I think it’ll be really cool to finally get to play there myself. We’ve also never played in Anaheim and it’s always awesome playing somewhere new and not knowing what to expect.

OCCG: Where do you see yourselves down the line with your music career? Where do you hope to be?
Kevin Dye: I just hope to be making music in some capacity for as long as I’m conscious, and to have the same passion about it the day I leave this world as I did the first time I picked up a guitar. I’ve definitely had my moments with music; we’ve had our disagreements. It’s a tough love and it’s very one sided, sometimes you feel like you’re putting everything you have into it and you’re not quite getting that back in return. Stepping back, I’m not sure anyone can even define what a “music career” will even be in five or ten years. I personally choose not to think about that as often as possible, and to really take every opportunity we get and cherish it. Even the most successful musicians rarely get to proceed in this capacity forever. I’m just grateful for every day I get to do what I love, from touring the country down to sitting in my room with an acoustic.