Canadian Darkwave Indie Pop at It’s Best: Gelax Release Their Latest “Shhh” LP Gelax
Reviewed by Sam Lowry

Canadian Indie Pop band Gelax, the darkwave/post-punk group emerges from their hiatus with their latest album, “Shhh…,”

After navigating through a period of internal and external turbulence, Gelax, the darkwave/post-punk group, emerges from their hiatus with their latest album, "Shhh...," a testament to their resilience and artistic evolution. Consisting of singer-songwriter Gelareh and multi-instrumentalist Tareq, the Toronto-based duo has carved a niche for themselves with their amalgamation of darkwave, post-punk, indie rock, and electronic pop, coupled with their bold visuals and intricate lyrical themes. Since their initial breakthrough with a series of well-received singles and the acclaimed EP "Dreamonic" in 2021, Gelax has garnered attention from esteemed platforms like CBC Radio, Toronto Guardian, and A&R Factory. Fast forward to 2024, "Shhh..." serves as a reintroduction to Gelax, offering insight into the profound introspection and creative exploration that defined their absence. Inspired by the tumultuous events of the COVID-19 pandemic and global sociopolitical unrest, Gelareh and Tareq venture into darker sonic territories, navigating themes of cancel culture, freedom of thought and speech, and societal division. Lead single "Loki" serves as a poignant commentary on societal fragmentation and the distractions that obscure existential threats. As Gelax prepares to unveil their latest sonic opus, they remain steadfast in their commitment to authenticity, poised to make their most significant impact yet in the musical landscape.

Q: In your opinion, what are the essential qualities that make a “good songwriter”?
Hmmm. Loaded question. We don’t Whats someone else’s definition of good songwriting, but to us, our openness to explore new things and try different methods without fear of it sounding horrible, has helped us develop and grow a lot in the process. We never seem to have a plan of what it should sound like at the end or what genre it should be.

Q: What is the basis for writing attention-grabbing music in this day and age?
None of what we do probably haha. I mean is that the only reason to write songs? If it has unique sound, good structure , good simple melody, it’ll naturally grab the attention of the person that’s interested in that sound. But everyone’s taste is different.

Q: What has it been like working with an indie record label as opposed to working on your own?
A lot more guidance, direction , and encouragement. It takes a village for sure.

Q: Can you pinpoint some specific songs and songwriters that changed the way you write music?
Many many to count. But just off the top of our heads, The daily mail by Radiohead. The way that song goes into 3 totally different and opposite moods effortlessly without it feeling unsettled.
Patrick Watson from montreal also has lots of songs that have many colours and take you on an adventure with his textures on piano. He’s a hidden gem

Q: Do you find it hard to be inspired by artists that are younger than you, or are you motivated by their energy? Can you name any new artists you find inspiring?
Always. It seems there’s always someone out there trying to bring back the classics but out the modern generations twist on it, and it’s fantastic. Bands like Psychedelic porn crumpets, or Pond, G.U.M. , Sam fender, Anna Calvi. List goes on. It puts down to rest the argument that “ there’s no new good musicians/artists out there like in the past “. There’s plenty , you just gotta look harder through the endless digital ocean.

Q: For your new album, what inspired the lyrical content, album title, and overall vibe?
There were a bunch of things happening to both of us during the writing process that lent a darker moodier tone to the overall sound. Iranian Government brutal attacks on the citizens from which the Women life freedom revolts happens, affected Gelareh a lot. The bombardments of Israel ( which is happening again this year ) on Gaza , Tareq’s home town. The Covid after math on people’s psyche and the divisions amongst everyone over any topic. Add to that the rise PC culture and fear of voicing ones opinion.

Q: Do you find that you ruminate over writing songs and hold on to them for a long time before including them on a record? Or do you prefer to write them, release them, and be done with them? Do you ever re-visit old material to do a re-write or once it’s done it’s done?
It’s a mixed bag really. We’ve had songs that never made sense or fit the current mood that we’d use years after , and others where we just include as is cause by some miracle , it just formed quickly on its own. But that’s rare

Q: Were there any lessons you learned in the writing and recording process for your current release that you will take with you into your next project?
Less is more. Trying different instruments. And it’s always closer to the heart to write what you feel like during the moment rather than sugar coating , even if it means most people won’t understand or like it. The process has to be therapeutic as well for us.

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