In Session: Nick Kossor and Sean Murphy of Gozer

ALBANY – Pounding their way into the local scene with their debut record, The Far Realm, released on March 18th is hard rock band, Gozer. There’s something to be said about having the ability to craft riff-after-compelling-riff, and Gozer demonstrates that time and again all over their album.

I had a chance to sit down with Nick Kossor and Sean Murphy of Gozer this past week, and what follows is our conversation in which we discuss the album, stylistic choices, and more!

Lucas Garrett: Thanks for sitting down tonight. Congratulations on the new record!

Nick Kossor: Thanks for taking the time to sit down with us. The album dropped on March 18th and we’re really excited about it. We’ve been sitting on it so long; life happens, but it’s out there and we’re really happy with it. Thanks for taking the time to give it a listen!

LG: Why don’t the two of you introduce yourselves and tell us what you do in the band.

Sean Murphy: My name’s Sean. I play bass and I do backing vocals. I do guitar work in the studio, too. Live, it’s all bass and vocals.

NK: Sean’s one of those multi-talented jerks who’s good at everything musically.

[everyone laughs]

NK: My name is Nick Kossor and I play guitar.

LG: Now, Sean, when I was listening to the new album, you’re hitting that bass pretty damned hard!

SM: Hahahaha.

LG: I want to hear how you approach the bass.

SM: That’s a good question. Especially with this style of music we do – when you play heavier rock music – you really need to be able to cut through a lot. Otherwise, you get lost pretty quick in recordings, especially live. I’ve always taken pride in the tone I have. That specific album is all done on a Specter bass and a Dark Glass distortion pedal. The combination of those two things, along with Tim Lynch working his magic… it sounds great. It really pops, especially on “Weight of the World.” For whatever reason, it pops out a lot on that track.

LG: It’s very impressive.

SM: Thank you!

LG: The whole album has pounding bass. I was thinking that you must have forearms the size of I don’t know what!

SM: That’s what I like to hear! That’s something I take a lot of pride in establishing a good tone and sound. In what we do, nobody cares if I can play crazy, virtuoso stuff on bass because it doesn’t have a place. So, I put my emphasis more on sound and really cutting through. And not trying to play too much. When you’re trying to be too busy, it isn’t what serves the song best.

NK: Well said, dude.

LG: Right, it’s not about how many notes. It’s how you play the notes that matter.

NK: Agreed.

LG: The album is only eight songs long, but I think any more than that would’ve been too much. I don’t mean that in a bad way. Not all genres are meant to listen to for hours on end. After eight songs, I was like, “That was amazing.” It was the perfect length.

SM: I often make the joke that it’s a “new album,” but it’s not new to us because we’ve largely been playing these songs for the better part of a year. But it was getting it to that final, polished form so people could hear it. I’ve already been bugging the other guys because I’m five or six demos deep for the next record.

LG: The other thing I really liked is that a lot of times, when you hear “hard-rock” or “heavy-rock,” it’ll sound great until you get to the solo. Then, it’s like everyone wants to see how many notes they can play. What I like about you guys is that you don’t do that. There aren’t “gratuitous notes” in the album. A lot of bands in that genre tend to fall into that trap.

NK: Appreciate that, man.

LG: You reminded me a lot of Mastodon, honestly.

SM: That’s good company!

NK: We’ll take it, haha.

SM: That goes back to two points there, involving guitar solos. Neither Nick nor I are probably good enough to shove that many notes into a solo. And the second thing is serving the song. If it doesn’t work, then it’s not going to sound good. It’s all about what serves the song best.

NK: To piggyback off that, one of my favorite bands, in terms of guitar work, is Black Sabbath. Everyone who’s into stoner rock, or hard rock, or heavy psych… Sabbath started that whole thing. You could argue Deep Purple, but… a lot of my guitar playing is styled off Tony Iommi. He’s the god of that realm! He wasn’t very virtuoso, but he made awesome riffs that were short and cut to the point. They cut to the chase.

LG: I’d like to learn more about your band. How’d it all begin? What can we expect from you in the future?

SM: So, it kind of started… I don’t even know how many years ago, Nick?

NK: I think you and I started jamming in 2017 or 2018.

SM: I hadn’t played in a band in a couple of years. Nick had begun playing with a great drummer, Mark Podbielski, and they were jamming on some ideas for stoner rock-type stuff. I’d either asked for a demo or you sent me along something. I thought, “Huh, that’s cool,” and I wrote a bass part. Then, the next thing you know, the three of us were at Nick’s old place trying to build stuff. Nick and I have been the only constant since then; Mark moved away. With this current line-up, we’ve played more this past year than we have in the last four years before that.

We found the right people, and everything clicked. We started to get momentum. For a long time, it was very much spinning our wheels: trying to work on stuff, different people in and out, never getting the momentum we wanted. Once we had it, we just started moving from there.

NK: It’s tough finding a group of people that can both make the time – we all have our nine-to-fives; all of us have stuff going on. It’s great we have a group of people that have and want to make the time. Quick shoutout to Seth Maset, a drummer of ours that helped us get to where we are now. Thanks, Seth! He has a band called Rasp that is hard rock and doom-ish. Definitely check out Rasp; they’re good stuff.

SM: It’s not even about talent; sometimes you can run into people that are extremely talented, but it’s not a good personality fit, or other things come up.

NK: For sure, it’s a miracle that bands that’ve been together for ten-plus years. it’s a miracle they can keep that going. Lucas, how long have you been playing with the people in your current line-up?

LG: Kevin Kosach, my bassist, has been with me for about seven years now. He’s a hell of a guy. No one understands what I’m doing more than he does.

NK: That’s awesome!

LG: Where can we see you guys out and about?

NK: We have one or two gigs a month from now all the way to June. On March 31st, we’ll be at Pauly’s Hotel with Indus Valley Kings – a great group coming up from the south.

SM: Also playing are 30 Second Men and Shadow Estate.

NK: Then, on April 27th, we’re back at Pauly’s Hotel, opening for a band from the city, Makes My Blood Dance. That’ll be a cool show. On May 27th, we’re playing with Ike’s Wasted World at the King’s Inn in Schenectady. That’ll be a killer rocking show. All of them will be a lot of fun, but the show in May will be a rad, wasted, fun time. The last one we have coming up is in Clifton Park at SingleCut North with our friends, Black Tongue Reverend. They have a killer rock sound – I love their sound. That show will be on June 3rd.

LG: SingleCut is great. I loved playing there. They treat people super well, and do right by folks.

NK: Speaking of doing right by people, I gotta give a shoutout to Desperate Annie’s!

SM: The guys at Super Dark do a nice job getting shows. It’s crazy, especially up in Saratoga on a Monday night; you wouldn’t think there’s anything. We’ve done Super Dark twice, and both times the bar’s been full.

NK: Thank you, Shane and Chris, for doing what you do! You’re awesome.

LG: So, I gotta ask, where the hell did the name Gozer come from?

NK: Hahaha. We were kicking around band names in my attic in Schenectady. We were tossing around the idea of… we didn’t know what we wanted to do with these songs: if we wanted to write for podcasts, contribute music to somewhere else, or come up with a catalog to be able to play live.

The antagonist from Ghostbusters, Gozer, is whatever it wants to be. I thought that was a cool theme for the band; we can do whatever we want to do. We can write hard rock songs. We can write for podcasts – which we have – and contribute music for movies – which we have. It’s a cool clean-cut, motivating theme to get behind.

SM: Don’t tell us what to do! Hahaha.

LG: That’s pretty much the entire ethos of rock and punk, right?

SM: I didn’t even like the name to begin with. To be candid. I was like, “I don’t know. Ghostbusters? Whatever.” It’s grown on me over time because it’s simple and doesn’t try to do too much. It’s not overly wordy. Plus, it’s lent itself well to logos and such.

LG: Is there anything else you want to talk about tonight?

SM: Big shoutout to Tim Lynch at the Recording Company. He did a great job and dealt with our crazy asses. He’s a great guy.

LG: I’ve never worked with Tim, but I was doing my own mixing at three or four in the morning. This was my last album. I remember one night he was up, and I sent him the final mix of the album, and he got back to me that night. At four in the morning! I was like, “Hey, man. I know we don’t know each other, but what do you think of this?”

NK: That’s awesome. Yeah, that sounds like him.

LG: Thank you again, guys, for taking time out of your night.

NK: Thank you again!

SM: We appreciate it!

NK: I firmly believe that a rising tide helps all ships.

LG: Yes!

NK: We’d like to give a shoutout to Nippertown, Unsigned518, your band, Shortwave Radio Band, The Sugar Hold, Black Tongue Reverend, Under the Den, and the list goes on.

LG: Have a goodnight!

NK: You too!

SM: Bye.

Comments are closed.