INTERVIEW // GNARLY
February 21st, 2021 // Interviewer: Shane Allen // Music
Photo by @Yungtuscan
Take it at face value, Gnarly is a fitting name for the dude. Probably one of the only people to rock a dread locked mullet as an intentional style choice.
Gnarly is the lead singer of the colorful punk band, Kate Mo$$. Kate Mo$$ has been known to throw some of the wildest concerts you'd ever seen. Its like watching the combination of a snuff film and a Broadway play. At their shows, its no holds bar, anything goes. Fighting on stage, doing whippets, choking bandmates, bleeding/spitting on fans, the list goes on as to what takes place at a show. A true sight to be seen.
Gnarly is the definition of DIY, get it done by any means. When you have a band that performs the way Gnarly does, Imagine how hard it is to get a concert venue to allow you do this on stage, probably not easy. So you turn to more homemade remedies, abandoned houses, alley ways, places where you don't need licenses and you can smoke however many cigarettes' your little hearts desire. If people want to watch you play music, you can figure out a way to make it happen.
What was a young Gnarly like? What were you into as a kid?
I’m from the east side of Tucson Arizona. The desert. Wasn’t much to do as a kid, like after school in elementary I’d do dumb shit with my friends like hide in ditches and throw rocks at cars passing by on the main street till eventually one connected and we’d have to dip out. Was pretty heavy into sports, played basketball and football. Basketball carried on into high school till sophomore year when I got cut from the team. At the time was on unsupervised probation for a weed charge I caught on the campus, coach apparently thought it was a bad influence on the team type situation and dropped me. Definitely felt some type of way from that experience and pretty much went headfirst into skateboarding and graffiti, and all the shit that comes along with those which did ultimately led to me becoming a musician and artist.
What’s the first show you went to?
Two come to mind, first ever concert I ever went to was a Lil Wayne show at the convention center, area type show like where the globetrotters would play when there in town. This was mid 2000s when Weezy (Lil Wayne) was still on top I’m talkin Dedication 2 era. I took my little cousin Adrian who was in 7th grade at the time (old soul) with me which was a helluva tryna convince my mom and aunt to let us go by ourselves for sure. We were in the nosebleeds and I just remember the show being banged the fucked out, everyone in close quarters, throwing there set up, decently shit-faced on $20 beer.
Brawl broke out in the row in front of us while Wayne was performing Pussy Monster with an American flag guitar in hand, which is still pretty bizarre when I think about it.
2nd one would be my first actual show, snuck out on a like a Wednesday to meet my cuddies at this cutty little venue called The Rock. Knights of the Abyss was the headliner. At the time I was still heavy into rap over hardcore music, we just went to get into some shit. The venue was 18+ but we got in and they had the bar cut off down the middle of the space with a chain link fence from floor to ceiling, when bands started playing I remember some of the older heads were spitting beer through the holes in the fence at the kids. I vividly remember first song of Knights set the pit blew up and everyone starts 2 steppin.
Some kid my age that was next to me caught a flying backwards fist straight to the teeth busted his whole shit and got carried out by security and I was like Yooooo.
Was my first time experiencing intense music live in person and the violence that comes with it, I was hooked. CHAIN SAW TO THE PUSSY, shouts outs Knights of the Abyss and Elysia.
Photo by @9richuals
What was the name of your first song?
First thing I ever recorded was just freestyles with my cuddies Feyo and VVTGB, was just for fun at the time but definitely what started everything. The name of my first actual song was “Murder Cops”, which was the first song I made with Scumbag Tony from the band CRIMEKILLZ who I later started KATE MO$$ with.
The click up with CRIME was the most important thing in my career I’d say, I would have never made it out of Tucson and to LA if it wasn’t for Scum and N8 Noface real spit. They got a song licensed by the show Workaholics to be used in episode and then moved to LA to fully go in with this music. Scumbag brought me out a matter of months later and that’s where making music got real for me. Scumbag later moved outta the country and is killing it out Seoul Korea on his solo shit and I just kept Kate Mo$$ moving out here. Me and N8 still work together, we have a side project GNARFACE. We’re currently wrapping up our second album called “THIS AINT ART” that will drop later this year.
I’d imagine your shows would draw in some wild characters, what’s the wildest gift you’ve been given or wildest fan you’ve met.
When we played in Milan someone gave me a Adolph Hitler “World Tour” t shirt where he’s holding a guitar and has the Holocaust locations on the back which is probably the most fucked up shirt I’ve ever seen.
I was pretty taken back when I saw it, will never put it on but hung onto it to set on fire in the right situation.
As for fans, the majority of them definitely wild, there was a group of kids I met in London at a show that wanted me to tattoo them. There wasn’t enough time we had to head out, but in a very drunken state, I scribbled my name on some paper which two of them got tattooed later and the 3rd already had the Kate Mo$$ logo blasted above his kneecaps.
There are a lot of Mo$$ tattoos floating around but those meant a lot. Can’t move on from this question without speaking on Chris, at one of our DIY shows in a parking lot a while ago there was this one kid that was going in the entire set, I got in the pit during one of the breakdowns and the fucker socked me in the face I turned ready to kill him and he had the most priceless look on his face he was ecstatic.
I've thrown hands at shows before, but that was my first time getting hit outta nowhere while performing, got to chop it up with him after the set and lemme tell you, he’s an extraordinary individual and turned out to one of our biggest fans. I don’t think he’s ever missed a local show.
Still see him around and can’t help but give him a kiss every time I see him.
Shouts outs @digital_commands.
Photo by @9richuals
Has anything ever gone wrong while performing? You guys go pretty hard on stage.
We’ve had damn near everything possible go wrong during a set, from sound issues to shit I can’t even speak on. It’s all a learning experience. At the end of the day you gotta adapt and learn how to work through it.
I feel like your show’s are a big part of the experience music, do you make music with the thought of that in mind?
No, the music has always come first so the live shows evolve from that. Aside from our set at the Nature World Festival, when I had 3 broken ribs that we had to work around, we’ve never planned out a live performance, never contrived. We just go out there and perform whether it’s 20 heads or 200.
I saw you do a whippet on stage while someone handed you a beer, Scuz was making herself throw up. Do you ever have to tone it down for some venues. How close are DIY shows woven into your music.
The DIY scene is beyond important to myself and the overall scene in general. We’ve been pressured to tone it down by promoters and venues ALOT...but we never did, which led to us ultimately not being able to even play local shows cause no venue would have us. At that point we said fuck it and took it to back the streets throwing “drop up” generator shows in alleyways and tunnels which are still some of my favorite shows we played, the real ones know.
Is there a good story behind the name Kate Mo$$?
At the time we started the project we didn’t have a name but I was modeling in Los Angeles and scum was pressing me to try and get signed. I never wanted to take it seriously and knew music was what I wanted to do, so when we were evolving the sound I tossed out the name Kate Mo$$ cause the idea of a band named that, with a "model" front man but making digital hardcore music was funny to us. One night on a sicc one we came up with the dollar signs instead of S’s so it took on a whole new meaning, Kate Mo Dollas and we knew that was it.
Photo by Nikki
Is Kate Mo$$ still together?
Yes, Mo$$ is forever and always evolving. We played our first show back about a week before the shelter in place pandemic popped off so in the time being were working on our first full length album and have new content set to drop before that, keep ya ear to the skreets.
Have you ever seen anyone at your shows who didn’t really know what they were getting themselves into and just completely thrown off while you were performing? Do you enjoy that?
Completely, for awhile that was the majority of the crowd. No pit, no singing along, shit not even any movement just people staring at us with there jaw dropped like a dehydrated puppy. For a little bit it definitely bugged me but I learned to love it. In reality taking someone out of there comfort zone and making them think or feel is the most powerful thing you can do. Hate us or love us you left there feeling something.
What’s the best time you’ve ever had recording music?
When we recorded the first Kate Mo$$ ep, somehow me and Scum got in contact with Paul Roessler who played synth for one of our favorite bands The Screamers to record the the EP. That was my first time in a real studio and working with him was an experience in its own. We even got him to yell on the hook of the song "Sepukku" with us as a group chant... still mind blowing to me.
What’s the last thing that made you laugh?
At a BBQ last week I spilled a luke warm PBR on the coke tray.
What’s your biggest motivation to wake up in the morning?
To create. A lot of my friends are locked up or not here with us anymore. I’m thankful to still be here and have the opportunity to make which is a driving force everyday. I've been lucky enough to have the right people around me that believe in what I do, and I’ve been lucky enough to be able travel overseas because of my music. I wanna do the same for the people around me that I believe in. The world is much bigger than the comfort of your hometown and I feel they deserve to experience that also.
Photo by @9richuals
Do you believe in aliens?
Most definitely. Overall I believe in the Universe and it’s much bigger than us. As far as aliens I don’t know if I believe it’s on some Mars Attacks shit, but I know there’s more out there. Back in the day we would drive from Tucson to Phoenix to go to these illegal raves and I’ve definitely seen some wild shit in the sky on that drive thru the desert. The 3 orbs was one that always stuck with me.
What’s the strangest part of life?
I’d say people’s expectations when meeting me in person. People expect me to be batshit crazy or doing the most and that’s not me anymore, I’ve been crazy I’ve done more than wild out. At this point in my life I’ve learned to adapt controlled chaos in order for me to stay alive and do what I love doing. I don’t feel the need to act out of character in front of anyone, sometimes I’m the quietest person in the room but my presence is felt. I express myself differently now and that’s been crucial to my development as a person.
What are your guilty pleasures?
Currently it's shotgunning White Claws and watching 90 Day Fiancé for sure.