Gel

Exclusive Booking Agency for Gel
Territory: North America

Agents:

Greg Horbal

Tom Windish

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about the artist

GEL can't be stopped. Since emerging from the New Jersey hardcore scene, the band have quickly earned a dedicated following with their instant-classic debut full-length, Only Constant (2023), and a penchant for non-stop touring. But GEL are just getting started, as evidenced by Persona: a pummeling new five-song EP that evolves their ultra-visceral sound, harnessing all of their momentum into a unrestrained musical force headed straight for your ears.

Since the release of Only Constant, GEL — vocalist Sami Kaiser (they/them), guitarists Anthony Webster (he/him) and Maddi Nave (they/them), bassist Mathew Bobko (he/him), and new drummer Alex Salter (he/him) —…

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GEL can't be stopped. Since emerging from the New Jersey hardcore scene, the band have quickly earned a dedicated following with their instant-classic debut full-length, Only Constant (2023), and a penchant for non-stop touring. But GEL are just getting started, as evidenced by Persona: a pummeling new five-song EP that evolves their ultra-visceral sound, harnessing all of their momentum into a unrestrained musical force headed straight for your ears.

Since the release of Only Constant, GEL — vocalist Sami Kaiser (they/them), guitarists Anthony Webster (he/him) and Maddi Nave (they/them), bassist Mathew Bobko (he/him), and new drummer Alex Salter (he/him) — have been bringing their unhinged live show all around the world, but their busy schedule left very little time for writing new music. "We had to book studio time and make some self-imposed deadlines," explains Webster. "It was stressful but it helped — we just tour so much that it's the only way to force us into the writing zone." The group decamped to a cabin in the woods and began working more collaboratively than ever before, seeking to push their sound and take advantage of the creative confidence gained through relentless touring. "I feel like Only Constant was the cap on us doing that style of hardcore and I didn't want to do more of the same," Webster says. "But I also feel like at this point we just have more of a sense of what a GEL song is and we wanted to apply that to a different kind of songwriting."

To record Persona, the band teamed with producer/engineer Jon Markson (Drug Church, Drain, Koyo, Jivebomb) who was integral in helping them achieve their vision for GEL 2.0. "It was our first time working with someone outside of our immediate camp and it was really fun," says Webster. "He has an ear for things that we wouldn't have immediately had an ear for." The result is a widescreen version of GEL's stomping hardcore, a bold embrace of memorable songwriting structures that never once compromises on the ferocity that makes the band so appealing. "We really wanted to fill out the songs more and make them more nuanced," says Kaiser. "It's a step forward, it's different, it's catchy, but it still really sounds like us."

Persona roars out of the gate with "Mirage," immediately announcing GEL's colossal new direction. Clocking in at nearly three minutes, it's the band's longest song to date and it earns every second — the riffs are crushing, the drums are blistering, and Kaiser sounds ready to take on the world. Elsewhere tracks like "Shame" or "Martyr" highlight GEL's ability to develop their sound while maintaining the primal energy of their earlier work. The songs incorporate phased-out guitar leads that add a sinister texture to the band's driving hardcore, and Kaiser experiments with new deliveries in their vocal arsenal. "I think it really clicked that I was able to do things with my voice outside of just screaming," Kaiser says. "I can vary it and build it up and do things that aren't necessarily melodic but are dynamic." Throughout the EP their voice effortlessly swings from vicious scream to haunting sprechgesang, and even plaintive singing — always with unshakeable intensity.

The title track dials up the tempo to whiplash-inducing speeds as Kaiser lays out many of the lyrical themes explored on Persona: "It's about perceptions and how our awareness of those perceptions can play a role in someone's reality," they explain. "I'm not the type of person that seeks outward perception — in fact I'm typically a socially anxious person — so while all this higher visibility stuff that we've been doing is great, it was never the motivating factor for me creatively." It's an understandable conundrum for a group of punks who started a band with the modest goal of playing as many shows as possible, and in a very short period of time have unexpectedly found themselves with the public-facing occupation of full-time musicians. "Writing the songs is how I find time to process my life and everything that's happened the past few years," Kaiser continues. "Finding a way to take the emotions and feelings and putting them to the music — that's the fulfilling thing. Everything else, any attention, it's all just a side effect of creating something authentically." The band's uniquely cerebral-yet-direct approach is summed up in "Shame" which Kaiser describes as being about, "a type of person who views others exclusively in terms of what they can provide for them and the patterns of behavior that leads to," or as Webster puts it with a laugh: "It's a 'fuck you' song."

The EP comes to a close with "Vanity" a song that perfectly encapsulates the musical and emotional growth captured throughout Persona — and one that also might just be the heaviest GEL have ever sounded. The track is powered by a ten ton riff and a menacingly deliberate pace that matches the determination in Kaiser's lyrics. "Can't change things, don't wanna / This is the way we push through" they bellow, rejecting the baggage of the past and looking forward. It's a massive sounding song that's clearly the work of a band who are truly coming into their own. "I felt like we could get away with things I wouldn't have wanted to try earlier on," says Webster. "We just know that everything we do is gonna sound like us at this point." Kaiser adds resolutely: "We know what we are."

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