By Joe Ryan
They Grieve are a two-piece drone metal band from Ottawa who released their first EP I Made My Sacrifice Accordingly in late December 2016. Long time friends Gary Thibert and Deniz Guvenc said they purposefully did away with the bureaucratic and logistical aspects of being in a band in order to put the music first. Their friendship, trust, and complimentary taste means they’ve agreed on every creative decision the band has had to make so far. They’re also self aware enough to point out the cheesiness of some of their riffs and band name. Right now they are preparing for Gary to leave Ottawa for six months.
How does your day to day experience manifest in your art?
Deniz: It’s always cathartic to jam . . . it is a release from the day to day stresses of working and being social.
Gary: The complexities of day to day life, they come together and go through the music. It couldn’t be any other way.
Deniz: I can’t really imagine myself dreaming up a new world that’s radically different from the one that I experience then writing stuff on that.
Gary: I feel like there is a direct correlation between how chaotic our lives and how chaotic the music ends up being at points.
Deniz: Or how dreary. I have a very boring life and I feel like our music is boring. You could describe work or going to school as drony and our music is.
Gary: It’s the depressing nature of the grind of working constantly for very little pay.
How do your future plans for the band fit into Gary moving away for six months?
Gary: Trading recording over the Internet. I’m not worried about I think it will interesting. I think the next batch of songs will reflect that distance.
Deniz: It will still be spontaneous and improving but we’ll be dislocated. We’ll have to chop things up more because I’ll have to wait until Gary records his ideas and sends them to me, then I’ll do the same. I don’t want to take his idea or send him one that’s already polished. I want to quickly record the first thing I think of and send it to him so it feels like one jam that extended out over six months.
What anarchist literature would you point people towards?
Deniz: There are a lot of great compilations and anthologies that exist. George Woodcock has one called Anarchism. It gives a nice history but doesn’t get into contemporary stuff. I would also point to free online resources like CrimethInc. In terms of contemporary stuff there are people in universities who are allowed to take anarchism more seriously so they’ll talk about anarchism in art and anarchism in literature which is a great trend. So Jesse Cohn is an author I really like and his stuff is not impenetrable academic jargon which is something that some anarchists are rightfully concerned about. He has a book called Anarchism And The Crisis Of Representation which is really great and another one called Underground Passages which focuses more on art. Alan Antliff also has a lot of writing which is well researched and inspiring.
On the topic of inspiration, where do you both find hope?
Gary: I don’t think there’s a complete absence of hope in what we’re doing.
Deniz: I think that in experimental music, like drone and ambient even, its really dark in content—the form isn’t necessarily dark. It encourages collaboration, improvisation, spontaneity and the live visceral physical material aspect of the music is much more important that the conceptual content. Seeing live music gives me hope. Seeing people see live music gives me hope. Being afforded the time and opportunity to improvise is an expression and rejuvenation of hope.
Gary: Performing music gives me hope. There’s something special about putting yourself on stage to be gawked at by people. I’ve always battled stage fright even though I’ve been performing for over 10 years and that gives me hope. The idea of overcoming a fear every time I go on stage and then watching people enjoy what I’ve produced and what I’m doing while I’m in the grips of it. That experience gives me hope.
Deniz: Ida reds (apples) are criminally underrated. •