Tracker Pixel for Entry

HPR exclusive interview with Gabriel Douglas

by Sabrina Hornung | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Music | March 29th, 2017

The High Plains Reader had the opportunity to sneak away from the festivities of South by Southwest to meet up with the 4onthefloor frontman Gabriel Douglas, over drinks and cupcakes left over from a party the night before at a surprisingly quiet bar on Fourth Street -- strong contrast with the bustling foot traffic and the sound track of traffic, chatter, distant amplified music and occasional sirens in the streets.

HPR Publisher Raul Gomez and I arrived early to test out the light levels for our cover photo, on the lit up disco floor that we shared with a trio of dancers dressed in camouflage, preparing for a routine that we assumed would be performed later in the evening. Everything was falling into place -- but that’s part of the Music City magic.

Gabriel was instantly recognizable once he walked in with his luxurious trademark beard and dark-rimmed glasses. He was relaxed and engaging, like meeting up with an old friend.

After nearly a decade of playing and attending the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, Gabriel Douglas is no stranger to the festivities or the 20-22 hour drive cross country from Minneapolis. It’s a day in the life of a touring musician but the trek to SXSW is a mixture of business and pleasure.

“It’s a class reunion, all of our tour mates are down here, we’ve already seen 15 bands we would never see otherwise and it’s networking. We’re always looking for our angle to get to the next plateau. This is where people are and it’s also a mini vacation for us,” says Douglas. “There’s no reason for us to drive out of the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area as a band unless we’re playing shows. It’s good bonding for the band and it’s good camaraderie to keep the spirits high. It’s very low-maintenance and low-risk. We’re all having a good time. We’ve all been to Southby numerous times--so we all know what we’re getting into. If you want to have a drag you could easily do that. If you want to have a great time--it’s in front of your face. You can grab it if you want.”

The Minneapolis based rock n’ roll band 4onthefloor started up in 2009. Their signature rootsy, raw, foot stompin’ blues rock sound comes from each of the four members playing a bass drum and writing all of their songs in 4/4 time. Hence the name.

“After I started going to festivals, I’d be the spreadsheet guy--to make sure I caught everything. Now I’m very--” he paused, “any festival I go to I’ll try to put one bullet in the chamber and maybe try to hit the target like that. Other than that, I kind of just roll around, ya know? You run into someone you know and they’re going somewhere. Cool. Go with them or don’t go with them. I’m way more laissez faire about the whole situation at this point.”

In all of the years of participating in the festival, we couldn’t help but ask how he has seen it change. ”The city has just grown--I used to park an RV on Rainy Street, sleep in it then go to the Ihop and wash up in the morning,” Douglas said. “You can’t even park on Rainy Street anymore. It’s all house bars and high rises. It’s grown out.”

High Plains Reader: Do you have a favorite SXSW memory that sets itself apart from the rest?

Gabriel Douglas: We kicked it with Diarrhea Planet one year--then the next year I got to see them all the time. My birthday is March 12 so it hits at Southby every fourth year, I remember seeing them at Lambert’s, body surfing for a t-shirt that said “Diarrhea is the new f*ck.” It was really funny and really good.

HPR: Are you working on anything in particular?

GD: We've got some EPs in the can. We’re trying to make stuff fast--although our last record was pretty fast, too. We’re definitely not trying to be the rock n’ roll band that does like two-thirds ballads on their records and then plays rock n’ roll with their live show...which might be a lot of fun but it’s what a lot of rock n’ roll bands do. Put out a record and it’s great but more than half of the record is sleeper songs. It’s like what the f*ck? Are you a rock band or a ballad band? There’s nothing wrong with being a balladeer, but that’s not what the 4onthefloor wants to be.

HPR: We did an email interview last summer and you spoke of some of your projects outside of the 4onthefloor. Are you getting a chance to perform much of that material?

GD: I play music full time, so I have the opportunity to do a lot of that stuff. Orca Colony is with my buddy Alex Steele. He moved to Hawaii a year and a half ago, so we’re doing like a “Postal Service” thing--but that has sort of slowed down.

Silverback Colony, the next record, is written but not recorded yet. I have a solo record in the can that I’m chopping right now--it’s really stripped down.

HPR: Do you have any solo performances lined up for SXSW?

GD: Not this year, but I’ve done it in the past. The year that I did the most shows, I did 32 shows by myself. I put out an open call to anyone I knew. If anybody cancels, let me know. If I can get to the venue I will play -- as long as you have a guitar for me.

Recently in:

FARGO - Three days after white supremacists advertised for a like-minded gathering at Lindenwood Park, posters depicting hate speech were posted on telephone poles along downtown back alleys.The posters went up in time for the 27th…

Theresa Marshall leads Gender Friendly Grand Forks (GFGF) and is the first person I contact if someone comes to me looking for trans-related resources or support and lives near the Grand Forks area. In that regard, she’s helped a…

Thursday, April 27 at 6 PM - 9 PMDakota Medical Foundation, 4141 28th Ave. SEpisode 1- Nepal: Brings the exotic, colorful and festive Nepalese culture to you through the eyes of Nepal native Saru Pokharel. She will share her…

Editorial

Venting online

by Sabrina Hornung

“I am incredibly sorry for all that's happened. I'm young and made a mistake, and now it has caused me to walk away from my job, have incredible anxiety and guilt, and panic even going outside for the amount of death threats I've…

Would a liberal Democrat or a conservative Republican kill baited bears?Since King Donald ascended to the throne of a political party that doesn’t give a damn about anything except cutting taxes and filling their own wallets, he…

The moment of truth has arrived. After seven weeks of sampling and judging some of the finest libations in the area the results for this year’s Cocktail Showdown have arrived. Christopher Larson, Raul Gomez and Sabrina Hornung…

It was rumored that Pepper’s Sports Cafe had something new to offer, something smoky and delicious. A tasty delight that could only come from a prolonged cooking process and a diverse knowledge of meat. The rumors were true, and…

Music

​Pump up the juice

by Tessa Torgeson

High Plains Reader: Jucifer is incredible and unique for so many reasons, one being your longevity as you’ve been around since the early 90s, known for your never-ending tour schedule and decibel-crushing, high octane…

[Editor’s note: Wednesday marks the 20th anniversary of the evacuation of Grand Forks and the burning of the original High Plains Reader office. This piece was originally written Tuesday April 22, 1997.]"Get up! There's water…

Nikki Anderson’s home brims with ephemera that embody her life as an artist, teacher, wife, mother, chef, survivor, and healer. A gold medal glistens in the spring sunlight hanging next to a tattered baseball cap on the coat…

Ovid’s mythological tales undergo dramatic transformation by award-winning director/playwright Mary Zimmerman as Concordia, MSUM, and NDSU deliver theatrical productions of three of her modern takes on his work.Concordia’s…

Humor

​Talking to strangers

by Sabrina Hornung

“I don’t have a tour, like, on the back of a sweatshirt,” comedian Paula Poundstone says. “I go out every weekend. This weekend I went out Friday, Saturday and Monday. Mostly it’s Friday/Saturday or Thursday through…

Spring is officially here and of course that means spring cleaning, yard work, grilling and socializing outdoors. Often this also means more time with friends or family in situations where you may want to have more than just one or…

The 11th annual Fargo Holistic Expo returns to the Fargo Civic Center this weekend, April 22 – 23, bringing with it an array of workshops, talks and exhibitors. The event is presented by Edge Life Expos and Events.Almost 40 free…

Live and Learn

​The other shoe

by HPR Contributor

By Elizabeth Nawrotnawrot@mnstate.eduI look up from my hotel lobby breakfast astonished to see a framed print of Wassily Kandinsky's "Mit und Gegen,” a masterpiece of color and composition that just happens to be my favorite…

The North Dakota State Water Commission has violated state law more than 600 times in recent years by issuing permits for industrial use of water (read: fracking oil wells) from the Little Missouri State Scenic River. Employees…