Interview with Christina Michelle of Gouge Away

Phil Collins - February 6, 2017

Gouge Away

Florida hardcore punk band Gouge Away was the surprise winner of Change the Rotation's 2016 best albums of the year bracket. , Dies is their debut album and admittedly, we don't know a whole lot about them aside from the fact that we all held that record in high esteem last year. If at the beginning of 2016 you looked at what albums on the horizon would probably do pretty well on our end of the year bracket, surely you would think of the Falcon, Against Me! and PEARS. Well, Gouge Away took down all those bands on their way to the championship. Now that the dust has settled, we thought it would be a good idea to see if we could find out a little bit more about this band and their future plans. Lead vocalist Christina Michelle talked with me via email to fill us in on what is happening in the world of Gouge Away. If you haven't heard , Dies yet, stream it at the end of the interview. You can also read Steve O's original review of the album here.

Phil Collins: I remember when we first announced the 32 records on our best albums of the year bracket a month or two ago, you commented that you didn't really understand what that meant. Now you've won the whole thing. Do you get it?

Christina Michelle: Yes it makes more sense now.

PC: Did you get hooked on any albums in 2016?

CM: Yea! 2016 was the year for music. There were a lot of awesome releases but the ones that stuck for me are Lemonade by Beyonce, Stage Four by Touché Amoré, Peach by Culture Abuse, and I'm lucky that A Seat at the Table by Solange snuck in there last minute.

PC: You toured with Touché Amoré earlier this year, right? How did that go?

CM: Yea! We toured with Touché Amoré and Ceremony in August. It was such a fun experience. I have looked up to them for a while and wasn't expecting them to be as supportive and friendly as they were. They were really encouraging and helpful with anything we needed. It was our first tour with bands like them and it really could have gone any way. We expected that there would be this pressure to be super professional and perfect but they got us to loosen up pretty quickly and in no time it felt like any other tour we've done with friends.

PC: That's great to hear. This spring you're playing Pouzza Fest up in Montréal. Any chance of touring out to Chicago on the way there or back?

CM: Chicago is currently in our route but we're waiting to confirm a few things!

PC: That's exciting. I'll definitely keep my ears open for news on the touring front. I saw photos of the band in the studio late last year, are there plans for a new release in the works?

CM: Yes, we are working on a very small release. It'll just be two songs. We were excited about them and wanted to kind of give people an idea of what our sound is going to be like.

PC: Will this be a physical release and do you have a ballpark idea of when we might hear it?

CM: I believe it will be released as a tape. I'm not sure when it will be available but hopefully soon!

PC: Looking forward to it. Animal rights is clearly a big issue for Gouge Away. The "Until Every Cage is Empty"/"Uproar" transition was personally one of my favorite moments on , Dies. Is the band vegan?

CM: Thanks! Yeah, it was great to work with our friend, Maru, on that. We are not a 100% vegan band but I am and most of the guys are.

PC: I have one more question before we wrap this up. Can you tell us a little bit about the punk scene in Fort Lauderdale - what kind of venues are prominent for shows and are there any fellow local bands we should check out?

CM: Fort Lauderdale can be summed up as a rollercoaster with its ups and downs. There are either tons of places to play or none. Right now, pretty much all of the more popular and DIY venues are closed. I moved out of Ft Lauderdale a few months ago, but the only place I have heard of shows going on there is at a tiny bar called Inkwell Pub. My favorite band from the area is Woolbright. It's really awesome to visit and go to shows there because the scene is so friendly and supportive.