Why Gideon Are Proud To Be Southern, Even After Losing Their Faith
In the American south, two cultural conventions continue to thrive: fire-and-brimstone religion, and blazing hot rock’n’roll. For Alabama metalcore powerhouses Gideon, relinquishing the former was an arduous journey that led to the creation of the latter on their furious new album, Out Of Control.
So when we spoke to the band about the process of leaving the tenets of their Southern Baptist upbringings behind, we had to ask: are they still proud to hail from the South? The answer: a definitive yes.
“First of all, the south has had the biggest influence on music in America,” says drummer Jake Smelley. “Even bands like Led Zeppelin were influenced by the Delta blues, which started in Mississippi. I just feel like because how people are brought up, because they’re taught how to hate people who are different from them, they’re just taught how to live a certain way. They’re told, ‘If you change at all, you’re wrong for it. You’re wrong to have an open mind on things.’ I’m not speaking to everyone in the south, I’m just speaking to the small town where I was raised, but I know it’s all across the south.
“I think that’s the biggest part of our record — trying to give the people from small town deep south a voice,” he continues. “Let them know it’s okay to be who you are, it’s okay to push for what you want in life. There’s a lot of pain that goes on down here that’s unspoken. People don’t really talk about it, they just try to be hard and say, ‘This is life.’ I think it all comes down to tradition. What I’ve realized through this process is with tradition, most of the time, comes fear, and the biggest thing with our newest record is breaking down fear in order to find yourself, in order to progress, in order to push out of this bubble you’re in. It’s gonna hurt like hell, but when you find yourself, it all makes sense.
“At the same time, there’re things about the south that feel like home,” adds Jake. “Even though there’re things about this place that I hate, there are so many beautiful, scarred-up people that make up this place. People treat you like family. There’s nothing like an Alabama sunset, in my opinion — just the skies there. There’s something about the south that will always be home.”
“It’s hard to come to terms with loving a place that is notoriously bad for a lot of reasons,” says guitarist Tyler Riley. “That’s the big part of this record, is being, like, ‘You know what, it’s not all bad.’ It’s not everything that everyone thinks it is. It’s okay to be proud of where you’re from. There are so many people that live there that are great people, and just don’t have a voice, and are afraid to talk about how they really feel or be who they really are.
“I fucking love the south,” he says firmly. “And it doesn’t make me a piece of shit. It doesn’t make me a racist person, it doesn’t make me a bigot. I don’t believe in that shit, but I still love the south. It’s just trying to take it back.”
“It doesn’t matter where you’re from,” concludes Jake. “I know a lot of people in the past that felt like they had to move out of Alabama to be somebody. That’s what I love about our group of guys — we stay true to who we are, we planted our roots, and we just started hitting the road. And we want people to know it doesn’t matter what small ass town you’re from, you just gotta work hard. And probably harder than most people, because it’s not gonna be handed to you! But you can do and be whatever you want to be.”
Gideon’s Out Of Control will be released October 11th on Equal Vision Records, and is available for preorder.
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