· By John Frazier

Welcome Demons to the Spartan Family! "Great Dismal" EP Out June 16th

We are proud to welcome Demons to the Spartan family! Demons is the new musical project started by longtime Mae guitarist and our good friend Zach Gehring. The band's debut EP Great Dismal will be released on June 16th on limited edition 12" silk-screened vinyl and at digital outlets everywhere. Pre-orders are available now at the Spartan store or Bandcamp and include an instant download of the song "Parallel Lines."

Decidedly heavier and more aggressive than Zach's projects, Demons takes stylistic cues from the likes of many influential bands that have shaped him as a musician. You can hear traces of bands like Spiritualized, Pedro The Lion, The Afghan Whigs, and Mudhoney throughout the EP; however, that list hardly registers as any type of "recommended if you like" touchstone.

Why Demons? Why now? In Zach's own words, "over the years it's just been a nagging desire. I'd dismiss it for periods of time, but then it would come back to me. I wanted to see if I could do it. I knew I had ideas and a desire to give some sort of voice to them, also, and most crucially, they were not ideas that could be developed in Mae," says Gehring. "I wanted to do something harder, less crafted, something more abrasive. Conceptually, or lyrically, I was more interested in problematizing myself and throwing tacks on the road, so to speak."

"The main undercurrent was just a curiosity to see if I could do this. Demons is an experiment in a true sense of the word," say Gehring. "The music isn't experimental at all, but the process, me writing songs and singing, was always understood as an experiment. There are these narratives of creativity, art, and expression, and they are sometimes at odds with each other. I think everyone has something they want to express, and I wanted to overcome any obstacles that would potentially prevent me from doing so. I wanted to try to eliminate self doubt, fear, and any pre-conceived notions what songs should sound like and find a reason to create something new in an environment that is both over saturated and begging for more."

Upon first glance, the urgency of Great Dismal can be misunderstood as a sole tone of disparity; however, after repeated listens, other thematic motifs become more pronounced -- threads of meaning that, in retrospect, Gehring describes as "tempered hope, humility, and critical self-awareness." By allowing these conflicting voices to speak, Gehring has begun to exorcise his own demons in an attempt to pave a road toward a more tangible sense of clarity, understanding, and faith -- on the other side, those on the same journey will find solace in his courage to press "record" during the process.