Established in 2010 and solidifying our current lineup in 2017, Gorlami, the Swiss progressive/post rock ensemble, stands as a quartet of dedicated do-it-yourself artists hailing from the northern reaches of Switzerland.
Comprising two guitarists, a drummer, and a distinctive vocalist, Gorlami meticulously handcraft every element of their sonic tapestry, from evocative lyrics to mesmerizing melodies and even the visually arresting album covers. Having initially gained recognition through performances in the northeastern part of Switzerland, the band unveiled their debut album, “Face of Steel,” in 2020—a concept album available both digitally and in the tangible form of CDs.
Following this, Gorlami continued their musical odyssey with the release of their sophomore record, “Between Two Worlds,” in late 2023. This album delves into the intricate interplay between reality and dream, featuring a captivating three-part symphony.
In essence, Gorlami’s musical essence can be encapsulated in a melodic blend of progressive rock, inviting listeners to traverse decaying metropolises and enigmatic dreamscapes.
“Our aspiration is to let the music paint vivid cinematic scenes within the mind’s eye, enabling our audience to drift away into realms suspended between reality and illusion,” Simon says.
Asked about “Duty Calls,” the song included on the “Progstravaganza: Harmony in Complexity” compilation, Simon goes on saying: “The core of the story behind the song ‘Duty Calls’ revolves around a protagonist who escapes into his dreams and realizes that he wins his personal battles in the dream world, but loses in reality. With this realization, he obtains the key to overcome his responsibilities in the real world.“
Continuing our conversation on the band’s creative process, Simon admits that most of their songs are born out of jam sessions.
“As a singer, I usually envision a picture or get a certain feeling, which I then share with the band. If the feeling or image resonates with the same understanding, the story of the song begins to take shape.“
Prog Sphere: What was your creative process like for your recent release “Between Two Worlds” in comparison to your debut album “Face of Steel”?
Simon: In contrast to our first album, “Between Two Worlds” was created in a much shorter time and as a concept album. From the beginning, the focal point was the three-part symphony that illustrates the journey through both worlds and tells the entire story to the listener. The remaining three songs are like spin-offs of this single journey, delving deeper into a particular scene at a specific point in the symphony. “Face of Steel” was a collection of stories that were gathered over time, but consistently addressed the same theme – pretending to be someone else. Trying to please society and in the process, losing oneself. These are everyday stories that aim to remind the listener not to always bend and conform.
Who or what are your major influences in progressive rock? How do they impact your own musical style?
As we all have very different music tastes, it’s difficult to answer that question. However, I believe we have a shared understanding of the sound of music. Certain parts of different songs evoke similar feelings in all of us. For example, we describe situations in our songs, and each situation has a certain beat. Our drummer Michael has a great understanding of matching the right beat to the right situation, creating a visual experience for us. The understanding of this scene is the same for all of us. Our musical influences range from bands like Muse and indie bands like The Strokes, to ballads by Chris Isaak, as well as heavier sound from Metallica and Foo Fighters, classic guitar sounds from Slash, and even experimental songs from Low Roar.
Challenges: What challenges have you faced as an artist in the scene, and how have you overcome them?
Since music is our hobby and we all primarily pursue other professions, we are not heavily involved in the music industry. However, we are increasingly realizing that being an independent band involves much more than just making music. Organizing concerts, social media posts, distributing our recordings, and so on – all of this is uncharted territory for us and requires a lot of effort. I believe we see this as a challenge – to stay present and not gather dust in the basement, even though all four of us prefer to simply write songs and perform. So, if you happen to know someone who can handle everything else for us, we are open to new opportunities!
How do you see the scene evolving, and what role do you believe your music plays in that evolution?
The evolution of the scene is not really important to us. We make music out of passion and are not influenced by trends at all. However, in general, we do notice that music is being produced faster and with less innovation in composition. Perhaps this statement is completely wrong, as we are currently not deeply engaging with new music enough to accurately assess its trends.
Share with us some of the most memorable moments in your musical journey so far.
I believe that the most memorable moments have been the time spent in the studio. Coming together to shape and dive into the details of the songs as a band. That was truly amazing!
Do you have a personal favorite among your own compositions? If so, which one and why?
No. As mentioned before, we depict scenes or situations in our songs, depending on our personal mood, I want to play out one scene or the other. There is no favorite in that regard.
Can you give us a sneak peek into any upcoming projects or collaborations you’re working on?
Building on our list of priorities is definitely gaining more practice with live concerts. However, we are also experimenting with new songs and new themes that we want to explore. We have been on our musical journey for 13 years now and we don’t see an end in sight.
What does it mean to you to be a part of our compilation? How has the experience been for you?
We are curious to see which music from other artists we will be grouped with. It is always difficult for us to compare ourselves to other music, so we are very excited to see the outcome.
Is there a message you’d like to convey to your fans who will be discovering your music through this compilation?
Wow, I hope we have fans 🙂 Yes, of course: listen to our music as if you are watching a movie, and let yourself be carried away into a scene that you can visualize with your own images. We aim to provide you with the feeling and context.
If you could collaborate with any artist, living or not, who would it be?
That would probably have to be answered by each individual, as we all have very different tastes in music. As a singer, I would personally love to collaborate with Muse or at least learn from their work process. I admire Matt’s talent and his approach to songwriting.
If you had to pick one instrument (besides your primary one) to master, what would it be?
Everything that produces a sound!
What’s your all-time favorite progressive rock album, and why?
I unfortunately (or fortunately) don’t have that. I don’t want an album to influence our music too much.
Are there non-musical influences that find their way into your music? (e.g., literature, art, science)
Definitely movies, from Sin City to Tarantino classics, to sci-fi and post-apocalyptic films.
Any final thoughts or reflections you’d like to share with our audience?
We really appreciate everyone who listens to our music! Of course preferably as intended by really taking your time and letting us take you on a journey. It is wonderful get reactions from fans, avid progressive rock listeners and also professionals in the scene just like you, Niko. Thank you very much.
Where can our audience find more about you and your music?