Aqueous’ Mike Gantzer Talks Band Name, Song Writing & moe. In New Interview

Published June 15, 2017

Buffalo-area groove rock jammers, Aqueous, have had a very busy year. They released a new studio EP, Best in Show, last fall as well as a new live compilation, Element Pt. 1: Live 2017, just a few weeks ago. They are also playing a lot of shows. Looking at their tour schedule, it seems like they are always playing somewhere. Whether it is a solo Aqueous gig, playing a supporting role opening for some other well-known bands or having a prestigious time slot at some of the biggest festivals on the jam calendar, Aqueous continues to grow with fans and with their music.

Show The Show’s Andy Gerkin recently talked to Aqueous guitarist, Mike Gantzer, during a little bit of breathing space between some high-profile sets at the annual Summer Camp Festival in Chillicothe, IL over Memorial Day weekend and a side project run covering Weezer with some musical friends outside of Aqueous.

Show The Show: I would start this interview with, the other day I was driving in my car and I was listening to SiriusXM’s Jam On station. Some of your music came on and the announcer mentioned, “here is some recent stuff from Ah-queous” and for years I have been calling you Aqueous, so my question is would be is it potato or potahto?

Mike Gantzer: Yeah, it’s potato, long A, it’s Aqueous, you have it right, they have got it wrong, actually. It is kind of funny problem, we have communicated to them that the name is pronounced Aqueous, and our fans have been tweeting at them a little bit and stuff. I think we are kind of in a position where we are really grateful that they are playing us at all, and we are really psyched to be there, so we haven’t gone too far with that, and we have let them know; I think there are different announcers on Jam On so we are just kind of waiting for that memo to get around or whatever, but we just laugh it off a little and those things will happen.

Unfortunately, we picked a name a long time ago that can be pronounced either way, so technically they are not wrong. You know what’s funny about this? I remember when I was watching the series, Breaking Bad, and I remember them saying Aqueous and I was like, yes, there it is, a definitive usage of that pronunciation of the term and like four episodes later, they also said Ahqueous, and I was like, “Damn it!” So, it really doesn’t bother me, but we intend it for it to be pronounced, Aqueous.

Photo by Gary Sheer/ Gary Sheer Photography

STS: The last couple of years, you guys seem to be on the road all the time, and I noticed 2016 into 2017 around New Year’s, that New Year’s run you did seemed like you were in New York one minute, what? Cincinnati or nearby there then next minute and them back to upstate New York right after that…who does all your driving?

MG: That’s a good question, especially for that run. So, we mix it up between members. I gotta be honest and say I definitely drive the least and it’s not even a secret, you know? It’s not my favorite. The other guys get behind the wheel; they are a little more gung-ho about it than I am. I would probably say our bass player, Evan [McPhaden], drives the most and followed by him, I think our sound and light engineer, his name is Ryan, he drives the second most, then I’d say it is probably a tie between our other guitar player, Dave [Loss] and our drummer, Rob [Houk]…and then me.
You know, I probably drive the least.

That particular run was kind of insane, and it was complicated even more by the fact our transmission went on our van on the overnight from Covington, KY back to Albany, NY. So we actually didn’t end up sleeping at all coming from that gig going into the next gig. It was a crazy whirlwind of events, but all of the shows were so rad we didn’t want to turn any of them down. They were all really great opportunities and were super fun. Every once in a while we will have something super gnarly like that in our schedule and it is not ideal but we care a lot about playing and if you get these opportunities, we want to make sure we are always taking these opportunities that move us forward, so it’s always worth it. The juice is worth the squeeze, so to speak.

STS: Totally. Bouncing off that, you guys have been opening for a lot of bands with large, rabid fan bases, like the Disco Biscuits and Umphrey’s McGee as well as your shows with Twiddle. How do you approach playing these larger rooms with those bands as opposed to one of your solo shows in Buffalo or Erie, even?

MG: Yeah, I think those are pretty different animals, in terms of approaching an opening set, especially depending on what band you are playing with and what kind of set time you are working with. I think the difficulty for a band like ours is we really do thrive off the improv section of our live shows, and it is difficult to sort of, let’s say we have one hour of time in a support slot, it’s tough because you want to show different facets of the band’s songwriting and try to get at least a couple of songs in there, but you also want to show them we like to jam, we like to improvise, we like to build on each other’s playing and so there is a lot of different things to try to touch on in the amount of time.

We have been very careful try to consider the type of room we are playing in, the type of audience we are playing to and what in our catalog might resonate with first time listeners. We also try to consider some of our longtime fans that are coming out to support us even when we are opening. It is all of these elements that we try to work into a forty-five minute or one hour set time. It’s a unique challenge. Recently, we have kind of been saying, screw it, and playing two or three songs in forty-five minutes or four or five in one hour at the most. I think that for us, especially in the live setting, I know a lot of our fans are really all about the improv stuff and we are taking a lot more chances recently and being inspired by that recently, so we have just been going for it anyways, and I think that is working for us okay for the opening slots.

But I think a lot of it comes down to context on which band we are playing with. Playing with a band like the Disco Biscuits, we touch on stuff that is maybe a little more “dance-y,” kind of have some more of the vibe that we might have been influenced by them early in our career. Playing with Umphrey’s, we may do some of our tunes that have “proggy-er” changes or playing with Twiddle, we might play some of our stuff that is a little lighter. We do try to consider those things also but careful to make sure we are doing our thing, too. You know what I mean? We are not placating too much, but we want to just make sure when we get those opportunities we play stuff that will resonate more or less with their fans.

Photo by Greg Horowitz Photography

STS: Do you guys do a setlist before you go out or do you have what you are going to do and just build on that?

MG: Yeah, every single night we have a definitively written setlist, and especially when you asked about headlining shows, these are such a different animal for us, we can really settle in, and let things build and take chances. One thing that happens a lot when we are doing the headlining shows is that depending on where a jam is going or where we might find ourselves musically, we can totally shift gears and either abandon the setlist or make changes on the fly or all of a sudden one of us is teasing a tune that is not even in there; one not on the setlist, and we’ll go into that. We try to not really ever force anything and if things are just happening naturally, that’s the fun of it, that’s the excitement. Yeah, we do write a setlist every night and we do stick to it some of the time, but I’d say a good percentage of the time we’ll take that risk and see where we go.

STS: Your new release, the live compilation, Element Pt. 1, do you go back and listen yourselves to pick those particular tracks or do you have an idea after that particular show, that a certain song was fire, we have to get this out?

MG: You know; it’s funny. This tour, when the year 2017 started, we were lucky enough to make a deal with nugs.net to release all of our shows from every single show of the tour. It was a unique opportunity for us to be able to. Well, it comes down to most of the bands on nugs have an established team of people come get the shows out in terms of mixing the multi-track and listening through it, but we have a pretty small operation, so it pretty much comes down to our sound engineer and/or myself sitting down and mixing these shows. So, this was first time that I was ever really listening back to our performances, which has been insanely helpful for a lot of the aspects of playing live. I can hear maybe things that were touched on too much or not enough. It’s been really helpful to get feedback of our own playing, but it’s interesting that you asked that question, because we, I, almost consider it we didn’t really pick these tracks (for Element Pt. 1) because we decided to communicate directly with a lot of our fans on this. We talked to them because it’s basically people on the net that will follow the entire tour and listen to every show of the tour that we post and they will start posting about it.

We have a fan group called, “AQuaintances,” and they will be in there talking about how this show was awesome or really loved this moment or that one. We kept our eye out for stuff like that, but also there are a couple longtime fans that we have that I trust their opinions on and I communicated directly with them and would say, “Hey, what did you like? What stuck out to you? And why? What are the reasons this is really jazzing for you?” And like you said, there are a few moments after certain shows we played where we are like, “Oh man, that was really wild, I want to listen back to that, that was cool.” Some of that stuff ended up on there, some of the more adventurous, or more interesting, or more diverse jams from the 2017 shows are what made their way on to the album. It was sort of a mix. A lot did come from the fans and then I sort of arranged it the way I thought it would be pleasing to the ears, the vibe of each song or the tempo of each song and some of those elements. So yeah, it’s kind of fan picked in that way.

STS: That’s cool, it kind of makes me wonder too, being kind of a younger band. I mean, how long have you been a band?

MG: Actually, we have been a band for ten and a half years, but we started young, and you are very right, we are all about 27 at the moment. We started the band in high school. The past five years we have really settled in being a touring act and before that we were kicking it around town and finding our sound and finding our fan base and all that.

STS: I guess when I mean younger; I am talking 2017 versus 20 years ago. Upstate New York has always been a great improvisational music mecca of sorts over the years. When I moved to the area over twenty-five years ago, you had bands like moe., the Ominous Seapods, or Schleigho all coming around this area. At the same time, when I think back to all of that, I happen to be in Syracuse seeing moe. the night that they announced being signed to the Sony 550 label, which ultimately led to “No Doy” coming out, okay? Now, I wonder, that was a big deal at the time because it gave them a bigger exposure, gave them more distribution, but in 2017 it seems like it’s a little different to garner a fan base all over the place without that kind of label. Can you comment on some of that about your growth?

MG: Yeah, definitely, basically my answer to that is, the difference now is of course the internet. I feel like it’s a bit of a double-edged sword because in one way, it’s much easier and cheaper to get your stuff out and to get a wider audience directly through the internet, but of course, that means everyone can do it, and so it’s a vast sea of content. All of these bands and all of these musicians want your attention, and it’s hard to figure out creative ways to break through the mold on that. I also think there are certain things, for example, in the beginning of this interview we talked about SiriusXM or even nugs.net are established media outlets that have a following already built-in, so we are very fortunate to get into both of those this year. That’s already been a huge change for us. You know, it’s not a record deal, or Sony, or getting an album deal but how people listen to music these days, the current culture of streaming and internet radio, these things that are so different from record deals are the best possible opportunities we have for a wider audience that is not a record deal.

STS: Totally. It’s the same way as tape trading back in the day, but we are trading digitally now. In some ways it’s weird, because when you were trading tapes, you built personal friendships, like when I used to trade tapes, I still have friends for twenty years I used to trade with. I think the internet has taken away some of the personal part of it, but at the same time it’s opened the access to so much music which is unbelievable so it’s a trade-off.

MG: I completely agree and I think that is definitely the case. It’s funny you mention the taping because it is still a part of our community too. There are tapers that come out and tape all of our shows. Of course, we are posting the multi-track stuff, that is our thing, but I love that tapers come out and I encourage that still because I do like that community because when I first got into jam bands, that was a thing for me too, finding stuff, check this moe. show, check out this Umphrey’s show, Phish show, or whatever. It’s funny too, because with the internet there’s this impersonality, but I am also finding a lot of our fans are starting their connection on there, like on our fan page, they will connect there and say, “Hey, let’s meet up at a show.” And they will, and then become friends that way and all of a sudden it becomes an interesting network of Aqueous fans. So, I think that all of those things are changing and that there are the negative aspects to it, but people still find ways to communicate directly. Sometimes. And I think that is a good thing.

STS: Adaptation, in other words…

MG: Exactly, getting with the times and trying to figure it out.

STS: When you guys are writing, do you look back? I mean, you are saying you are re-listening to some of your shows, when you are writing songs, do you pinpoint something and say, “this certain jam may be built up to song in some way?” So, I guess, I am asking, how do you go about your songwriting?

MG: Yeah, that’s a good question. I would say there has not really been a time where we pulled something that happened in a live show and made a song out of that really. Where that has happened, there have been some sessions where we will just get together in a rehearsal space and record that. Where it is a little more focused and it’s more open jamming as opposed to jamming in the songs and stuff like that. Sometimes we’ll record those and hear a section that was really cool and be like, “Hey, this is usable” and spend some time going through those recordings and see if anything cool came out of that.

Mostly, the writing is a completely dedicated process that is kind of its own thing away from the live shows. The thing about Aqueous that is kind of cool is that everyone writes. I mean that in the sense that everyone contributes. In a lot of ways, people may not assume, but our bassist, Evan, writes a lot of our lyrics. He will come in with a whole tune and maybe I will arrange it or work out vocal melodies, stuff like that. Or, I will have something that is maybe fifty percent done and be like, “Hey Dave, what should I do with this,” and he will be like “do this with it” and that might inspire me to do something else with it and it’s pretty democratic. I feel like, especially over the years, it has become more and more involved with all three or four of us writing at once or at least bringing ideas to us or they are all the way written. I think for me, personally, a few years back I might have written a lot more it myself and say, “hey, play these parts or try this part,” but I realized the whole point of being in a band is giving voice to what each band member has and that’s what makes it sound the way it sounds is everybody’s unique contribution.

Basically, over the years, we have tried to figure out way to streamline that. You mentioned the technology a little bit in our conversation, so using things like Garage Band on a MacPro or iPad and making a demo at my apartment or somewhere down the road and sending it to our band’s e-mail, everyone can digest it on their own time and then come up with ideas on their own time, and then we will all come together once everyone has a general idea of some of the ideas that are present and then we will work on it together. They will say, “I came up with this, what do you think?” and then bounce it off each other and ultimately whittle it down to what we think is the best or most necessary stuff for the purposes of a song.

I think for us, honestly, being in the jam scene, people focus so much on the live stuff, but we are influenced by and care so much about song composition, and good songwriting and coming up with hooky melodies, and things that people can relate to and also writing things that are honest and real for us and actually writing about things that are happening in our life; some difficulties. That is something that is important to us too, we don’t try to write songs that are meant for jamming but songs that later on, we can explore jamming. I don’t want to write something that only exists so you can get to a jam section. If anything, I want to write something that holds up on its own as a tune, and then, we can explore it later.

STS: Are you constantly writing? As far as recording and writing do you keep them separate? I mean, constantly writing with plans to record later, away from touring, where we are going to block out time and enter a studio?

MG: It comes down to context. Depending on how much time we have, or what our schedule looks like, because a lot of the writing will happen while we are out there on the road, or we work out stuff when we can. It is tough because being on the road as often as we are, it’s very busy out there. You have this schedule where you wake up and you drive, you load in, and you soundcheck, then you eat and play the show and you pack up and you just do that over and over. That leaves me really only two or three hours in a day when we are doing shows. We use that time to rehearse — to make sure that show that evening is super ready, make sure we are going to be nailing all the parts, or if we are playing newer songs or covers, we are extra ready for that. We tend to block off time for writing, at rehearsals setting aside time for it.

This year is interesting because we have actually been recording for some of the year while we are off and we just booked more studio time. We have been doing something we have never done before which is recording songs no one has ever heard. Typically what we do as part of our process has been to play them live for a while and debut them in that scenario and see what works and feel out that energy of the tunes and whittle it down through that process. It has always worked for us, and we like that, but we have never really released a nice studio recording of tunes no one has ever heard yet. We are doing that right now, and actually have a few recorded and we’re slated to record a few more. That is an exciting thing and a new challenge for us. It’s a little less certain, there has been less time for them to marinate, and I kind of like that. We have yielded some really interesting results already that are new for us, but also still seem to maintain the things people like about our music. So that’s really great, trying something new and it will be exciting to feel out how we release that stuff.

A big conversation that we have been having is that a full length album these days is so tough because people don’t seem to have the attention span necessarily to listen to ten or twelve tracks in a row. I know some artists, for example, this is a funny topic at the moment because he plays with Dead and Company, but John Mayer actually released a new album this year and he did it in two ways, he did a part one and a part two. His whole thing was he wanted everyone to take the time to get to know each song as opposed to having ten tracks in front of you, you probably aren’t going to listen to all of them, whereas if you only have four, that is enough to keep your attention, and I thought that was an interesting idea, because I notice that is the thing with albums. We are unsure about what we are going to do in terms of how or when we release these new studio tracks, but some are done and that is really exciting and I don’t know, one day maybe we will just put them out. Not exactly sure of the vision yet, but it is being worked out, and we will go back to the studio in a few weeks.

STS: I like that approach because there is an element of surprise, like, what am I going to think of this? I think it’s pretty cool. Even with covers, I would be remiss not to mention your “coverfest” of the past couple weeks…At Summer Camp Music Festival, Aqueous did a couple of spots on your own but also you did Green Day’s album Dookie with Ryan Stasik and Kris Meyers from Umphrey’s McGee. My question there would be, and I haven’t heard it yet, so I can’t comment musically, but I am wondering how did that come about and what was that like as far as prep and rehearsal?

MG: That’s funny you ask that because it really has been consuming all of my time and my head space for the past month. It has been fucking awesome and super fun. So basically, I was talking with our manager a few months back about doing a cool late night project at Summer Camp and we were tossing around ideas for about a month back and forth about what might work for that slot and what might be interesting or unique or kind of fun, and eventually we came to the idea of let’s do or put together a throwback rock or nostalgia rock thing. There were a lot of super fun rock albums that came out in the 90s, and I grew up skateboarding and into a lot of the punk, pop-punk and ska and all of that stuff, and I have found surprisingly, a lot of the jam kids had that same come-up.

So, in short, I was trying to put together a band and I wanted to do it as a trio. I thought that would be the vibe, and we ultimately settled on Green Day’s Dookie because that is the quintessential, angst-y, teen rock album in the 90s. It’s a classic and felt like the right thing to do. It was initially supposed to be me and the guys from Turkuaz. It was going to be me and Mikey Carruba and Taylor Shell, their bassist, but actually, a scheduling conflict prevented them from being available a little later when we were figuring it out. So, I was like, I really want to do this project, maybe we can put some feelers out to see if we knew any other musicians available at that time. I was thinking some of my guys and long story short, we reached out and Stasik expressed interest in wanting to do it, and I thought, “Wow, that is so cool, that’s amazing.” Then I was like, if he’s down, let’s try to find a drummer, and the next message I get is Stasik really wants to bring Kris with him, and I am like, “Yeah! Sure, 150%!” I thought that was a really cool thing because A) They trusted me to do this project and B) they were interested in doing this project. I was very influenced by Umphrey’s and look up to them as musicians and as people, so that was a cool opportunity for me.

Photo by Ryan Bress

Honestly, so far in my probably fifteen years of playing music, that set, in particular was a life highlight. That music is so fun, and it’s nostalgic, and of course playing with people you look up to was a big deal. We had coordinated a couple of rehearsal sessions in that time; Aqueous opened for Umphrey’s a few weeks back in Baltimore, so I met them early and rehearsed in their dressing room then and we rehearsed on-site at Summer Camp the day of just to make sure we were tight on it. Once I got that opportunity it was really, really important for me to spend as much time as I possibly could prepping to the point where I literally I woke up every day and ran through the entire album. I would play the entire album, but not playing to the album; so I was super ready. I feel like something like that, you only get those opportunities so many times, so for me, it’s important to always do the best job I can possibly do and put the most work that I can, so literally, I played it every day. The thing that was fun too was we picked a bunch of other songs and between the fifteen songs on Dookie and the other ones we chose, we ended up with about thirty tunes.

So, it was a lot of content to drill into my head, especially playing as a trio. It was a unique challenge for me. It was a lot of remembering lyrics. I sang every tune on Dookie and then Kris and I split the duties on the rest of them, but I didn’t want to depend on lyric sheets or need any of that, so I was really studying the stuff and getting inside of it, just listening to the album as much as I could and played it as much as I could. It was an amazing challenge, and of course, a little nerve-wracking to get in a room with those guys, but they are the kindest, coolest dudes and their professionalism, and musicianship, and work ethic is pretty obvious just looking at Umphrey’s music but it was even more validating that they were very kind and cool, too. To bring in a younger guy like me into their space and be welcoming and it was just a very cool experience.

STS: Let me ask you this, with your recent live Weezer “Only in Dreams” project (with members of Jimkata and John Bown’s Body) over the past weekend, last night being your final night in Buffalo, was that something you were working on before this (the Dookie set) or was it simultaneous?

MG: They were pretty unrelated, but came together within the same week. So, it was a little overwhelming, because I was like, “Oh shit, which should I focus on?” but I kind of did it all. I put my main focus on the Green Day stuff because…it’s funny, Weezer, for me, specifically their two albums, Blue and Pinkerton, were huge for me growing up and I actually knew a lot of that material so that helped a little bit. There was some stuff on there I didn’t know and honestly, some of the Weezer stuff is actually tricky musically speaking.

Green Day was a challenge because of all of the lyrics, but really, ultimately, it’s just power chords and it’s usually a couple of them in each tune and they are all like two and a half or three minutes and it’s not too difficult. But the Weezer stuff is actually pretty challenging, there are all these multi-layer vocals happening and also all of the solos on there, because Green Day doesn’t really have any guitar solos, there are melodies he does during breaks, but Weezer has straight up guitar solos and people who are fans of that band expect to hear those ones note for note. Kind of like if you listen to a Pink Floyd album or you hear someone cover a Pink Floyd song, they should play those exact notes because they are perfect, you know? So that was a challenge to make sure I was doing justice to both projects and be ready for the rehearsals of both projects, both of which happened a little bit before the actual shows.

It was a lot of cramming and spending much of my free time working on one of the two, literally almost all of my free time, because we were still doing Aqueous shows. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t losing too much focus there either. To be honest, between the two Weezer albums and some of the B-sides we did and the thirty songs between the Dookie album and some of the other songs and some of the Aqueous covers we did, I ended up learning fifty-seven songs this month. Which is a new record for me, for sure, but it’s good to know I can do this. I will be honest, it was a little intense, but the projects were so cool and interesting and fun for me, it was absolutely worth it and I would do it again in a second.

STS: So who are you looking at that you would like to do in a similar fashion?

MG: I don’t know, I would definitely like to play more with the moe. guys. At Summer Camp, for our first set on Thursday night, which was super fun, we had an awesome turn out and just had the right vibe, it was later at night, like 11:30 until 1:00 a.m., and Vinnie [Amico] came in and played a Steely Dan tune with us and it was super cool. Actually Joel [Cummins] from Umphrey’s sat in, too. Honestly, I think it’s amazing we have those opportunities because those are big bands and those are bands we grew up looking up to.

Also, there are other musicians we have collaborated with like the (Weezer) thing with the Jimkata guys and the bassist from John Brown’s Body, but I love paying with Rob [Compa], the guitarist from Dopapod, and there are a lot of guys in the scene I would like to do projects like this with. They are always fun, and I feel like beyond the music, the best part is the time you spend hanging, working on the tunes and getting to know each other. That’s the cool part and half the work in doing something like that.

STS: I do hope to see you and moe. together in Buffalo or something, I think that would be great, not that I am planting any seeds, maybe there are already seeds planted. When I first started hearing you guys a couple years ago, I have to cop to only seeing you guys once, but you did a great cover of moe.’s “Plane Crash,” but I hear a lot of moe. in your music, and Umphrey’s and Bisco, as well, but they are Buffalo “hometown heroes,” so to speak. Did they have a big influence on your playing as you started learning guitar?

MG: 100%, though they came in for me as an influence a little bit later, not too much later, I started playing guitar when I was about twelve. So a lot of the bands were ones we just talked about, like doing a Green Day song or a Blink 182 song or something, but then later as I moved along, it became classic rock stuff, just like all Pink Floyd for me, which is all I wanted to do. I was also learning Rush and this and that, but then when I was sixteen, I went and saw moe. They did a free show at an event in Buffalo called Thursday In The Square, and that was the first time I ever saw them and it blew my head off.

I really didn’t know anything about the jam world. I had heard about Phish, actually its funny, my dad listened to Phish when I was young and I was like, “This is lame, I don’t get it at all.” I was like nine, and thought, “This isn’t cool,” and I remember by the time I was in high school, someone gave me Lawn Boy and I was like, “This is so cool,” and then I realized, “Holy shit, this is the album my dad was listening to. That is so awesome.” Then I realized at that moment all the stuff my dad was listening to was the cool stuff. So I saw moe., and Aqueous had just started, we were in high school, and just starting to think what we wanted to play and what we were into and that was like a game changer for me.

That was the first time I saw, at least in person, I saw two guitar players work so well together. I had heard bands like the Allman Brothers, but I had never seen it live; a dual guitar attack like that. Chuck [Garvey] in particular, became a huge influence for me because of his lead playing and his sense of melody and what he does with building his solos. I really love that.

The other thing I think about moe., people don’t think about as much, moe. fans or moe.rons do, is their songwriting is excellent. They write really, really good tunes. You strip away all the jamming and they are just awesome songs; those two things, seeing that dual guitar attack and seeing how they touch on different genres. I remember at that show in particular, because I have gone back and listened to it, they opened with “Seat of My Pants,” which they go through heavy rock, and jazz, and I remember being like, “What the fuck is this?” It was an absolute game changer and moe. for the next couple years for me were it. We used to go to moe.down every year and we ended up playing it, and it was the first big thing we did and a dream come true because I used to pay $110 dollars at Terrapin Station in Buffalo to go see that festival. It is pretty surreal right now to be honest, to get to meet them, hang out with them, and play with them; stuff like that. It’s weird, but very cool, and I feel grateful.

STS: Well, I do appreciate your time, Mike, so I will ask you finally, where do you see Aqueous going? What would you like to see in the near-foreseeable future?

MG: I feel like for us, we never had any real expectations other than sustain it for as long as we can and I think that is where we are headed. I hope to keep being a positive force in the scene and keep building on things and keep the momentum going and see where it goes. We have been given some amazing opportunities this year and I am so grateful. As long as it is moving forward, and we enjoy being around each other and are happy making music with each other, then we are happy. That’s what it has always been. We are longtime friends and we never set out to do, I mean, we never said, “We are going to conquer the world,” it was more like we just like doing it, like friends, and like playing with each other. Now, starting to see some small successes, it’s so exciting, and we are going to do whatever we can to do this as long as we can.

Thanks again to Mike Gantzer for taking some time out to talk to us. You can catch Aqueous out and about this summer, including appearances at Central Park’s Summerstage, Deep Roots Mountain Revival, Tumble Down, and the Peach Music Festival. Visit the band’s official website here for complete tour listings and details.

Cover photo by Filip Zalewski

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