Earlier this month, The Gloom In The Corner gave us “Violence”; a relentless and energetic theme song for the entity of ‘Gloom’. It’s story that drives the Melbourne band’s music, and Gloom is a fixture that’s been there from the beginning. By no means a tale that can be explained in 25 words or less, when it comes to Gloom, perhaps picture a dark cloud of possession that hangs over vulnerable souls and manipulates them like puppets.
The supernatural disease is just one of the many happenings in the world of The Gloom In The Corner, but it’s a very important one. As far as The Gloom In The Corner’s lore goes, one of the main characters (Julian ‘Jay’ Hardy) has been under the grips of Gloom over multiple musical releases, with other characters involved in the process. With things most recently unfolding in the twisting and turning storyline of The Gloom In The Corner’s EP Flesh & Bones, Jay’s possession via Gloom seemed to hit a conclusive peak… but not completely.
We discovered in our review that Flesh & Bones revealed the startling twist that bad guy Sherlock Bones was Jay’s Gloom all along, and by extension meant that Jay had done some pretty horrifying things to people he cared about. In the final three songs of the EP, Sherlock’s murderousness seemed to soften, and Jay’s shame of having killed his girlfriend Rachel surfaces clearly. Those two developments combined seemed to show the ‘curse’ of the Gloom being broken. Final track “Can’t Reach The Sun” saw a showdown between Sherlock and Jay, where a seal of protection was placed upon Jay to prevent his consumption by Sherlock ever again. Neat and tidy, right?
Well despite that seeming to be somewhat final, The Gloom In The Corner sought for a greater conclusion. There were some questions remaining about the whereabouts of Sherlock, for example. Speaking over the phone with vocalist Mikey Arthur, he described that Sherlock is technically still “kind of just hanging around in Jay’s head”, and that the fact he is still alive was something he was keen to wrap up.
The Gloom In The Corner have three standalone singles to do that wrapping up – one released already, and two more to come – with Mikey describing them collectively as “a last chapter and an epilogue”. The first of the three is “Violence”; intended to be a live introduction to the band instead of the swaggering “Misanthropic”. Mikey said that the band like to see “Violence” as their theme song or introduction song. Elaborating, he says “It’s not about any Gloom in any specific point in time, it’s just telling you what a Gloom is, what the entity is, and also just serves as an introduction to us as a band as well. As much as I love “Misanthropic” being that intro song, it’s also a long song by our books. We try to keep our songs three and a half minutes to four minutes, with the exception of songs like “D.I.M.A”.”
“Violence” now serves as a snapshot of The Gloom In The Corner, and a way that they’re happy to be introduced to new ears. Seeming fresher of sound in comparison to songs to date, Mikey described how the band “pushed boundaries a little bit and tried to evolve” by way of sound, but also how it just came naturally. He says “I feel like it went in a way we felt naturally. It feels natural to go into this instead of forcing something we’ve already done before or rehashing something we’ve done before in a certain way. It feels fresh but it also feels like what we normally sound like at the same time, just big riffs, big breakdowns, that whole kind of thing.”
Of the two songs to come, Mikey was relatively tight-lipped, keen to keep some surprises up the band’s sleeves, but shared “I can say Sherlock has a song and Jay has a song, and that’s about the extent of what I can tell you. So those remaining songs are very character-based as opposed to “Violence”.” After the seal that “Can’t Reach The Sun” put in place, we can assume that Jay will finally be in full control. But as to whether Jay’s storyline will continue in the future? “He might. He might not. We’ll just have to wait and see. [laughs]”
The Gloom In The Corner saw a slight line-up change with the departure of guitarist Martin Wood, who now plays in Dealer. Where Martin did have input with the music, Mikey shared that the greater impact of Martin leaving the band will be with their collective aesthetic. Martin had a lot to do with The Gloom In The Corner’s image, visual content, and presentation on social media. Now without Martin, fans can expect a more simplistic image compared to what they’d seen previously. In Mikey’s words, “You look at bands like Dealer or Alpha Wolf, it’s like ‘Okay, cool, I get that whole streetwear thing,’ whereas with us we’re a weird band with a weird concept. For us to wear streetwear it doesn’t really suit.”
Keeping it to a simple black and red so far, Mikey has his bandmates (guitarist Matt Stevens, drummer Nic Haberle, and bassist Paul Musolino) watching to ensure he doesn’t succumb to turtlenecks (“Because I love turtlenecks,” he says). Mikey’s keen for the image to be more simplistic so that they’re able to direct focus in whichever way they see fit. With “Violence” for example, they sought simplicity, with only the artwork tying in to a wider story. Created by Sam Mayle, The Gloom In The Corner have worked with him since Homecoming, and Mikey describes it as having been “an absolute pleasure”.
As suggested by what is visible in the artwork, there’s a Last Supper style of image being gradually built by the artwork of the three singles. Adding that he’s unsure if he should have said so specifically, Mikey shared that the far right of the image is to come with the second single, and the final single revealing the centre of the image. Seeming like this middle image promises to show something very significant, Mikey laughed but gave nothing away. He agreed with my assumption that the Last Supper imagery was fitting for easing out of the story so far and into something else. Saying “That’s partially why we went with that representation as well. It’s a good subtle way to nod to the fact that this arc of the story is ending.”
On signing with Collision Course Records, Mikey says he’s “super excited” about it, with the two parties having been waiting for the right timing to connect. The Gloom In The Corner are the first band on board, and Mikey reiterated his appreciation for the uniqueness of how they create music being supported by Collision Course’s Tim Price. Describing him as “awesome to work with”, Mikey says that he “fully understands the fact we’re a weird, goofy, geeky band, that we have weird, goofy, geeky concepts.”
With the mention of shedding streetwear to embrace their weirdness via their aesthetic, and this flag-flying of their goofiness, I had to wonder if we’d perhaps be seeing a far more goofy version of The Gloom In The Corner in the future. Mikey feels like the characters of the story have some goofiness already, and that as time goes on, the band are in a more capable position to share this. He says “I try to subtly hint at the fact that there’s a hint of comedic effect to the story, through music videos and stuff. Just from like the way that Sherlock acts in “Misanthropic” and at the very end of “Villain”. We have that scene between him and Jay where he just gives him a one-off line to piss him off, like that kind of thing. I always picture the story having a little bit more… not substance necessarily, but each character has a little more character than what the songs are saying.”
Talking about their growth as a band, Mikey says he’s keen to show off the individual characters of their story a bit more, in creative ways outside of music videos. I’m keen to see what this is about, given that Mikey gave the unspoken impression there were things he could not talk about (yet).
Heading back to our respective COVID-19 isolation cocoons then, I now wait to see what the new singles will bring by way of these key characters in The Gloom In The Corner’s story. I leave you with Mikey’s description of isolation life: “It’s like Under The Dome, but there’s no dome, and nothing exciting is happening.”