G.

There’s a ‘G’ everywhere these days. Every show I go to, I see the bold mark, stark white on Black vinyl windbreakers. Online, the hashtag is unabashedly local: #GideonAL. Roll tide.

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Photo by Matthew Defeo

Gideon has been rolling. They’re at the forefront of a spiritual undercurrent, moving the needle for a group of faith-based acts plowing their way throughout the country, beacons of light, loud and proud, bringing a message of love to every mosher individually.

The band’s newest album, Calloused, is a polished, modern, sharp work of hardcore. When I first starting listening to Gideon, they were a little younger and a little looser, but the heart of hardcore has always been just that: heart. Gideon has it. They have a Crimson tidal wave of it, and they bring it with them everywhere they go.

If Calloused is your first go at Gideon, the record is a mature version of the band. In a short amount of time, they’ve grown leaps and bounds, having perfected the new breed of hardcore, not just retaining a fan base but adding to it every day. There was a fun selflessness about Gideon’s Costs-era on Strike First Records. Now, just like their music, they’re better versions of themselves. If you look back at this era in music history, Calloused could easily be plucked as representative of the music. Their fans are also the perfect representation of the love and passion an audience can have when they find a band they connect with.

As the band launches into the cycle of their third album, they’ll enter into a glorious era. They’re older but they’re not old. They’re wiser but they’re students, always learning. They’re getting asked for help and realizing they know the answers. It’s good to be Gideon. Plus, God always shines on Alabama.


We’ll start off with catching up what you guys are doing right now. Are you guys already on your tour with Being As An Ocean and Wolves At The Gate and Fit For A King and all them?
Yup. Yeah, we’re on that tour.

How’s the tour been going?
The tour has been so sweet. It has been better than we could have imagined. Every day has been great. We’re pumped that we have so many more shows still left. It’s been good.

How do the bands get along? You all get along well? Is it a pretty good unit?
Yeah. We had met or already knew everybody on the tour before the first day. Everybody is cool. It’s one of those… Everyone gets along and hangs out afterwards.

Why don’t you walk me through a little bit about what’s going through your mindset as a band during the last couple of years? You guys have really started to get more popular. What do you guys think about that? How’s that been for you guys?
I guess since the release of Milestone we just wanted to focus and try to make sure that we did everything we could to keep advancing the band and our popularity. We were lucky enough to get opportunities to tour with a few bigger acts. They really helped us push that along.

We thought Calloused was a good, straightforward, in-your-face title, and it happened to be in the lyrics for the song that we really wanted to release first, and it all just fell together. — Tyler Riley

I think that we were all just determined to make this thing real, to show people what we were all about.

Honestly, we’ve just been lucky enough to gain a lot of fans in the past couple of years. It’s just been really great. We don’t even know, really, what we did to earn it or whatever. We just try to keep trucking along, you know?

Then, writing a new album is always in the back of our heads. We’re just so busy. Being the third album, there’s a little bit of pressure. Every album has pressure, but it’s just our own way of thinking, “Yeah, we got to make sure we do something brand new they’ll love for that third record.” We’re just trying to do our thing and hope that people will stay with us, keep coming, and keep growing with us.

Let’s first talk about the album title, Calloused. That’s a strong word, and it can mean many different things. What were you guys going for with that word, and how did that become the name of the album?
We had a few tracks on the record about, basically, pushing through hardship and being better for it. We were trying to think of something that would be short, to the point and something that would really get across that we’re trying to grow, that we learn from our mistakes and all of that.

We thought Calloused was a good, straightforward, in-your-face title, and it happened to be in the lyrics for the song that we really wanted to release first, and it all just fell together. We thought, “Perfect title for a heavy band.”

Yeah. Calloused, in this sense, from what I was seeing, is it not necessarily a negative thing? It’s like a positive thing maybe?
For sure.

That’s what I was sensing. I just wanted to make sure that was correct.
It could be used in a negative way I guess, but in this instance it means just being stronger than before because of what you’ve dealt with, and pushing through it.

Let’s talk about that song, “Calloused,” too, which has already been released. Is that a personal story for members or a member in the band? What’s the background behind that?
I think that whenever we start it, our drummer Jake has the biggest part in the lyrics for sure. He does most of the lyrics. We were all talking, like, “We want something that’s going to pump people up and inspire people to just get through their problems, give them motivation to do it.” It wasn’t a super-personal song — and there are several that are — but that particular one I don’t think had to do with a specific situation.

You did say that some of the songs are more personal, though? There are a couple that might be more like a personal story or a personal struggle?
Yeah. There’s one song called… I always forget the name of it. I’m always thinking about working titles. We really haven’t played it, yet.

There’s a song called “World of Hurt.” That song is more of a few of our experiences with family members contemplating suicide or attempting suicide. That one’s a little more personal for sure. We made the song about one person, but it really is just a whole experience of a couple of us. That one’s pretty personal. It’s one of our bigger tracks from the record.

Let’s talk about that too, real quick. I’ve noticed, several interviews I’ve done recently, there’s recent album releases — especially in the metal genre, even just the rock genre — the topic of suicide has been discussed a lot. Do you think, is this a modern issue that’s elevating with you? Do you hear a lot of your fans or any listeners talk about it a lot? What are your thoughts on that?
Death, in general, has been a thing that’s just been more apparent to us, as a band, lately. In the past couple of years, we had a couple of people close to all of us pass away. It really got us all thinking about what kind of influence we’ve had, as a band.

We had a couple fans get in a car wreck on the way home from one of the shows we played. We also had a friend from back home that passed away. It just all came to a head when we were writing the record, or before we even wrote the record.

I know we wanted to make some sort of effort to show people that there’s hope out there, and also for people to be aware that their friends might be struggling with depression and thoughts of suicide, so you could be there for your friend.

Yeah, we definitely see it. It’s just one of those things that we started noticing a lot more in the past couple of years, so I think you’re right. It’s a modern thing that we’re dealing with right now, for sure.

We had a couple fans get in a car wreck on the way home from one of the shows we played. We also had a friend from back home that passed away. It just all came to a head when we were writing the record. — Tyler Riley

The song “Survive,” with Caleb Shomo of Beartooth. How did that collaboration come out?
We’ve met Caleb a couple times. I think the first time we met him in person was when we were on tour, then we met him at a show and he was like, “Hey man, I like your band.”

We were like, “We’ll check out your band,” because they were pretty new at the time. We hadn’t had a chance to check them out. Now they’ve been killing it, and we’re all into it. We haven’t toured together yet, but it’s one of those mutual respect things where we both respect what each other’s bands are doing. When we were trying to figure out what we wanted to do for a partner, we were like, “Hey well, we know that dude’s into what we’re doing. He might say yes.” It was cool. We sent him the part. We had a pretty tight deadline on our record and he really made it happen. He did it really well.

We were stoked. Yeah.

Wow, that’s great. Did you guys collaborate lyrically too, or is it more just using his vocals?
We sent him a part. (Gideon vocalist) Dan had originally recorded it. We told him which parts to record, and I’m pretty sure he did it mostly the same, but put his spin on it.

You guys think a tour with Beartooth might be in the future?
Yeah, we hope so. We almost did something with them one time, and it just didn’t work out. We wish it would have, but hopefully in the future we can do something together.

You guys worked with Will Putney as well at The Machine Shop. How was that experience?
It was great. We loved him. He’s known for his producing skills. When you’re not sure what to do with a part, he always has an idea. He was great to work with overall, and he has one of the best ears in the industry, we think.

Yeah, he really killed it for us. We were stoked. He helped a lot. We toured with most of the bands that have recorded with him, and everybody we talked to was just like, “Man, you guys got to get with him.” We were like, “Yeah.” Kept checking him out over time, and finally got in and got some time with him. It was perfect. It was everything we could hope for.

That’s awesome. Here’s a more fun question. If you guys could tour with a disbanded band, is there any band from the past you would have liked to have toured with?
(Laughs) Yeah, I’m sure there are probably tons. I guess one that would be cool if we could have toured with, like Bury Your Dead in their heyday. That would have been really cool. Our ultimate band we would want to tour with are bands that are still going, like Hatebreed and Sevendust, those kind of bands.

I hear a lot of people compare you guys to Hatebreed, too. That would be a really cool tour. I think that would be really cool.
Oh, yeah, that would be really fun for us. Recently Jamey Jasta had us on his podcast.

Yeah? That’s awesome.
That was really cool. That felt really cool. We actually wanted to get him on our record, and the timing didn’t… We didn’t get it back in time. Our deadline was too tight. He actually talked about that on his podcast.

Oh yeah?
Yeah. We just didn’t get it all done in time. Maybe next time, hopefully. We haven’t even met him yet, but hopefully we’d tour with those guys sometime.

Yeah, that would be one exciting tour, for sure. What would you like to do with this new album? What is your goal? What would you like to see happen with this album?
I guess, as with most people’s albums, that a big goal would be just for it to spread, for more people to hear it. More and more people. I think that’s the biggest goal. We want people to hear this album, and we want to travel on it. There are a lot of places we’ve wanted to travel we haven’t had the chance to yet. Hopefully this album brings that to life.

We haven’t played all of the states in the United States of America, so it would be cool if we could do that. That would be sweet. Hit Alaska and Hawaii, and a couple others.

(Laughs) Yeah, does anyone ever go to Alaska?
Yeah, a couple people. Yeah, some bands do. It doesn’t happen that often, but there are people who bring bands over. That would be cool, if we could do that.
Mostly it’s just exposure, and it would be cool if we could get to a crowd, get accepted by some of our favorite bands’ crowds, like Hatebreed and Sevendust’s followings up there. That would be the best.

Going back to your tour, how long does the current tour run?
The tour is about five weeks long, and I believe we’re like a week in, so we’ve got, like, four more weeks. I can’t remember the actual exact date. I think the thirteenth is the last week that we put that on the patch, but we have about four more weeks. It’s a pretty long one.

Before I wrap up, anything else you’d like to add about the album or anything like that you’d like to talk about?
The new album’s out on Oct. 14. Pay attention to a couple of these tracks. There’s a song called “Expose,” and that one’s a lot about bringing to light to the problem of suicide. The song “World of Hurt” is also a more personal look at that. Two different tracks on it are about that. Pay attention to those two.
And thanks for doing this interview. Yeah.

Absolutely. I appreciate your time.
Yeah, of course.

Gideon was posted on October 20, 2014 for HM Magazine and authored by .