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Thursday, October 06, 2022

Southpaw is a band relatively new to Gainesville’s music scene, releasing its first demo record this month. The emo/punk band, with Joshua Galarneau on lead vocals/rhythm guitar, Jason Hubner on lead guitar, Bo Coker on bass/backing vocals and Kenneth Noble on drums, will play the Hardback Cafe on July 16 to debut the demo. I sat down with Galarneau to talk about the band’s start and its increasing success.

Kirsten Chuba: How did Southpaw get started?

Joshua Galarneau: Southpaw actually began as an offshoot from “Fever Dreams,” an acoustic duo performed by Jason and Josh. After a few years, we wanted to develop our act into a full band. Reaching out to Bo, who we have known from the local scene, we began adding bass and backing vocals. After some online searching, we found our drummer, Kenneth. We attempted to develop “Fever Dreams” into a full arrangement but fell a bit short in the process. The songs didn’t really translate as well as we had hoped, so we started fresh with new material. From that, our first song “Shipwrecked,” available on the new demo, was written.

KC: How would you describe your sound?

JG: Our sound is a mixture of clean ambient guitar riffs that transition to overdriven chords, punchy bass lines and catchy leads. The drums range from foot-tapping beats to heavy-hitting fills, while the vocals are subtle and calm one moment and then shift to gut-wrenching yells the next. Our lyrics are emotionally charged, bringing in our emo roots, while our shifting time signatures and dynamic chord structures bring out our post-punk, post-hardcore influences. Some of our most notable influences include Brand New, Sunny Day Real Estate, Minus the Bear, Further Seems Forever, Boy Sets Fire and Ghosts & Vodka.

KC: What has your show/tour schedule been like?

JG: After writing together for about seven months, we played our first show at Market Street back in May of this year. Since then, we’ve also played Hardback and The Backyard. For now, we are focused on breaking into the local scene and getting as many people to hear us as possible while continuing to work toward a full album. We’re looking forward to returning to Hardback for our July 16 demo release show. It’s a great venue and is very much part of Gainesville’s music history. After this show, we plan to focus on writing and finishing some new songs we’ve been working on. Later this year we will be looking to play more around Gainesville and start hitting some out-of-town venues around Florida. By early next year we hope to be recording a full-length and hitting the road for some small tours.

KC: What can people expect from your upcoming show at the Hardback?

JG: The show will be lots of fun, and we are really excited to share the stage with Pathos, Pathos, Elusion and Kindergarten Cop. All four bands are different styles, so there will be a little something for everyone. We won’t be selling any physical copies of the new release at the show, but we will have info on where it can be downloaded online. We may also have a surprise or two in store for the night.

KC: Can you talk about your upcoming demo?

JG: The demo, “Rookie Season,” is our first release as a band. We’d like to thank David Michael Bell of Haunted Muscle Beach Studios for recording and mastering. Although we are only releasing two tracks with this demo, we hope it will give people a taste of things to come from Southpaw. The first track, “Shipwrecked,” is about finding yourself repeating a situation and expecting a different outcome. “Tired Legs,” the second track, is about the seemingly endless, day-to-day grind that can wear us all down.

KC: What do you think about the Gainesville music scene, especially for local bands?

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JG: Quoting Less Than Jake, we are definitely living in “Gainesville, rock city!” We personally love the music diversity here, and all of Southpaw’s members have been very active in the scene over the past decade. There are so many talented acts that come out of Gainesville, and every year there seems to be something new. Almost any night of the week you can head downtown to any number of venues and hear anything from new and original artists to cover bands. Some of our closest friends are members of various bands in town, including NoMore, Dikembe, Thatshisface, Velocirapture, Consent, Jenarchy and Boyfriend Material. We hope the scene continues to flourish and that whether you are a college student, a local that’s been around or new in town, that you get out there and support the local scene!

Southpaw’s Hardback show on July 16 will also feature band Elusion, Kindergarten Cop and Pathos, Pathos. Doors open at 9 p.m. for the 10 p.m. show.

Know of any other local bands I should check out? Send Kirsten an email at kchuba@alligator.org.

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