Since 2002, Adam Stephens (guitar/vocals/harmonica) and Tyson Vogel (drums/vocals) began making noise at house parties and on street corners they’ve slowly been carving out their own creative space. In a world where bigger is often considered better and quality is sacrificed with ease, Two Gallants have risen against the tide with their cathartic, stripped-down sound and depth of material to forge an intimate bond with a wide array of fans.
“The intensity of our interaction while playing is clearly quite different” explains Stephens. “I think it’s the product of both of us pushing our own selves so hard and so far that out of necessity we have to lean upon each other to keep from flying off the track.”There is no substitute for an honest, deep connection built on trust and respect. Through the shared experience of growing up together in San Francisco, Two Gallants have pushed each other into a unique and timeless spectrum of music. They craft emotional, visceral, intelligent songs that remind us of America’s folk, country, and blues traditions but are fuelled with the energy of punk. Through Stephens’ first-person narratives, murder ballads, and drunken outlaw tales, Two Gallants have tapped into the universal struggle of the human condition as they channel the pain of men twice their age.
Speaking of their on-stage relationship, Stephens says, “[As a guitar player] I stick to the basic structure of the song, Tyson listens to the changes in vocals and melody; he draws them out and intensifies them. Tyson has a plan but it never grows old and lost in routine.” While Vogel’s unorthodox drumming and gut-wrenching support vocals give the songs life, it’s Stephens’ words that give them a soul. “There’s something about the way he sees things” says Vogel. “He’s very convicted, clear and emotionally pregnant. There’s a real unique clarity and truth to what he sees and how he puts that forward through music and writing.”
As the band continued to grow, tour, and write new songs, they found a home at the seminal indie label Saddle Creek in both the US and Europe. Always known as a record label that does things their own way, the fertile grounds of Saddle Creek have provided Two Gallants with the freedom to grow as they constantly work to refine their craft. In response to their nearly 200 international shows last year and two solid albums (2004’s The Throes and 2006’s What The Toll Tells) Two Gallants have garnered remarkable praise in almost every major music publication including MOJO, Rolling Stone, Harp, Paste, Uncut, Pitchfork, Vice, NME, to name a few. But it’s the pair of 2007 releases, the acoustic EP Scenery of Farewell and self-titled third full-length, that finds the band coming of age in the studio. “The live context is always where we’ve felt the most comfortable, it’s where the magic or the spiritual side of things comes in” offers Vogel; “where as recording has taken some warming up to, until now.”
After working with Alex Newport (Mars Volta, At the Drive-In) on a new mix of The Throes, they developed a creative compatibility and asked him to produce their next two albums. By combining Newport’s personality, experience as a musician and recording engineer with a new batch of songs the band had written specifically for the new record, Two Gallants have created their most fully-realized, cohesive piece of work to date.
While the new album documents the band’s growth and maturity, as Stephens says, “This record was a bit of a return to our beginnings. I think that’s why we decided to have it stay simple and self-titled.” By harnessing the power of what they do live and relying on each other, Two Gallants expands on what makes this band so special: their exceptional songwriting and raw chemistry.