Interview with vocalist/guitarist Aaron Gossett | By Tim Anderl
Squeezing into a particular mold or preconceived box isn’t the strong suit of Atlanta’s Blis., who released their debut full-length, No One Loves You, via Sargent House on Oct. 6. Unfortunately, the experience is nothing new for vocalist and guitarist Aaron Gossett. “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: we’ve never felt a lot of love from Atlanta,” he admits. “I don’t exactly fit the parameters of the average person playing our style of music in this city. I’ve always felt [like an outcast] from our local scene due to things that are out of my control, if you know what I mean. That’s Georgia for you.”
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Blis.’ debut is a painfully confessional ground zero where Gossett explores his challenges and struggles in depth. Gossett grew up Black in the South, and, to complicate the situation further, his father was either absent or abusive. Then, he fell in love with a white woman whose wealthy, religious family didn’t approve of their relationship. No One Loves You recounts Gossett’s experiences with both gravity and newfound clarity. “The album began as just a few songs that I had been working on for a long time, even before Blis.’ existence, and they all thematically fit the major changes in my life at the time,” Gossett recalls. “The whole album was very topical to what was already going in my life. I didn’t try to be vague in the lyrical delivery on the album, and there is definitely a message there. Anyone that chooses to listen to it will notice that immediately.”
The LP follows two years of arduous work for the quartet, which also includes drummer Jimi Ingman, bassist Luke Jones, and guitarist Josiah Smith. “[First], we did a lot of preproduction on the record at [Ingman’s] house, [then], we rented a cabin in North Georgia in a town called Hiawassee to track the actual record,” Gossett remembers. “We loaded all of our gear to the studio up a quarter-mile-long gravel driveway, because we couldn’t get our trailer up it. That was a really defeating moment for the band,” he laughs. “Not to mention, the empty trailer almost fell on top of us while we were trying to re-hitch it. Not necessarily the best way to start things off. A good friend of ours and the current guitarist of the band Microwave, [Travis Hill], engineered the entire record. That all happened in November of 2016, and we didn’t end up finishing until February of 2017.”
In addition to writing and completing the record, Gossett experienced an immense change in his personal life that found him falling into a role that eventually became as intuitive as songwriting. “Becoming a father was really hard for me at first due to circumstances that are, once again, out of my control,” he shares. “These days, it feels like second nature to me to be a father. Although there’s definitely a huge pressure to succeed now, I hope for the best with all of our endeavors, and I look forward to all the opportunities this band will bring me. Maybe, as soon as he’s old enough, Atticus can come see us play one day.”
Aside from the hope that his son will someday experience his music firsthand, Gossett’s goals for Blis. are simple. “Honestly, I just want to be remembered,” he states. “A lot of people will ask for money or fame or some dream tour that may or may not ever happen. I just hope we make a positive impact on music during our time as a band and those influences are able to show from generations well after our band is done.”