Gordita Beach are a new name that we found out about earlier this year… with a pretty cool backstory to boot. Derrick Karg-Zamudio is the architect behind this new band that was hatched in April of 2020. Derrick started off writing and recording the seven songs that would later become their debut EP totally by himself and after each song was completed he would show them to his friend Carl Porcaro who many hardcore fans know from his time playing guitar in Breakdown and Killing Time. To make a long story short when Carl asked Derrick what he wanted to do with the songs Derrick’s reply was that he wanted to re-record the songs with better musicians and in a real studio. Carl went and recruited his Killing Time bandmates in Chris Skowronski (bass) and Anthony Drago (drums) and they did just that with their debut self-titled EP having been released this past August. This interview was originally done live and in person at Gordita Beach’s first show in Brooklyn this past September by Joe Carey of JC Photo Media and was intended to be a video interview with the whole band. We had some problems with the audio however and we scrapped that idea and had a re-do with Derrick via email. Thank you to JC Photo Media for the photos/effort and to John Franko for the lead graphic.
GORDITA BEACH, SEPTEMBER 10, 2021. PHOTO BY: JC PHOTO MEDIA
IE: Hey Derrick. Where are you right now and what would you usually be doing at this time if you weren't answering these questions?
Derrick: Hey Chris, right now I'm in my little music studio (the second room) and if I wasn't doing this I would probably be listening to music or trying to write something new.
IE: Gordita Beach was started in the spring of 2020 and at its start was the epitome of the do it yourself project with you writing and recording everything including using the Garage Band app to get the drum tracks done. As the songs were coming along you were showing them to your friend Carl Porcaro from Breakdown and Killing Time. The fact that he wanted to join in and help you must have been pretty satisfying considering his musical resume. Can you talk about your relationship with Carl and how you met?
Derrick: So Carl and I have been friends for a little while now. I first met him when my old band Get Involved! which included our mutual friend Lars Weiss (Judge, Uppercut), opened for Breakdown at Public Assembly in January 2012. Fast forward a few years and we're both working at the Bell House. We did coat check for The Rub dance party and after the shift and over a beer, we realized that we knew each other through Lars. We quickly became fast friends. Our collaboration started in 2018 when Carl played with my other band Savage Youth. We connected musically and he really liked what I was doing. This is why I decided to share the initial Gordita Beach demos with him. I hadn't written music like this before and I thought who better to judge some hardcore punk then Carl Porcaro? So I showed him "Burn", the first song I wrote and he really dug it, and told me to send him anything else I might write. So I did. It was the boost of confidence I needed, a sense of validation that I was on the right track. So every time I wrote something new, I sent it to Carl and he got more and more excited about it. When I finished “Masque Of The Blue Death” he asked "so when are we recording these songs?" This was during lockdown so I wasn't even thinking that anything could be done before 2021. So I said something along the lines of I don't know, when do you think… and he was like "now!" I was floored and said ok let's fucking do it… but we need a band. Carl said, "I got you covered" and that's how Drago and Chris came into the fold. So basically I showed Carl my songs, and he liked it enough to want to start a new band with me. I feel incredibly humbled and lucky to have such killer musicians and such good dudes backing me up.
Carl Porcaro, Gordita Beach guitarist:
"I met Derrick when he was in the band Get Involved with my buddy Lars and shortly after we ended up working together at the Bell House. I knew he was a hardcore kid but I hadn't heard him fully express it in his own music until he passed me the Gordita Beach demos. The speed and intensity of the music along with the directness and passion of the lyrics really moved me and I knew I wanted to be a part of it. The group of songs he recorded by himself at home already sounded like a band but I figured that me and a couple of friends (Drago and Chris) could animate and elevate it. So far so good. The first show couldn't have come off any better and we have another coming up in Jan '22. Derrick wrote a couple of more songs since the EP was recording that we have in the live set and both are short and fierce. I hope we keep that direction intact as the band sound continues to develop with more shows and recordings."
GORDITA BEACH @ THE NEST, BROOKLYN, NY, SEPTEMBER 10, 2021. PHOTO BY: JC PHOTO MEDIA
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IE: Since your three other band members have been playing together for a while with Killing Time it seems like it was a pretty obvious choice for Carl to get Chris and Drago involved to fill two positions of need.
Derrick: Chris and Drago joining was just as organic as Carl joining. I think Carl already had them in mind. Apparently he sent them the tracks without any explanation and both of them were into it, without knowing it was me or who I was. Then when it came time to assemble the band they already knew the songs and were psyched to start something new. I think they joined within a week of each other. Maybe even the same week.
Anthony Drago, Gordita Beach drummer:
“The first thing that I thought was, how cool it would be to just jump into this thing. No writing, no arranging, no comparisons and no expectations. Just jumping into it as a drummer and going full throttle.”
IE: You guys put out a 7 song digital EP in August which is the band’s first release. For people who haven't checked you guys out yet what can they expect style wise from Gordita Beach?
Derrick: I think people can expect fast, furious early 80’s hardcore punk in the vein of early Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Minor Threat and Agnostic Front. Basically early 80’s West Coast meets DC meets NYHC.
CLICK BELOW TO STREAM OR DOWNLOAD THE GORDITA BEACH EP
IE: You went into your first show on September 10th with just 7 minutes of recorded material to play but we were pleasantly surprised by getting 3 new songs played as well as a Misfits cover of “Die Die My Darling”. The three newer songs also had more going on in the way of dance/mosh parts. Care to comment on the newer songs that debuted after the EP came out?
Derrick: I'm really psyched about the newer songs. I'm always inspired by what's going on in our country and the world, so all three of the songs are commentary on life at the moment. The song “Unity” is about… wait for it... unity! I wanted to slow things down a bit, and write a song about coming together as people, regardless of where we come from or who we are. “Colorado City” is a straight up fuck you to the former mayor of Colorado City, Texas. This was when large parts of Texas lost power and people froze to death and this guy writes this insanely horrific Facebook post about being sick of giving people handouts and people need to take responsibility for their own deaths and actions. It infuriated me how insensitive this creature was. So I wrote a superfast fuck you song. The words to the verses are his actual words and sentences mostly. “Falter” is the newest one and it's about mental health. I think a lot of people are hurting and don't know who to turn too. I think the past year and a half are catching up to people, me included, and I needed to write something to remind myself not to give up. The intro was a joke to me but the guys actually liked it and when we played our first show, we just went with it. As far as danceable parts, it wasn't a conscious decision to do that, but I did want to change things up a bit from the superfast, one minute songs on the EP. I think these songs are like a minute and half. Maybe the next batch will be two minutes long… haha!
Chris Skowronski, Gordita Beach bassist:
“As far as the new songs go, the three we have came from new demos that Derrick made. We tweaked the arrangements a bit, and we each put a little more of our stamp on our parts than we did with songs we recorded. But the new ones were still his songs. I guess Carl and I could conceivably write something in the future, but as long as Derrick keeps coming in with killer songs, I'm happy to work with them.”
IE: Favorite Misfits album and why?
Derrick: Favorite Misfits album that's not a collection is “Static Age”, hands down. It's the album I grew up with and I know all the words by heart. There's not a weak link on it and it reminds me of singing my lungs out in the car as a teenager. Can't get better than that.
IE: At your first show in Brooklyn we noticed you had another person sharing the vocal duties with you and it seemed more than just a guest vocals type of thing. Can you tell us more about who this person is and their role moving forward with the band?
Derrick: Leigh, my wife, is on the record. She's the female voice you hear doing backups. She's been part of this since day one and pretty much part of the band. She will also appear onstage with us whenever she can. It's hard cuz we both work the same shifts at the same place. I do plan on having her be part of future recordings because I think it's important and cool to have a female voice in the mix. I think it's important to have different voices in hardcore and I personally think it sounds tougher and bigger and more exciting.
GORDITA BEACH @ THE NEST, BROOKLYN, NY, SEPTEMBER 10, 2021. PHOTO BY: JC PHOTO MEDIA
CLICK BELOW TO WATCH THEIR TRACK "STARVE" PERFORMED AT THIS SHOW
IE: The cover of the new EP has a couple of skeletons hanging out on beach chairs with a whole lot of chaos around them. Can you tell us more about the cover art?
Derrick: My buddy Andrew Notsch aka Hollow Dusk designed and created the cover art of the EP. He is terrific to work with and incredibly talented. A real translator of ideas from people who have no clue about the visual arts… aka me. He asked me what I wanted and I said, skeletons, trash and toxic sludge. I live right by the Gowanus Canal so the smell and overall disgusting appearance (until recently) was ever present in my mind and life for years and I thought that if there ever was a Gordita Beach, it would be on a super fund site like the Gowanus and Andrew was able to translate what I had in my head into the gritty, gross and toxic cover that graces our EP.
IE: Can you tell us how the name Gordita Beach came about?
Derrick: Gordita Beach comes from the Paul Thomas Anderson film "Inherent Vice". It's a fictitious beach community where Joaquin Phoenix's character lives. When I saw it in the theatres I thought it would make for a great punk band name.
IE: There is also a limited release 7" in the works as well. Tell us more about it and when people can get their hands on it?
Derrick: Yes there's a limited 7" in the works. Every person in the world is pressing vinyl this year so things are backed up but I'm hoping to have physical copies in my hands in January. That's all I have right now but hopefully more information in the near future. Keep up with our Instagram for more news!
MEMBERS OF GORDITA BEACH WITH BRIAN DIMEGLIO OF BROOKLYN RECORDING PARADISE (WHITE SHIRT). PHOTO TAKEN DURING RECORDING SESSIONS NOVEMBER, 2020.