El Gato Del Rio has been responsible for some incredibly inventive original works in the past few years, but with their latest release they’ve reinvented a classic. While they haven’t moved all too far from the original version of “Psycho Killer” by Talking Heads, there’s still a fair enough serving of distinction to allow you to fall in love with the chaotic intensity of the single once more.
We had a chance to connect with El Gato del Rio, a mysterious masked quartet from the wilds of Western North Dakota--Stark County to be exact. It’s hard to pin them to a genre. Dark cabaret? Country Gothic? Labels are irrelevant at this point, not only are the fine folks of El Gato del Rio skilled musicians, they’re gifted storytellers with a taste for theatrics. We had a chance to chat with band member Ripley Crow about the band, the masks and what’s next for El Gato del Rio.
High Plains Reader: On an aesthetic level the first thing that people may notice about El Gato del Rio are your masks. Can you tell us a bit about them?
Ripley Crow: Our masks are designed and crafted in our small leather shop in Taylor, North Dakota. We design and build each one of them by hand.
When this project began, we decided straight away that writing songs and stories from a strictly personal perspective was extremely limiting. When you forget your identity, you are free to tell anyone's story that you choose. The masks sort of gave us license, in our own minds at least, to expand the scope of our stories.
Yes! They’re back with a brand new video! There was no forgetting El Gato Del Rio after I had the pleasure of checking out their fabulously charismatic single ‘Honest Living’ back in January 2018. It will always be an absolute pleasure to drink in that decadently filthy guitar-driven groove orchestrated by the quartet who know how to bring a solid harmony to their archaically-inspired sound. With their single Cocaine, Whiskey, and You, you’re treated to grinding melodies, and reverberant alchemy which won’t fail to leave you wanting to don a pair of hot pants and head to your nearest dive bar. Yet, despite all of the sultry rhythm and suggestion of deviancy by the track title the lyricism is poignantly romantic, and dare I say it? A little sweet.
Pete's Rock News and Views - "Hailing from Stark County, North Dakota, El Gato Del Rio are one of those magical bands that you absolutely love, yet you cannot quite put your finger on why. As a band they tick all the boxes, They write excellent songs, they are vocally and musically stunning, they have their own unique brand of entertainment and they love what they do which clearly comes across in their music.
"Honest Living is the first single from the album Below the Willows which will be released on February 10th, 2018, by the wickedly talented quartet of musicians that go by the name of El Gato Del Rio. Their surreal take on music is a treat for any audiophile on the hunt for something a little more vibrant on their playlist."
"Their track “Dethroned” is a hauntingly beautiful acoustic song with instrumental influences of American folk music and vocal harmonies of country and rock. The multiple vocals, tossing back and forth between female leads and male leads, make the song a conversation among the band and engages the listener into their story. There is a quality about a sad song that makes you feel so good, and this song definitely has it. The verses are somewhat melancholy while the chorus is hopeful and the emotional vocals have a flavor of redemption and optimism."
"Today we are treated to the power of the mask. North Dakota’s El Gato Del Rio are the latest band to grace the Track of the Day section with their beautiful track Dethroned. The harmonies are perfect and the music is sublime. This is a personal favourite of mine from one of the best bands out there."
PD: What type of artist are you?
"We like to think that we defy genre catagorization. People have told us that we’re an Americana band, a folk band, a gothic bluegrass band… None of that really seems to fit. We never go into writing music with any sort of genre confinements in mind. If it feels right, we do it. If a song calls for a heavier guitar riff, it gets one. If that same song calls for a bit of accordion, we give it accordion. Anything goes."
"el gato del rio was born on the northern plains. their music is eclectic, yet familiar, and their writing style is heavily influenced by the substances that they ingest. their first album, “the music box”, is being released in early 2017 an will include their first thirteen recordings. these songs are all stories, some true and some imagined. el gato del rio is not bound by any singular musical genre, style, or direction. anything can happen here."