Being in a band was a childhood pipe dream of Shane Lawrence and Chase Klitzner — the respective drummer and lead vocalist of Los Angeles-based indie rock outfit The Gooms. Now, two years later, the group is set to release their debut album “Laugh.” July 24.
The 12-song album follows the band’s previous 2018 premiere EP, “With an M.” In an interview with The Phoenix, Lawrence said he and Klitzner have been playing music together since 2015.
“It’s been various bands with various names, but it’s been one project over the course of fifteen years,” Lawrence recalled.
Their most recent stage name, Dadbod, disbanded in 2016, according to a 2018 interview with VoyageLA. Shortly after, Lawrence and Klitzner birthed a two-piece band and, after much debate, landed on the name The Gooms.
“When we were working on this new project and trying to figure out what to name it, every name we came up with was just really stupid,” Klitzner told The Phoenix. “I remember one day in a text message Shane was like, ‘What about Goom?’ It was the only name we came up with that didn’t make me want to throw up.”
Despite “Goom” having no significant meaning, the group decided to adopt the word as their stage name — The Gooms. Now, the band is giving substance to the word as they continue to develop sonically. Now as a full four-member band, both creators of the semantic blank and new additions to the group are finding personal connections to the concept.
Vocalist and lead guitarist Nicole Rae recalled her initial distaste with the name when joining the band.
“It was weird for me at first, but then I grew to absolutely adore the name,” Rae said. “I genuinely love the name right now. It’s become an offshoot for the way we are and our vibe.”
With a sound so uniquely difficult to pinpoint, it’s only fitting the group defines themselves with a name that can be simultaneously given its own meaning. Boasting influences from Oingo Boingo, Alabama Shakes, Stevie Wonder, Kings of Leon and The Strokes, according to Rae, The Gooms’ eclectic taste is heard through their dynamic lyricism, song structure and performance.
From Klitzner’s eccentric and melodramatic vocal performances, Rae’s chord progressions ranging from grimey garage to surf rock, bassist Ryan Meagher’s memorable riffs and Lawrence’s high energy performances, The Gooms diversify their tracklist by firing from multiple cylinders.
Lyrically, The Gooms strike a unique balance between tongue and cheek rhapsody and heavy- hearted distress. Klitzner, The Gooms’ main songwriter, spoke on the lyrical themes of the upcoming album.
“The idea was to find that juxtaposition between what can be funny and what can be dark and emotional and trying to blur those lines together into something that sounds and feels interesting,” Klitzner said.
The lead single “Judy Garland” — released May 1 — emphasizes this emotional polarization: “Won’t always be a way to keep you close / But I’m dumb enough to try / And I promise to be better / You won’t find me on the bathroom floor.”
While Klitzner and Rae confessed they were the main songwriters for the group, both members emphasized that every new track is a collective effort.
“The composition of the song is always a group effort,” Klitzner said. “A band is a democracy and everyone has their say and role to play.”
Even outside of lyrics, the LA group continuously begins their collaboration process by bringing musical tidbits to the table and snowballing that vision into a fully fleshed track.
“One of us would bring in a riff or chord progression or beat and everyone in the room was able to bring in their own flare to that,” Rae said when speaking on the song building process.
The result: a diversified tracklist with songs that are attributable to the collective and most properly described as ‘goomy.’
And despite the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting concerts, album releases and other endeavors for many artists, The Gooms have continued to use their platform to maintain fan outreach and speak on social injustice. Most recently, the group participated in a three-day telethon — Transformation Through Transportation — to help raise money for artists impacted by the ongoing crisis.
The band’s future plans are uncertain as the entertainment industry remains in uncharted territory amid the pandemic.
“It’s hard to tell,” Rae said. “We wish that we could be like, ‘Yeah, we’re going on a world tour.’”
But while the distant future is unclear for the band, Klitzner said fans should be expecting another music video to accompany their debut album “Laugh.”
The Gooms 2018 EP, “With an M” and debut single “Judy Garland” are available on Spotify and Apple Music. “Laugh.” is available for streaming July 24.