Gone Gone Beyond and “psychedelic spirituality”

“I think the album noticeably doesn’t follow any genre.  The binding thing is the spirituality of the music.  The psychedelic spirituality brought us all together,” says Danny Musengo of...

“I think the album noticeably doesn’t follow any genre.  The binding thing is the spirituality of the music.  The psychedelic spirituality brought us all together,” says Danny Musengo of Gone Gone Beyond, whose sophomore album, 2030, dropped last month.  The album’s title is a reference to a period in time when the band is hopeful that humans will collectively have a healthier relationship with Earth.  “Music is a vehicle for social change.  Every song we put out is an opportunity for people to connect with themselves,” says Gone Gone Beyond’s David Block.  The music found on the album is an fusion of tradition and future, blending worldly folk with elegantly cool electronics.

Gone Gone Beyond originally came together as collaborators in David Block’s project, The Human Experience.  However, Danny Musengo, Kat Factor, and Mel Seme decided to stick together with David to form an ongoing band, which has become Gone Gone Beyond.  The band released their full-length debut, Things Are Changing, in 2019, but during a recent phone chat with 3/4ths of the band, they tell me that 2030 actually felt like Gone Gone Beyond’s debut.  “The last album we did was really a bit more focused on the collaborations between me and the individual artist.  This album is a true collaboration.  This feels like the first album,” says David, while Danny adds, “This was the first album where we were all in the room together.”

When I ask about some of the highlights of the band, Danny tells me that his greatest memory was the first time they really played together in a live setting: “The first time we ever really played as a band, after the amalgam album of what we’d done with Dave separately, was in a tent in Costa Rica at the Envision Festival, with acoustic guitars and a few hundred people.  I think that was the first time it really felt like a band.”  And, although Gone Gone Beyond are certainly a unified band at this point, they’re still largely geographically separate, with David in LA and New York City, Danny in Iowa and New York City, Kat in Santa Cruz, and Mel in Cuba and Barcelona.  So, while the pandemic provided a bit of a challenge, it wasn’t anything they weren’t used to.  “We have to get really creative.  We started the album in Los Angeles, all in the same room, before the pandemic started,” says Kat, before adding, “Mel is the travel champion.  He’s come to the US more than anything.”

2030 already has a few singles, including “Another Earth” and, most recently, “Canyons,” which Danny previously described as, “A voodoo lullaby with all the whimsy of Alan Watts and all the heart of Neil Young.”  However, my personal favorite track is “Riptide,” a track penned and sung by Kat, which resembles the heaviest kind of balladry to come out of ‘90s alt. country.  “I was going through a lot when I wrote that, a pretty massive breakup and I was actually sucked out by a riptide… I was in a really rough place, this moment where I actually thought, ‘Oh my god, I’m not gonna make it,’ and I was actually saved by my now-ex boyfriend,” says Kat, who also tells me that the song proved to be profoundly cathartic for her: “I was really needing to process a lot of things going on in my life.  It was really purgative for me.  It was the first thing that brought me out of the bedroom, because I wanted to share the song with people.”  Kat also has the most to tell me about musical influences.  She notes Fiona Apple’s When the Pawn… and Extraordinary Machine, in addition to Blonde Redhead’s Misery Is a Butterfly and Radiohead’s OK Computer: “That, to me, was lifechanging.”

As of right now, Gone Gone Beyond have three upcoming dates scheduled this September, when they will be supporting Dirtwire in Colorado on the 23rd, 24th, and 25th.  However, they do tell me that more are in the works and they are very excited to be back out, performing live.  “It’s really nice that we have so much music now.  One of the things that makes a Gone Gone Beyond show so special is that it’s different every time,” says David.  He also tells me that he thinks the way they approach performing is intriguingly unique and something people don’t often get to see: “It’s a combination of straight acoustic music and acoustic electronic music.  It’s such a wide range of stuff being so stripped down and then stuff that’s so built up, and I don’t really feel like there are many other bands who do that to that degree.”

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During the day Izzy Cihak teaches transgression, subversion, and revolution at Temple University. At night he haunts Philthy's best venues to cover worthwhile acts for Philthy Mag. Morrissey is everything to him and, in their own heads, all of his friends see themselves as Zooey Deschanel.