Recently, I had the pleasure of listening to Don’t Give Up, the new ep by College Station indie rock band Corusco (pronounced Co-rusk-co). It is a brief but potent mission statement for what the band is about: anthemic choruses, heartfelt, poetic lyrics, and loud, passionate instrumentation. The songs form an emotional, vulnerable core that penetrate deep into topics including loss, hurt, and self-recognition in a genuine way. I highly recommend the ep.
I also was able to interview frontman Aaron Gonzalez on the creation of the music and their summer plans. This follows below:
Zach Lannes: You’re releasing an EP called?
Aaron Gonzalez: Don’t Give Up.
[ZL]: The first thing I noticed when I listened to Don’t Give Up are the lyrics of a personal nature. How did you go about writing those lyrics and how does the songwriting work with your lyrics?
[AG]: All the songs that were written for Don’t Give Up were written in my bedroom and I didn’t think they were going to go anywhere. I wrote them when I was in another band, but they didn’t quite fit in with what we were doing. I started playing them around town and one day I thought, “why don’t I play some shows around the state and go on a mini tour in people’s living rooms. Do something different.”
The songwriting process came about because of many different people and events I’ve interacted with in my life; I didn’t have another outlet so I made them songs. Either that or I wrote them into poems and they ended up songs. About half of the songs were poems first. Then I started playing them.
[ZL]: What are some of the specific inspirations or emotions behind the songs?
[AG]: The songs kind of flip flop between themes of having your heart broken, having a friend pass away, and realizing that the people are gonna be there for your friends and family and how you shouldn’t neglect that. Those are the people that’ll show you how to get through those tough times.
[ZL]: So it’s all thematically about not giving on those things?
[AG]: Yeah. I don’t know if you remember seeing this poster thing spread around that had DON’T GIVE UP written over and over again, but that’s where the title came from.
Photo by brokenalarmclock
Like I said, a lot of the songs came from poems, particularly ones I performed at Mic Check, and a lot of those dealt with those themes as well.
[ZL]: Since Corusco started out as a solo project, how did you add members to the band? Did you orchestrate the songs first or do it collaboratively with your bandmates?
[AG]: I’d always envisioned the songs as full band pieces. After I booked the tour, one of my friends said, “hey we’re in Austin and we can be your backing band.” It’s easier to play when you have others around you. So in that regard, Don’t Give Up is a collaboration between me and my original ideas for the songs with my bandmates. The songs a fuller version of the stuff that’d been hiding in my head for so long.
[ZL]: Do you have any other major influences besides the life events that inspired the music? Musical? Cinematic ones?
[AG]: Yeah (laughs). It’ll probably give away way too much where I take things from. I have a lot of influences from folk, singer-songwriter, post-hardcore, early emo stuff. A lot of the people I associate with listen to Brand New and Taking Back Sunday (laughs). I try to take that kind of approach to lyrical honesty and apply it in my own sort of way.
[ZL]: Yeah, I appreciate the refined singer-songwriter, poetic approach to the confessional lyrics.
[AG]: Thanks, I appreciate it.
[ZL]: So what are your plans for the ep release and afterward?
[AG]: We’re releasing Don’t Give Up on August 12th and we have a string of shows the following weekend. Then we head out on tour starting at the Grand Stafford August 25th. Our tour is in two legs. We’re doing the southeast from the 25th to the end of September, and then the Northeast the following month.
[ZL]: Is there anything else you’d like the internet to know?
[AG]: If you like us, tell your friends! Or come to the Stafford.
Check out Corusco here: