Ganser / 📷 : Kirsten Miccoli

We caught up with Chicago post punk mavens Ganser ahead of their Riot Fest debut (Sunday at 12:25 on the Radicals Stage), to talk WGN, Ganser Syndrome, and how a big fest never seems real till you’re standing on the side of the stage…

NG :
Nadia Garofalo (keys / vocals)
AG : Alicia Gaines (bass / vocals
Brian Cundiff (drums)
Charlie Landsman (guitar)

Ganser formed in 2014 and has been steadily cranking out post-punk noise ever since. Could you fill us in on a bit of the band’s back story and then looking to the future? We've heard rumblings of a new album on the way?

NG: We were a couple of art school kids who weren’t satisfied with the difficulties of pursuing creative careers, so we started a band. Brian and Charlie came on a year or so later. It’s amazing how the right people sometimes come into your life and the rest you can find on Craigslist. And yes, the rumblings are correct, we have an EP coming early November and still more to come after.

How has warming up for Riot Fest been? You were on WGN Tuesday morning! How was the experience of your morning TV debut?

NG: The crew was super nice, and it was over and done pretty quickly. The experience was good overall!  But it was weird to be on TV and playing music so early in the morning. 

AG: Media is so ephemeral these days that I think it took some of the pressure off.  

Correct us if we're wrong, but you took the moniker Ganser based off ganser syndrome (in which an individual acts like they are sick, mentally or physically, when, in reality, they are not ill). What was the inspiration to use this rare syndrome as the band name? 

AG: There was a desire to have something subtly evocative and blunt. Actually, it was moved away from being categorized as a facetious disorder and is seen as a real dissociative disorder. However, that line was fascinating because there is an element to the symptoms that comes across as possibly fake, possibly a manifestation of emotional trauma; there’s a murkiness there that’s interesting.

Are you all excited to play Riot Fest? How was the moment when you learned you had booked the slot? 

AG: Excited, yes. Honestly, these things aren’t promised, so I’ll believe it when we’re on stage. Light a candle for us.

NG: It almost doesn’t feel real until you are on the side of the stage with these things. So definitely excited to have this opportunity.

If you were booking a festival of Chicago bands, what would the lineup look like, and what would you name it?

NG: I feel like Ian’s Party does a good job of this already. If we were to throw something like that, we’d reach out to folks in other music scenes to try and get a good mix of what Chicago has to offer. Of course, we’d also want to book bands we know: No Men, Wingtips, Absolutely Not, just to name a few. Maybe we can call it Fire Fest, just to be cute.