GANG: The Obsession(s).
Image by Brandee Nichols. Text by G.W. Miller III.
GANG was born in the suburbs of Philadelphia, just two kids, Jaclyn McGraw and Amanda Damron, singing along to Britney Spears and dancing to N’Sync. They were kind of obsessed with the pop music and the elaborate moves.
“Oh my God!” Damron screams, remembering when she and McGraw saw N’Sync in concert. “J.C. Chasez threw his shirt to you and that big fat fucker tore it out of our hands.”
“We wrestled that guy for like 10 minutes,” McGraw chips in.
They knew they wanted to start a band but they went to college first. One night after college, Damron hung out at McGraw’s Manayunk apartment and they started singing about random stuff. They found some rat poison under the sink and sang about that. That spawned their first song, an electro-hip hop dance tune, called “Rat Poison,” which in turn officially launched GANG.
McGraw’s sister Nicole was brought in to create the song’s video, which featured choreographed boy band dance moves and a world of attitude. Nicole stayed on to play bass in the band. Her husband, Tim Sonnefeld, is the drummer.
They signed on with local label Hot Dog City Records after someone at the label picked up one of GANG’s hand-made cassette tapes.
Since then, the band has played with Lil’ Kim, Peaches, the B-52s, The Dead Milkmen and countless other acts. Their style has been described as dance, indie, electro-punk, art- punk, opera and rap.
“I don’t call myself a rapper,” says Jaclyn McGraw.
She describes the group as being more in the tradition the Beastie Boys or Le Tigre.
“We have so many different inspirations,” says Sonnefeld. “We experiment with whatever we are listening to at the time.”
Damron, who writes most of the lyrics, says she discovered punk five years ago and continues to learn about music. And she also likes to burst into glass-shattering, high-pitched, operatic style in mid-song.
GANG is slowly working on a full-length album. They say April 2012 is their release date but that’s really just throwing a date out there so that people won’t expect anything
“Our process takes a really long time,” Damron says. “We won’t release anything until we’re all really into it. And we’re all really different.”
In the meantime, they’re performing frequently, including at a June 16th show at the TLA, opening for Marina & the Diamonds.
Their shows are high performance art mixed with danceable grooves and sassy lyrics. Damron tends to wear sequins or anything that draws attention to her.
“I wish I could play a band set every night of my life,” she says. “I don’t enjoy anything more in my life than performing with GANG. I’m obsessed with GANG.”