An Albatross Frontman Reflects on Growing Up in the Middle of Nowhere
Does location affect a band's art? Singer Eddie Gieda of An Albatross thinks so, telling Noisecreep, "150% it does!" His excitement created a feeling that he's been waiting to be asked such a thing.
Known for a brightly colored spastic output not many would think An Albatross would be rooted in a secluded region of Pennsylvania such as Wilkes-Barre. Abrasive sounds and psychedelic heartstrings are normally the child of large-scale cities, but the small and "very gritty, and very real" town helped put an outlook on the band's sound according to Gieda. "We all grew up in that context with old coal breakers, factories, and everything turning to rust and going to shit. I really think growing up there had a weird 'Twin Peaks'ian thing going on up there."
To understand just how secluded of a pre-internet history Wilkes-Barre has Gieda explains, "Wilkes-Barre was a place in the early '80's that was deemed so geographically isolated on the east coast that they used it for marketing advantages for television companies like HBO and what not. That was first tested in that area because they knew that the people that lived there were so isolated, nestled in this valley in the middle of Appalachia."
Growing up in a working class area such as this still influences and guides Gieda in all aspects of his life, even with not living there anymore. "My grandfather was someone who was 11 years old and working in coal mines. That is something of a humble and appreciative and sort of proletarian outlook on life that has defiantly inspired me in many ways," says Gieda. "It has helped me formulate political opinions and musical opinions aiding in my creative side." On the last An Albatross album Gieda has said he created homage or sorts on "what it was like to live there, and grow up making art and music there."
Despite leaving the area to live in Philadelphia Gieda returns to Wilkes-Barre quite frequently because not only do three members of the band still live there, but also their practice space is there. This may be a large factor to keeping the band alive in these rough times. "We have a warehouse there that's like $100 a month," Gieda says. "The cost of living there is ridiculously cheap. It's good. We're just so financially collapsed as a band that any corners we can cut are advantageous to keeping the machine going."