By Charlotte Steiger
So what brings this family renown duet here, sitting around a table in a small, Columbian café for? Besides the coffee, of course. (Right?)
They are neither rangers nor saying goodbye; the duo took their name from the ending of “Interstellar.” They’re as real as it gets, except for a portion of Gwendolyn’s hair that’s dyed rainbow, peeked underneath the blonde. Rumor has it they’re strangers, but as guitarist Andrew Saks puts it best, “she’s my niece!”
They’re humble, yet ecstatic. It’s their first interview as a breakout band. “I was in a band for five minutes once,” the vocalist laughs. Gwendolyn, who also plays keyboard, has always wanted to be a part of the music scene since her elementary school talent shows. Now at age twenty, she’s multitasking between interviews, radio shows, and performances straight in western Los Angeles (not including the fact that all three were done within the same 48 hours).
Saks, aka Sway, aka the other half of Goodbye Ranger, has always been musically inclined towards alternative music. His history in audio engineering and heavy appreciation for Robin Guthrie made him a dedicated sound geek from the first listen. Prior to the duo, he made his own music, featuring songs such as “Palos Verdes” reaching past 13,000 streams on Spotify. Stemming his inspirations from 80s goth bands, he would eventually contribute towards a sound as nonconforming as his own.
It’s not as easy as it looks to keep up a band through long distance. With the two being split between Arizona and California, difficulties will always arise with being 437 miles apart. Gwendolyn had never been on a plane until now, and the two have seemed to diminish their fear of stage fright simultaneously. Together, they’ve grown “a decent buzz” in Phoenix, but are still looking into expanding across the west coast.
The band writes collaboratively, having each individual song become “a skeleton getting dressed.” Saks produces the music in advance, while Gwendolyn helps to collaborate when they meet up in person. And yet, they still manage to make it work.
After several years of – no, wait, backup.
After just two months of mastering the rise of shoegaze, Goodbye Ranger now finds themselves as one of the next leading bands in dreamy, symphonic music. Since starting, they’ve toured all around the West Coast, with Chicago potentially being their next stop. Their debut EP, “Memories and the Sky,” already plans to release next week – and they’ve already given out free stickers as a bonus. In such little time, they’ve already established their sound as one more distinctive than the rest.
Insiders say they “don’t stick to one single genre,” putting emphasis on the type of style that their music has. “The idea of making something exactly like [someone else] makes us kinda cringe,” the band mentions. Taking pride in their impromptu performances, the duo is everything covered in distorted guitars and blurred vocals. Their music’s reminiscent of abstract puzzles, they’re telling us. It’s electronic pastoral hallucinations inspired by twilight and dying (their words). Undertones of the Cocteau Twins, mixed with My Bloody Valentine.
“If Beethoven was Gen Z,” Gwendolyn laughs.
In short, “it’s meant to be, like, dreamy.”
“Every time you look,” Saks explains, “you get something different.”
Different is right, amongst its synonyms. The rangers are an accurate outcome of listening to all things Mitski and Sonic Youth, split between the two. Their inspirations – like most – led them towards creating one enough songs about murder. More specifically, killing people in your dreams.
“The sky is a vastless ocean,” Sway ponders. “Where does it end?”
Goodbye Ranger is the quintessential duo for all things ethereal – attempting to describe their music would be useless. Filled with “sad songs and blurry, fuzzy little dreamscapes,” the two have gotten a grip on what it means to create music … without having to label a genre next to it. Genre inquiries aside, they’ve become the perfect upcoming band for the alternative scene, combining nostalgic textural wash with a tinge of The Cure in equal measure to create something more defined than just their genetics.
That is, according to their own potential.
If you’re interested in listening to Goodbye Ranger, check out their Instagram at @goodbye_ranger, or their Spotify for more.
Gwendolyn’s Spotify | Sway’s Spotify
Photos shown taken by Charlotte Steiger | IG: @cssteiger