Let’s get this out of the way: The Gotobeds, a Pittsburgh-based post-punk band known for its joyously nihilistic lyrics and needling guitar lines, wasn’t named named after any reverence for going to bed. Rather, it came from Robert “Gotobed” Grey, drummer for the British band Wire, a key player in the development of post-punk. Coincidentally, however, the Gotobeds do love to sleep.
By day, frontman and co-lead Eli Kasan is a mild-mannered graphic designer. By night he is an incisive writer and a tenacious performer, the voice behind much of the up and coming band’s second record, “Blood//Sugar//Secs//Traffic,” released earlier this month. That title is indeed a dig at the Red Hot Chili Peppers, whose recent comeback is perhaps an object of some consternation to Kasan and his peers.
In his own words, here’s a scrappy post-punk rocker on the night owl-lifestyle, rules of in-van napping and lyrics found in dreams.
My schedule’s actually f***ing awful. I’m such a night owl and I always have been. I’ve always been a person that’s more comfortable staying up all night — I think my brain just works better. Most morning people say “It’s really calm, you get a lot done!” But that’s exactly how I feel about 2am
I do most everything at night. I get up and I go to work and I”m tired as shit, I feel like I can’t think before 10 or 11am, complete coffee addict, I need a shitload of it to try to function during normal business hours. But the longer the day goes, the more I wake up: After work I’ll hit a bit of a slump, but as soon as the sun goes up I wake back up. No matter how tired I am.
Being on the road is great because if I’m not the driver, I feel like a toddler. I get in the van, I take naps, I just doze off whenever I feel like it. Maybe we’ll be in a city and we’ll get brunch somewhere, then I’ll take another nap. I get a lot of downtime in the van and then most of the action happens at night.
One time we played New York on a Sunday night and drove back to Pittsburgh after the show. Gavin, who plays bass, had to go to work in the morning. We probably got in at 8a.m. But Gavin was kind of the squeaky wheel, he had to drive all night and then he went to work and felt completely insane. We all just crashed while he was losing his mind.
The first song on the new record is called “Real Maths/Too Much” and that title came to me in a dream. It was on a single I bought in my sleep — kind of like a power-punk single, and I liked the title. I was waiting for something to apply that too, something where it made sense musically, and our guitar player — who wrote all the music for that song — had that intro written. I was like, “This is like two songs combined. Maybe the first song is ‘Real Maths,’ and the second is ‘Too Much.’” I’d had them in my head since the dream.
I haven’t had them for a while, but I had recurring dreams for years. Always ending in car crashes. I never died — I either woke up or survived them. But I’m talking the roads were rubbery, or I couldn’t reach the brakes or I was just driving out of control because something wasn’t working right. And a number of recurring dreams where I would get into fights and I couldn’t punch somebody. I would be trying and it would be ineffective.
A lot of my day job is trying to figure out how to sell shit to people — appealing to their emotions, why they’d want something or why they should something. You’re really trying to sell something and I think I have a fascination with how that works; it’s my career to make that work. The other side of that is the repulsion of, like, “What am I doing? Why do people care?” A lot of my lyrics will be about consumerism or culture, how we digest things or feel inferior to things. And those are totally based off my day job.
My bedside table has a giant glass bottle of water, because I drink a shitload of water. I’m the most hydrated man in America. I’ve got a little slider thermometer, it’s kind of like a midcentury modern piece. I don’t have air conditioning, so it’s hot. And I have a shitload of books on my side table. A bunch of Raymond Carver books, a book from Thurston Moore called “Mix Tape,” a book of Charles Bukowski poetry. Also a Keith Richards’ biography, which I have not read, but takes up a lot of fucking room on my nightstand.