Saturday night Music Madness attended the Homeless Veterans Charity Event at Franks Place in Leesburg, FL. The festivities included eight fantastic bands who donated their talents on stage for this worthy cause set up by Chris Ward.
One band in particular that by most standards did not seem to fit in with the rest. The band calls themselves Gold, Frankincense & Myrrh (GFM). There was not a bad band on the list but watching these three young women take the stage in cheer leading outfits and war paint, almost seemed surreal. Everything I thought I knew about metal changed as soon as the drummer LULU, the youngest of the girls screamed the countdown to for the first song. Whoever said girls are made of sugar and spice obviously never attended a GFM concert. To say these girls “rock” is the understatement of the year.
Maggie on bass who shares vocals with her other sister CJ on guitar, took command from the beginning. Their message is both positive, empowering and spiritual while being neatly wrapped up in a package even the most hardened of metal fans will appreciate.
It’s obvious with the support and respect shown amongst all the bands to each other, GFM is part of this tight knit community of talented musicians. Talking to them before and after their show, they were funny, charming and hilarious.
Along with Auditory Armory’s April Rose, the girls of GFM paid special attention to some of the much younger children who were lucky enough to attend and rocked out down front watching their favorite girl fronted bands. After they finished their set people were definitely talking about this band. Some were no doubt surprised by what GFM brought to the stage. If you haven’t seen them yet, don’t wait!
Music Madness had the opportunity to speak with these young women and learn a little more about GFM and their message.
Music Madness: Tell me about GFM and how the band came about.
GFM: Well we’re all sisters so we’ve basically been playing together since birth. When we were five our parents wanted us to be involved in music some sort of way because they never got the chance to do that.
GFM: They said we had to take music lessons for two years, and if we hated it, we could quit. We ended up falling in love with music. We all kind of branched off to our own instruments, and that’s how the band was formed. Yeah, we picked our own passions since we were little. When my dad saw that we had enough people for a band he was like, why not, we can do it just for us in the living room, just for fun, and then it kinda just branched off from there.
Music Madness: That’s cool. Talk to me about the concept of Beautycore. What that means to you?
GFM: Yeah well, it definitely didn’t start that way … Like with the meaning that it has now. Beautycore was pretty much just a joke between the three of us for a couple of months before we came out with it and made it a live term. We were kind of just like making fun of it. People always asked us what genre we were, and we would say metalcore, but we didn’t really fit the definition of that, because we’re a three piece band and we’re all young female girls who are under the age of 19. So that doesn’t really qualify as a metalcore band, because the sound is completely different.
GFM: We just felt like ourselves, using that term for a couple months and then we started to joke with the band that we were playing with and said, “Yeah we’re Beautycore.” Then they were really into it. They were like, “No, that’s cool. Is that a real thing?” And we’re like, “No we’re just kidding.” And we had enough people tell us that we should make it a real thing. So we brought it live, and now it’s kind of this symbolic meaning for this women’s movement we’re trying to bring into the Metal world. Showing all the girls that you can be a girl, but you can still play heavy metal and you can compete with all the guys out there.
Music Madness: That’s inspiring! You are bringing a completely new dynamic to the genre and it is a unique time in metal. What does the phrase “We are a new breed” mean to you? How does Beautycore tie into that?
GFM: Well we really wanted it to tie in … Like a lot of the music out there now kind of has the same message. Maybe a couple of them are positive messages, but we really wanted to change the music genre as a whole. We wanted to be the new breed rising that brings up stuff that a lot of the schools don’t talk about, or bring to light that you’re not alone or by yourself. Because we wanted to let people know that it’s one big family, you know? And we were gonna all rise together instead of fall by ourselves. It’s just a really big movement that we like to push to let people know that we’re gonna have a fun time. You’re gonna feel a positive vibe after you leave, and it’s gonna be great.
GFM: Well, we definitely wanted to start our generation and bring it together so we could rise together and not be silent anymore about the struggles that we’re facing. Because we started a campaign for “I will not be silent”, which ties into it. It’s just speaking out about your issues and feeling that we’re changing an environment that is safe for people to talk about their anxiety or their depression or their self-harm, or even their suicidal thoughts. We’re showing people that it’s okay to not be okay, and that it’s okay to reach out and get help. That they don’t have to be scared.
Music Madness: Yeah, it’s a scary time as far as that goes. What have you encountered so far in the industry that has been the most difficult for you? Whether it be your age, being females, or all of the above.
GFM: I think all of the above really. I feel like that makes us work harder. Like for example, we had a … Like we were playing at Jackrabbits, a local venue in Jacksonville, Florida, we were the opening band, and the headliners thought that we were just coming to watch the show. And I said we were opening and they rolled their eyes. They’re like, “Okay yeah.” But that’s when we had to prove ourselves. Once people see us they believe it, but we don’t care what people think.
GFM: That probably helps us make who we are, because if people are like, “Oh yeah come play.” I don’t think we’d be the same people who we are. We’re confident with ourselves. If people don’t think that we’re gonna be good, or they’re like, “Oh yeah you’re just young girls playing metal.” We’re like, “Okay, well we’re gonna go play now.”
GFM: But we’re very stubborn, so if someone thinks that we can’t do something we’re gonna do everything that we can to show them that we can do something. So just kind of being taken seriously is the biggest thing that we’ve faced. If you come to a show you can see that we’re gonna break that mold. Like if you don’t think we can play you’re gonna come to a show and you’re gonna be proven wrong.
Music Madness: People see these young women and the cheerleading outfits, I’m sure the stereotyping is always the hardest part to break through.
GFM: Yeah well we kind of play up to it now. That’s part of the reason we brought the cheerleading uniforms to life. Because we didn’t use to dress like that, but it became an ide we had last summer and it’s a lot easier not trying to figure out what you’re gonna have to wear every day. But it also plays up to the fact that there’s such a hug contrast that it creates like, oh yeah we’re little girls, little cheerleaders, but then this huge metal sound comes out. So it freaks people out and it’s just really funny to watch.
Music Madness: Yeah. How is it to be on stage singing your songs and having people just going nuts and singing your music back to you? What does that feel like?
GFM: We definitely love that theatrical movement that we’re for. So it’s crazy. We love the energy we create, and just to see people singing back our words is crazy. Like Maggie being able to put down the mic to some of the people in the audience and they can sing along, it creates this feeling like … Like it’s hard to explain, because they’re no other way to describe it. There’s nothing else that causes that feeling.
Music Madness: Oh, I can imagine. What is your favorite and least favorite part of the creative process?
GFM: I think definitely my favorite part is being able to create something, like create a story to be able to reach out to our fans and show them, like yeah this is what we’re doing and we can relate to you on this level. And just seeing that creative process come to life through music and through videos. Then being able to perform it live and meeting all the people who are hearing it, and are being impacted by it. Because we definitely couldn’t do anything without our fans, so just meeting all of them and hearing their stories and seeing it all come to life is my favorite part.
Music Madness: Very cool. So do you have a favorite track that you like to play live?
GFM: I feel like my favorite to play probably everyone else’s, probably “Graveyard”, of our originals right now. It’s such a high energy song. Because we bring it down in our set, and then we just boom, like right out of nowhere we just play, and it’s so fun, the energy.
Music Madness: Do you get the whole mosh pit thing going on?
GFM: Oh my goodness yeah.
GFM: It’s crazy.
Music Madness: Awesome I love it. Yeah I’ll be the crazy guy with in the middle always going, “I’m way too old for this crap. Why do I always get caught in the middle?”
GFM: That’s so funny.
GFM: Yeah. I love watching mosh pits. I’m such a people watcher, because I love the energy it brings. When other bands are playing, if we played or we’re waiting to play, I just love it. I can never go in the mosh pit though. I’m too scared to do that.
Music Madness: If you had, a chance to do a cover song from any band, what cover would you pick?
GFM: Well we actually play a cover song live that we all really like, and it’s “Bodies” by Drowning Pool.
GFM: And we love that song so much. We’re like, “You know what? Why not just learn it and play it if we love it so much.” So, that’s one of our songs that we play. Playing that live, seeing the crowd go crazy, is probably one of the best things about being in a band.
GFM: Yeah we have five specific covers that we change in and out so we don’t have just one that we do. We have “My Curse” by Killswitch. We have “Got Your Six” by 5FDP, “Paranoia” by A Day to Remember and Avril Levine. We alternate them, but we just love those so much.
Music Madness: What’s going on with the band? I see you are busy with a ton of touring including Europe. Is this your first trip to Europe?
GFM: Yeah, that’s gonna be our very first time going overseas. We’re super excited about that, because we’ve never even been there just traveling with family and everything. So it’s kind of nerve-wracking because we’ve never been there before, but we’re super excited.
GFM: We’re super excited to vlog it too. Because, we do vlogging on our YouTube channel. But we’re super excited because it’s gonna be just a totally different atmosphere over there, and we hear that they go crazy for our style of music. So, we’re really pumped to see what they think of us.
Music Madness: Haven’t you done a rock cruise as well?
GFM: We did a rock cruise in 2016 called, “Axes and Anchors”.
That was so much fun. We got to share the stage with Breaking Benjamin, Motionless in White and then like 40 other bands.
Music Madness: That’s awesome. Were you awe struck? I mean who freaked you out the most that you were like, “Oh my god.”
GFM: Well all of the headliners came to our last show on the last night. So that was exciting. That was when we were first starting to actually know what we were doing. We hadn’t even released our album Identity Crisis yet. We were freaking out the whole time.
Music Madness: What should everyone know about GFM?
GFM: Definitely go follow us on all social media at The GFM Band, literally all our social media is that. So it’s super easy. Go follow us. Subscribe to our YouTube channel, because we put out vlogs. We want all our fans to be able to kind of experience what touring is like. So you can watch all of our funny vlog videos because we’re going on tour this summer, and so we’re starting the vlogs up again.
GFM: Yeah, definitely come see us on tour this summer. All our dates are on our website, the gfmband.com. So we might be coming to a city near you this summer.
Music Madness: Good luck on your summer tour. We look forward to hearing and seeing a lot more from GFM.
GFM: Well thank you for having us.
Check out this Beautycore band:
Review and photos by Jake Rage and interview by Steve Carlos