Goodbye Ranger Will Indoctrinate You Into Their Shoegaze ‘Cult’ BC Exclusive: Interview With Goodbye Ranger
LOS ANGELES, CA- Following the shoegaze trio Goodbye Ranger’s fuzzy yet punchy set at Harvard & Stone in Downtown Los Angeles, I had the opportunity to sit down with the band for their first interview as a full band. However, there was one problem—we couldn’t find anywhere to sit outside, as we were amid yet another record-breaking LA rainstorm. We opened the bar’s semi-obscured front door to reveal the downpour outside. Teeth chattering, with jackets over our heads as makeshift umbrellas, the 4 of us ran towards an empty, covered parking garage we spotted across the way. None of us thought to question the safety or legality of our chosen hangout spot, but luckily, nobody seemed to care.
Goodbye Ranger’s self-defined shoegaze sound is riddled with whispers of dreampop, grunge-y alternative rock, and even psychedelic influences. The trio consists of vocalist/bassist Gwendolyn, guitarist/vocalist Andrew, and drummer Logan, with roots in both the Phoenix, Arizona and Southern California local music scenes. I had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know the insanely friendly band just a few weeks prior at The Stowaway following their last show in DTLA, so fortunately, we were well acquainted before we found ourselves together in that dreary parking garage.
I could’ve never predicted that the band’s unique name, Goodbye Ranger, is a reference to the film Interstellar. I, myself, still need to watch the movie, but according to Andrew, “the spaceships they use to float around space are called ‘rangers’… [So,] at one point the main guy’s going down from the main cabin to the ship and he says, ‘goodbye, ranger!’ I always liked that line, so I called ‘dibs’ on the band name.” When it was time to cross off all other potential project names from their running list of ideas, Goodbye Ranger was the one that stuck. After only a few minutes of knowing the group, I picked up on their habit of affectionately referring to each other as ‘rangers’, their universal nickname that’s become a central part of the band’s shared language. You’ll occasionally hear them shout to each other, “whatcha doin’ over there, ranger?” to “hey, ranger, can you throw me that extra cable?”
Further adding to the band’s uniquely wholesome dynamic, Andrew explains, “[Gwen and I] are family, yo”. Andrew is Gwen’s uncle, and they’ve been collaborating musically since 2014. Gwen elaborates, “when I was a freshman in high school, [Andrew and I] played a school-wide show together. A couple of years down the line, we decided to start taking [our music] seriously”. Andrew adds, “we were like, we should start a cult! Or, a band… One of those two things. Gwen was like, whoa man, maybe we should just do both!” “Wait,” I ask, “is Goodbye Ranger a cult?” Before I can finish my thought, Gwen and Andrew interject, in deadpan unison: “oh, absolutely”. We all let out a laugh between our chattering teeth. Jokingly, Andrew adds, “well, [Goodbye Ranger is] also a gang. A cult…Gang. We’re like, a nice gang, though. We’re like one of those gangs that sends people flowers and shit”. How sweet. I hope I end up on the gang’s flower-sending list one day.
Thus, Goodbye Ranger was born just shy of a year ago in April 2022, originally comprised of just Gwen and Andrew. Andrew reveals, “[Tonight] was the 5th show we’ve had with Logan, and now we’re like, a legit rock band with a fuckin’ monster drummer”. Gwen jokes, “before we had Logan, we only had Mr. Ableton on drums”. The band agrees that having a real, live drummer is infinitely more rewarding than using drum packs on Ableton. Logan’s skillful, dynamic drumming was a highlight of the show for me, as it was equally as attention-grabbing as the velvety, distorted sounds of Gwen and Andrew’s blended guitar tones and vocals.
Regarding how Logan became a ‘ranger’, Andrew admits to “stalking Logan… He was playing in a couple of other bands, and we played [on the same bill] with him a couple of times. We started stalking him and decided we had to have him in our band/gang/cult…” With a smirk, Gwen adds, “we definitely indoctrinated Logan. It took a little bit of brainwashing, but he’s here with us now… And he seems happy enough, ya know?” Eyes squinted in sarcasm, Logan flashes a tortured smile at me, indicating he was willingly indoctrinated into this friendly cult/gang. It was hard to believe that the groovy, tight set Goodbye Ranger had just played was only their 5th show as a full band, since the trio’s performance styles were already incredibly coordinated; their creative energies seemed to flow seamlessly through one other on the well-lit, elevated stage at Harvard & Stone.
When asked about their favorite part of playing live shows, the group takes a moment to meditate on their responses. Andrew is the first to break the silence with a thoughtful, “all of it.” He explains that playing their music for a live audience is when he feels his music becomes actualized, evolves into something more tangible than a digital file. Logan expands on this idea, “[performing live] gives you the stamina to keep grinding with the studio stuff… Writing songs [at home] and whatnot can get tiresome,” which he also feels can be isolating. Gwen nods and adds, “I also love meeting new people, it’s the best.” Andrew further explains, “you constantly write songs, you do stuff, you make music, in your house or wherever you live… But when you actually get to go play it for people…” Logan butts in, “it’s like caffeine”. Gwen raises an eyebrow and declares that caffeine isn’t nearly strong enough to compare to the feeling of playing live shows. Andrew argues that the rush they get from performing is akin to a considerably more powerful, highly dangerous illicit substance that I’ll leave up to the reader’s imagination. (Hint: it’s much stronger than caffeine).
On the converse, Andrew explains that the hardest part of being a touring band playing for live audiences is experiencing impostor syndrome. Gwen corroborates, “[impostor syndrome] and cable hell. So many cables… So many things can go wrong because our sound is so huge, that anything can fuck it up. Sometimes we can’t hear ourselves, or other problems arise…” Andrew further establishes that having the right “sound guy” at the venue can make or break their sound. Sound engineering is important at any live performance, but for shoegaze acts, having the right mix is absolutely essential. Andrew adds, “the show we played tonight, the sound guy was awesome… [But] if the sound isn’t perfect, it can completely fuck us up, because we’re super dainty with our sound. We try to sound big, but sometimes it just doesn’t work out.”
Because Goodbye Ranger’s sound is so sensitive, however, when they get paired with the right sound engineer, they all agree it’s like heaven on earth. Andrew’s pedalboard itself looks like a work of art: you can see about a dozen or so pedals intricately interwoven with patch cables and Velcro resting underneath his black Chuck Taylors on stage. During their sets, it’s easy to see exactly where the term ‘shoegaze’ originates from, as Andrew must constantly gaze down at his shoes to switch his pedal buttons on and off, performing a delicate dance between different guitar tones.
Andrew shares some of his favorite guitar pedals for achieving Goodbye Ranger’s sound:
- Chase Bliss Audio MOOD
- Walrus Audio Lore
- Electro-Harmonix (EHX) Big Muff
Before heading back to the venue to load out their gear, I decided to ask the band who they believe would die first in a zombie apocalypse. Without a blink of hesitation, Gwen declares, “me. I would shoot myself right off the bat. Sorry. Done. Nope. I give up. I’m out… as the news breaks, I’m done. I’m outta here. It could even be fake… But if it shows up on my TV, immediately, gun to my head. I’m sorry. That’s when Goodbye Ranger’s done. I can’t… I will never do that.” A grim sentiment, perhaps, but Gwen and I share a bond over our mutual lack of motivation to fight off bloodthirsty zombies—no, thanks. I’ve seen The Walking Dead enough times to know I don’t have the mental or physical energy to do all that. I’m with Gwen. On which ‘ranger’ would survive the zombie apocalypse, Andrew admits, “I actually think about this a couple of times a day…I think I would probably do ok, but Logan has some height on me, so… And he’s younger, so he’d probably be able to run faster and be a little more agile. I’d put up a good fight, but I’m gonna say Logan would probably survive.” Logan agrees, adding that he’d be worried about losing his mind in that situation, but who wouldn’t go a little mad while navigating a nuclear winter?
Goodbye Ranger’s debut EP, Memories and the Sky, is available on all streaming platforms, including Spotify, Apple Music, Bandcamp, Soundcloud, etc. The band has plans to embark on a US tour starting in July, but the dates have yet to be released. Between their busy schedule of playing one or more live shows nearly every week, they’re also currently working on their debut LP, which they also hope to release later this year. You can keep up with Goodbye Ranger online on Instagram at @goodbye_ranger, or by visiting their website,