Around March of 2022, actually the 5th of that month, I was fast on my way to a venue in South Carolina as apart of a tour my band was doing at the time. The morning of, I had seen a post going around on Instagram by the handle @thevoidtrademark, and it was advertising a new single released through the almighty Dais Records, entitled “Moving To California In March”. I followed the link, queued up the track for the drive, hit play, and have been a fan of Cold Gawd ever since. Fast forward a little over a year later, and here I am getting to write all about them as this week’s Weekly Featured Artist!

Based out of Rancho Cucamonga, California, the band being a full outfit is actually a relatively newer idea. As guitarist Steven Esquibel pointed out when I recently met the band at their Washington, DC show on tour with Mareux, ‘we’ve actually only been a band about a year!‘ This was in response to me telling him and the rest of the band at the merch table about having only been a fan for about a year. But even with that being the case, the way Cold Gawd comes together live will make you believe they’ve been at it since the ’90s. A gritty, beautiful blend of shoegaze and some mild hardcore elements properly seasons the immaculate dreamscape that is their most recent release, God Get Me The Fuck Out Of Here. Hearing all my favorites and more live endearingly complimented the massive amounts of adoration I already found in their music.

To name a few of those aforementioned favorites, look no further than tracks such as “Gin”, “Sweet Jesus Wept Shit”, “You The Well”, and “You Should Be Fine Down There” to get a true feel for what the band is all about. A mix of upbeat, hype, jumpy rhythms in some songs, contrasted with the slower, downtempo, almost R&B style jams of others adds a fresh, soulful flair to the familiarities of a shoegazey outfit such as theirs. The result sticks out plentifully while also keeping a steady balance of not going too off the rails. In short, everything you know and love of shoegaze is present, but with plenty of embellishment thrown in so as to prevent them from falling too much into something you’ve merely heard before.

The reverbed screams at the end of “Sweet Jesus Wept Shit” get the hairs on my neck standing up every time. Something about the blend of the grungy guitars with plenty of air and atmosphere has this track making you feel like you’re flying. Guitarist, singer, and Cold Gawd main-brain, Matt Wainwright, has expressed the intent to ‘make shoegaze black again‘ in an interview with Revolver Magazine, and while I don’t personally know how much I can credibly speak to that, what I can say is he and the rest of the band have certainly made shoegaze all the more interesting again with their work. Not to imply shoegaze has really fallen off much, at least not for me and any enjoyers of the genre that I know, but the fresh air a band like Cold Gawd breathes into it definitely provides life for it.

One of my favorites of the band’s work, “Gin”, struck me as so familiar yet so original upon first listen. I was immediately taken back to the Saturday Night Wrist era of Deftones, and while listening to this track, was almost 100% sure they had to be influenced by the band somehow. As it turns out, while Wainwright and the band are likely fans, much of Wainwright’s inspiration came from bands such as WhirrTiger’s JawSuperheavenBasement, and bands of the like. But beyond his adoration for the sounds and styles of these bands, as well as Nothing‘s Guilty of Everything in particular, Matt finds that much of his lyrical work centers around the expression of a human emotion – love, to be more specific, as described in the Revolver interview: ‘It’s the most important human emotion besides feeling inspired,” he says. From the age of 18 onwards, shoegaze has been Wainwright’s primary love language. “I would show people Whirr’s Around EP. That’s baby-making music for sure.’

This easily reflects in Wainwright’s lyrics across much of what he does musically. Take the lyrics from “You The Well” in both pre-chorus and chorus sections, as well as verse 3 for example: ‘I used to break your heart all by myself. All you could have ever wanted was for me to make space; All I could give you was a few weekends. You owe me nothing, I owe you a lifetime; We’ll have each other in different ways, mostly far away.’ The sincerity mixed with simplicity in form, while still conveying a series of complex thoughts or emotional depth, is reminiscent to the lyrical punch I’ve heard in the work of Phil Collins. Matt has a real talent for keeping the lyrics brief, yet no less of a gut-punch. Sure, this may not be the first time we’ve seen an artist in the shoegaze umbrella amass layers upon layers of atmosphere and depth with seemingly so little; But Cold Gawd‘s magic is that of a distinct nature. Even with the millions and millions of ways to talk about love, Wainwright finds a fresh story to tell with each stanza.

I mentioned curiosity over the band’s potential connection with Deftones, and wouldn’t ya know it, Cold Gawd, not only were invited to perform at the most recent Dia De Los Deftones festival, but the band are also fans of Wainwright and company’s work. Unsurprising, but definitely cool nonetheless. I feel almost guilty of not having much knowledge of Wainwright’s work prior to “Moving To California In March” and God Get Me The Fuck Out Of Here, which seems to be primarily material available via their Bandcamp. However, it is something of note to see the huge jumps they’ve made in even the last year alone.

From that Dais Records signee announcement, to performing shows alongside label mates such as Drab Majesty and Death Bells, as well as Dia De Los Deftones with names like Turnstile and Phantogram – it is clear that Cold Gawd are catching on, quickly and widely. For me personally, I think that Wainwright’s legacy so far – going from solo artist to full band, making big life changes to build the life he wants, and so passionately expressing himself even during the toughest times – involves so much relatable energy for me, and is exactly what I picked up on when I first heard “Moving To California In March”. Being apart of a band myself, while also enduring a mass of hardships, loss, and learning to let go to move on, just in the past year alone – I feel particularly connected with the lyric line, ‘Remember why you left‘. Even on days it hurts most, even when you want to look back and wonder if you’ve done everything right or not – sometimes, where we are and where we know we can go is infinitely better than where we were or could have been.

From the collections page of the Dais Records site, announcing the release of the single as well as signage of Cold Gawd, Matt hits on the story behind the song, so to speak: ‘”Moving to California in March” is a song about the anxious feeling that is making— what you think is— the biggest next step of your life.  ‘Stay in Chicago?’  ‘Go home?’  You’ll always ask yourself, ‘was that the right move?’ but every day remember why you left.

Cold Gawd are taking over the world, slowly but surely, as they continue to tour and grow extensively. Get used to seeing their name on fliers everywhere, or one of your favorite popular bands talking about them. With so much traction in such a relatively brief window of time as a band, it’s clear there is something authentic and special about Wainwright and company’s work. If you’ve missed out so far, be sure to get about the Coldest of Gawds via their Instagram, Bandcamp, or Twitter immediately. And that’s the bottom line – ’cause Stone Cold (Gawd) said so.

Cold Gawd is…

Matthew Wainwright – guitar, vocals
Duck – bass
Steven Esquileb – guitar
George Camacho – guitar
Devin Trott – guitar
Cameron Fonacier – drums
Arturo Ramirez – tambourine



Easygoing weirdo with a love for life, music, art, culture, outdoors, meeting new people, seeing new places, and trying new things. Oh yeah, and I guess I never shut up about the things I love, too. That’s a quality!

Leave a Reply