Not The Main Characters

Interview: Amy Bell

Comprised of college friends Gabi Gotts, Perrin Xthona, and Tammy Gonzales, NOT THE MAIN CHARACTERS was originally birthed more so out of necessity than any at the time tangible desire to build out an artist project. Coming together over Zoom during the peak of quarantine, the foundation of the soon-to-be trio served as a creative outlet, a place for the girls to explore left-field topics of conversation and escape the increasing mundanity that had become a life under lockdown. It was only after the release of their debut single, "pretty girl probz," that NOT THE MAIN CHARACTERS became an unshakeable reality. 

NOT THE MAIN CHARACTERS is a girl group for the new age. Blending and bending genres- NTMC takes influence from all corners of left-of-center pop, fusing hip-hop, hyperpop, pop and electronic. NTMC was literally born on the internet. The three members, Gabi Gotts, Perrin Xthona, and Tammy Gonzalez wrote their first single “bev hills” via zoom during the 2020 quarantine- so it’s fitting that the group has developed a cyber aesthetic. Their songs are deliberately designed to be ahead of the curve- running rampant with nods to modern subculture and y2k pop culture throughout their lyrics. Garnering collaborations and support from left-of-center pioneers, like Alice Longyu Gao and Slush Puppy, NTMC is the antithesis to your typical girl group- and they’re creating the space that they need to shine. Their debut EP comes out in May of 2022.

Hi, Thanks so much for speaking to ReVamp, how did you form as a band?

Perrin: Thank you so much for having us! We all went to college together, but the three of us didn’t start writing until quarantine. We were all doing a ton of zoom sessions, and when we had our first one it was a completely different vibe. 

Gabi: We immediately started writing weekly together cause we loved the songs we were writing, but also loved hanging out with each other *virtually* lol. After a few months of writing, we all just kinda figured, f*** it, why not release this stuff on Spotify, and NOT THE MAIN CHARACTERS was born!

What was your first impression of each other?

Perrin: TW: mushy content. I had the same reaction when meeting both of them, which I definitely took as a sign lol. I met Gabi in our first year of college, but wasn’t really close with her until one day we had the same class and every week she kept sitting next to me. She was so genuine and kind, I felt so honored that I was the one she wanted to spend a semester with, and we hit it off and became besties (I found out later that she needed to be at the front of the classroom, where I was, because she couldn’t see the board, but I still think she likes me lol). 

When I met Tammy - the ultimate cool girl - I instantly knew I wanted to be her friend. She was friends with all my co-writers, the it-girl at parties, just someone you want to know. I only had like two sessions with her before she asked if I wanted to live together when we moved to LA. I literally thought she was just making conversation, but when she asked a second time I was again honored, and that’s how I found my best friends. 

Tammy: My first impression of Perrin was her talent & drive. We had a songwriting class together and her songs were always sick. After having one session together I immediately knew I wanted to be friends with her, I just didn’t know how LOL. I basically forced my way into her life because I knew she was moving to LA the same time as I was so I asked if she wanted to live together. The rest is history and now we’re besties & roommates.

Meeting Gabi was funny because I used to always see her at parties but I didn’t get to know her properly until 2 years later. I think the first time we ever interacted was as strangers dancing. I remember leaving the party thinking she was hilarious. I got to know Gabi more when I started writing with her and Perrin over zoom. She is the definition of a social butterfly and I love being around her because she makes me less of an introvert haha. Her personality is bright and bubbly. You’re always guaranteed to laugh when you’re with her.

Gabi: I remember the first time I talked to Perrin in the first month of Freshman year. I was doing my nightly rounds of the college cafeteria saying “hi” to literally everyone haha, and I sat down at the table Perrin was eating at. I vividly remember thinking to myself, this is someone who could be my best friend, but we only actually became best friends later that year. The first time I saw Tammy was my 3rd year – we were at a song screening (basically a forum for where songwriters get their demos played to an A&R etc. and receive feedback). The A&R that day *loved* the song Tammy played and I remember her standing up to say thank you – all shy and humble, wearing the sickest outfit –  and in that moment I decided she was the coolest person I’d ever seen. A few weeks later I saw her at a party and went over to dance with her and her friends. We definitely bonded a little but never really hung out again, so when Perrin suggested we should all write together I was thrilled lol.

Let’s talk about your music, how has your music changed since you first started creating music?

Gabi: Oh, it’s been all over the place. I think every young songwriter goes through the soppy piano ballad phase, and I most certainly did. I think the first 7 years of songs I wrote sounded like a janky mixture of Ed Sheeran and Adele lol. I wrote more indie electronica in college, and even had a pop country chapter. Until NTMC I was writing a lot of sad gurl pop and  alt pop. Writing with Perrin and Tammy kind of allowed me to unleash the lyric fanatic inside me – it gave me a place to write jokey, tongue-in-cheek, type lyrics and go super concept heavy with it. I’ve always been in love with hyperpop / hip hop /  electronic music, and had very similar tastes to P&T, so I think when we started working with producers who could nail that sound, it was only natural for us to go in that direction.

You have a new single out ‘club penguin’, (what a nostalgic time!) what was the inspiration behind the single?

Tammy: Our sessions always start with a concept that’s half a joke and half serious. I think we spent the first hour of the session genuinely just playing club penguin. Then we were just reminiscing over our childhoods and all the Playing the game made each of us feel very nostalgic over our childhood.

Growing up, was club penguin a game that you used to play a lot?

Perrin: Literally all the time. I would come home from school and immediately log on. I never had enough coins to decorate my igloo because I just kept buying puffles LOL.

Tammy: I was obsessed with club penguin as a kid., I remember begging my mom for a paid membership just so I could buy all the cool clothes for my penguin.

What would you say was your favourite lyric from the single? 

Gabi: For me it’s gotta be “play you at jiu-jitsu, imma win the trophy,” cause I ruined people at that game lol. I was so freakin good.

Perrin: My favorite is definitely “if we fight we can smooth it over like a zamboni”. I had that line in my notes for so long and I had accepted that we would never write a song that would require such a horrible dad joke. The club penguin session was finally it’s moment to shine.

Tammy: My fav line is “pizza parlor dates I’m your one and only”. I remember my friends and I would all play club penguin together in elementary school. We would literally find boyfriends and go on double dates at the pizza parlor. It was just the thing to do back then haha.

When it comes to writing and recording the single, what was the process? 

Gabi: We wrote the song in a session with Nathaniel Clay (producer), and sat on it for a while before deciding to release it. We then took it to our other writer/producer friends, Gabe Reali and Jason Hahs, who helped us revamp (hehe pun intended) the track. The post chorus was entirely added in that stage. We all like to track our own vocals at home so we did that and sent the files to Jason, who finished up the production and sent it on to be mixed and mastered!

If someone wants to join the music industry, what would be your advice?

Perrin: My favorite part of this industry is being able to work with my best friends every day. I literally wouldn’t want to do any of this without them, so I think just find your people that you can trust and that make you excited to work. 

Tammy: I completely agree working with friends is the best part of it all. There's just something special about writing bops with all your closest friends. 

I’m sure everyone is excited to know what is next for you?

Perrin: We’re releasing an EP this year and we’re so so excited about it. The first single coming out is called 8ball and it’s the start of our ~party era~

Gabi: It definitely has a little bit of a *harder* vibe, which we’re all stoked about. We like to say that it kind of has “Euphoria” vibes (if we do say so ourselves hehe).

Tammy: We wrote an entire EP of songs that we felt were missing from our own pre game playlist. We’re so stoked for everyone to hear and blast it at their own pre games!

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