GFM is a trio of sisters, Maggie (vocals, bass), CJ (guitar, vocals), and Lulu (drums). They have over a decade of experience in playing large and small shows together. The GFM acronym stands for Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh, although after watching their set, the F could stand for Fun.
Dressed down as goth cheerleaders, these sisters have grown a dedicated fanbase while winning over new fans night after night. Drawing from many influences across rock and metal, they crafted their own style labelled, Beautycore. We got the chance to get to know the sisters of GFM before the final show in Louisville, Kentucky, on their recent run with Static-X.
Listen along while reading the interview, or enjoy it podcast-style via SoundCloud.
Who were your gateway bands to heavier music?
Lulu: “Yeah, it was a lot of Bring Me The Horizon and Asking Alexandria. We actually went to a festival called [Welcome to] Rockville, and now we actually got to see them all live. And she came home, and she was like, ‘We need to change her style.’ And so we started adding in them, like Lacey Sturm for her scream-wise. And then bands like A Day To Remember show-wise, just like with the aspect of everything they put into it, and the sparklers and the bubbles and the confetti. Fever 333, just like flipping on stage.
“All of those bands brought aspects into our band that if you look closely, you’ll see bits and pieces of. We love to just view bands and watch them and hear them and see what we can add into our music and what we can change and do on stage to keep it fun.”
“We threw the cupcakes again, and people were taking it and smearing it all over their face, their merch, and they call themselves the ‘cupcake war survivors.”
In your earlier days, you all went through like a rock n’ roll Bootcamp. Can you tell me a little bit about that?
Maggie: “Yes, our parents definitely just had us honing our skills from day one. And, you know, somebody told us when we were doing our first album, they’re like, well, at festivals, you only have like a short amount of changeover. You need to make sure you’re out; you’re changing your equipment fast. And so we had to do drills, and we would set the timer for seven minutes, and we had to have that stage set up for seven minutes in our living room. And if stuff wasn’t done, we tore it down and had to redo it until we got that seven minutes. And we hated it so much.
“We had to practice doing radio liners. We had our parents give us a random radio name, and we had to be like, ‘Hey, we’re GFM’ and do that. So now, when we do them now, it’s way easier. And if people are like, ‘Oh, like this is the best one we ever had is like,’ yes, because we had to do it for months at a time and we practiced interviews. We would make sure we had the right posture, and we weren’t slouching, and they were like we were projecting our voices. It’s definitely helped us a lot. We don’t stammer that much. We try to make sure we sound intelligible when we’re talking, and I think it really helped us a lot.”
How long have you been playing music together?
Maggie: “We like to say since birth, but officially as GFM from 2016 when our first album came out and then our first tour was 2017. Our first time going overseas was in 2018. So it’s just been an accumulation of five years of really diving into what we want to do.”
You all were playing cover gigs in 2011; what is it like to have been playing for over a decade?
Lulu: “Yeah, it’s crazy because when you sit and think about it, it’s like, I don’t remember a time when GFM wasn’t a thing because I was four (years old) when I started playing drums and we were playing shows when I was seven. There’s only a short period of time there that wasn’t GFM. It’s become such a huge part of our life. We’ve done GFM more than we haven’t. This is our life and all. It’s a job, and we do have that personal life. We live in the van, and we travel, and we go on tour for months at a time. And it’s really crazy when you think about it. You almost can’t sit and think about it for a little too long. You’re like, ‘I’ve always done GFM?!, hang on.’
“But it’s cool to see the progress and see because you can kind of get used to going on stage, and you get used to that adrenaline rush. But when you go and look back at old photos, it’s like we were so young, and there were like two or three people in the crowd, and we loved it, and we still love it. But it’s like now we’re opening for bands like Fozzy and Static-X, and there’s like hundreds of thousands of people, and it’s like, dude, if they knew what was coming, they would lose their mind.”
You have changed a lot in the last decade. Is it challenging or freeing to evolve your style?
Lulu: “I think I would say it’s freeing. It’s definitely cool that our fanbase grows with us and changes with us, and they’re very accepting of what we do because it is more of a community and more of a Team GFM. We’re a team. When we make changes, they are so welcoming and accepting of it because it’s also like they’re changing with us. Then we come out with new music that maybe sounds a little more pop-punk, maybe sounds a little bit more metal. They love it. They love everything because it’s not them supporting our music; it’s them supporting us. And that’s what has truly helped us and pushed us because we have those core people that are there for us, and they show up whether we’re going to sing acoustic or the full metal show; they’re just there to support us.
“And so I think having that base, along with our parents who also were there supporting us, no matter what happened, we’ve grown. I mean, we’ve gone from kids to teenagers to adults. So it’s like they’ve gone through there and been with each of those changes and still helped us and supported us. So I think that definitely allowed us to have that free feeling instead of being scared of being judged because we did, I’m going to say we didn’t have the fear of like, ‘Oh, well, people like this,’ or ‘if we change to doing this, are they going to stop listening to us?’ But we’ve been proven over and over that they’re not. They’re there for us, and they don’t care what we do, and they love it every time. So it’s really cool that we have that community.”
What’s been the key for you all to grow such a dedicated fanbase?
Lulu: “I think just being real with them and showing them every side of us. And it took us time to be comfortable in our own skin to do that because, you know, you’re on stage, you have makeup on, you have stage outfits on, and you have that confidence of, ‘I’m on this stage like this is my stage and we’re going to like have this show,’ and then you get off stage and it’s 3 am, and you’re in a parking lot at Walmart brushing your teeth in the Walmart bathroom. And so it took a while to have that confidence of showing all sides.
“But now it’s just like we said; it’s a team. They know every part of us. They know that we share. There’s obviously some things that we keep to ourselves because you don’t want to lose yourself in it. But they’ve seen us without makeup, they’ve seen us with makeup. They’ve seen us without showers, you know, touring is hard; sometimes we don’t have showers, but it’s like they’ve seen it all, and we’re real with them, and we let them know the good times, and we’ve let them know in the bad times because we don’t want our fanbase to think they’re alone in this because you know, if you make yourself up to this big person that has no flaws and has no insecurities, then people start to compare themselves to you and they’re like, ‘Oh, I wish I could be like them,’ but it’s like, ‘Hey, we’re human too.’
“Like we get off that stage and we have insecurities, we have issues, we have, you know, sister issues that we have to figure out and communicate. So it’s truly having that communication and being real with them and allowing them to be a part of what we’re doing. You know, we don’t just go to our van afterwards and go to the next show. We come out to the merch table, and we talk to everyone, and we want to, as safe as it is for us, like we want to go out and we are Christians.
“So we share the gospel, and we pray with people, and we want to be that ear for them, and we want to smile with them and hug them and just be that person that some people may never get. I think it’s just being our real authentic selves and continuing to do it. Not for money, not because we love music, but it’s not for the music; it’s for the people. And it’s being out there with the people.”
You’re playing to some new audiences. What’s it like to see people get it in the crowd?
Maggie: “You can tell when it clicks. We wear cheerleading outfits, and they’re like, ‘Oh, what is this?’ Or like, ‘Oh, that’s a pop band.’ We’ve had people come to the merch table and be like, ‘Oh, I saw you. We were in line, and we thought you were just like backup dancers or something.’ They see us bringing stuff on stage. And they’re just like, ‘Oh, this is going to be a long 45 minutes.’ When we start playing, everyone’s jaws drop, and the cameras immediately come up. There’s so much energy, and it’s definitely just such a cool thing just to be like, you didn’t think it was going to happen, but it happened, you know?”
Here’s a fun question. You all do a lot of gaming. What are your favourite video games right now?
Lulu: “I would say right now, probably Valorant. A new game called Stray came out, and you get to walk around as a cat, and we’ve been on tour when it came out. So when I get home, I’m streaming that game. I can’t wait.”
CJ: “We really love online mobile games. So like Clash of Clans, just mindless games like that.”
Maggie: “I’ve been playing a game called Superliminal, and so you’re able to like liminal spaces, but you have to take small things and have you back up because your perception makes it bigger. It’s a giant thing. So you can jump on that and like to get through these courses and stuff. So it’s little games like that. It’s kind of like escape rooms, but video game style. And Portal, love those games.”
The cupcakes. How did that start, and how far has it gone?
CJ: “It started when I turned 20 in 2019, and I wanted to throw a full cake from the stage because we’re playing outside the festival. And my mom was like, ‘No, we’re not going to do that.’
“And so I was like, ‘Oh, what about cupcakes?’ And so that’s when it all started, was at that festival. And then we played another outside festival like a couple of days later, and we threw the cupcakes again, and people were taking it and smearing it all over their face, their merch, and they call themselves the ‘cupcake war survivors.’ And so now it’s like a thing we have to do every show. Inside shows their wrapped Little Debbie’s because they match Lulu’s drum set that SJC picked her and customize this whole cupcake drum set. So it’s just really cool, and it’s like a part of us where we throw cupcakes.”
What’s next for GFM?
Lulu: “Right now, we’ve been on a lot of fun runs. We went with Islander and Static-X, and we did Fozzy earlier, and we’re actually doing another run with Fozzy this fall, and we’re very excited for that. And we’re going to do a lot of East Coast places and kind of Midwest places. We’re actually visiting this place (Mercury Ballroom in Louisville, Kentucky) where we’re at again in September, so it’s really cool that we’re kind of scoping it out first. So we’re very excited for the Fozzy run, and we have a lot of unannounced stuff that we’ve kind of had for a little bit that we still can’t talk about. Very excited about that.
“And everyone’s always like, ‘Do you have new music? And you know, you just released it, but do you have any?’ We always say we’re always writing like there’s never a time that we’re not writing or having ideas. So we definitely have stuff ready. We’re just, you know, kind of holding on to some stuff, but very excited. Our Twitch stream, we’re always doing those on Tuesday and Instagram lives and always come up with new TikTok ideas. So I know Maggie has some TikTok ideas that she’s itching to do once we get home. So it’s just a bunch of smaller things that we’re excited to announce and share.”