Out of the Gate 

The emergence of Super Low.

No more "China Gate."

Don't worry. The Memphis band is still around, but its name is different. It's now "Super Low."

It was time for a change, says guitarist/singer Tiger Adams, 23. "I just finished school in December," he says. "I was in literature and sociology. Now we're all out of school. We're able to take it more seriously."

click to enlarge Tiger Adams (left) and John Lewandowski of Super Low - FLANNERY HARPER
  • Flannery Harper
  • Tiger Adams (left) and John Lewandowski of Super Low

But, he says, "I don't want to say 'seriously' because I don't want it to feel too serious. Now we're able to tour. It just felt right to kind of change the name. The next step."

In late May, Super Low will release its first single, "Beginner," from its upcoming self-titled album.

Super Low is Adams and drummer John Lewandowski, 24. "The lineup is constantly changing at shows," Adams says. "It's not going to be the same people all the time. The only two constant members are me and John. Bass guitar and keys are going to be switching around based on availability of who can play."

China Gate, which originally included Adams, Conner Booth, and Jesse Wilcox, was formed in 2013. "Jesse Wilcox and I were roommates freshman year at the University of Arkansas," Adams says.

Prior to that band, Adams, Booth, and Walt Phelan played in a band called Berkano. Following that band, Adams, Booth, and Wilcox played in Kilgore Trout. "I guess that was kind of the predecessor to China Gate," Adams says.

The original China Gate also included Ethan Williford, Harrison Neblett, and his brother, Kyle.

Adams chose the "China Gate" name. "It came from a Sun Ra song. The jazz musician."

The music in Super Low and China Gate are "exactly the same," Adams says. "Power pop. Not really loud rock. It's soft. Mid-soft."

But, he says, the band's vibe has changed over the years. "I think it's evolved. A little more dynamic."

Their first China Gate gigs were at "basement shows, house shows," Adams says.

Two years later, they began playing at clubs, including Hi-Tone and Bar DKDC.

Hunca Munca was China Gate's first album. "Whether You're Coming or Not" was the band's biggest hit at the beginning, says Adams, who writes the music and lyrics. "I do the chord progressions and the melodies."

As to what their songs are about, Adams says, "I feel like the songs aren't ever really about anything specific. I feel they're just kind of vague. You can apply it to whatever you want."

The lyrics are surreal. "Not psychedelic."

Chris Garner, owner of Garner Frame Shop, came up with the new name, Adams says. "John liked the word 'Super.'"

"I just wanted 'Super,'" Lewandowski says. "I wanted to do 'Super Ball' or 'Super' something."

What kind of reaction did they get from fans after they announced the name change? "I feel with the internet it's not that big of a deal anymore," Adams says. "You can just change the name on the internet. Anybody who would know about us would probably follow us on the internet."

The band recently played its first show as Super Low at Bar DKDC. "I think there were some people who had never seen China Gate play before or knew about us," he says.

He got comments like, "That's a really good first show you're playing."

They thought Super Low was a new band. "We've been playing for four years."

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