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Spotlight Interview with Grampfather

The latest release from Grampfather takes a number of psychedelic rock approaches and brings them into this slightly creepy feeling fuzztone tracks that feature some high energy percussion, loads of little hooks everywhere, and layers of textures that build into one sonic presence that kicks a lot of ass.

The Gramppappies album is brimming with this loose rock swagger that just spatters all over everything in the room and its made up of a raw drums sound, garage guitars, indie-rock lines, and this ultra fun energy that becomes invasively addicting.

This record is full of surprises and gets heavy at times, and mind-bending others but it all has a way of holding together like a Cronenberg film. The approach is different and outside the box but that's what makes it so damn good most of the time.

There is this outlandish attitude and throughout the record and our favorite songs are the ones that thrash out with a punk undertone and lots of balls to the walls style.

These guys are like a heavier Ween of sorts. The riffs are so different from song to song but super tasty every time and each one makes perfect sense for the track itself.

This is one of those albums that you learn to start expecting the unexpected and then it all clicks.

It's stupid good. It's the lost garage rock band you haven't heard but wished you had before now.

Lean into this and let these guys take you for a ride.

With the release of such a wild record, we wanted to have a chat with Grampfather to find out where exactly this all came from. Here's what happened.

RAG: Okay so let's start with The Gramppappies album. This record has a great array of fuxx toned rock styles on it! Where did this album come from?

Although our previous album is called Magnum Grampus, I think Gramppappies is our magnum opus (so far). We wanted to make an album that comprehensively encapsulates our range of sounds, from abrasive rockers to chill indie tracks--a good go-to album for people to discover the band. Whereas Magnum Grampus (2020) is characterized by heavier thrash rock songs and a tone of anger and frustration lyrics-wise, fueled by the many tragedies of 2020, Gramppappies has a sense of lightness and hope, but a hope that is informed by past experiences. You can be angry and frustrated all the time. This album is our way of asking, "Keeping in mind all the obvious shitty aspects of life, how can we be hopeful?"

RAG: I'm hearing some great styles on this release. Who are some of your biggest musical influences?

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard is a huge influence for us. They possess two qualities that all my favorite bands have: They're eclectic and prolific. I think those are great qualities to strive for as a band. I appreciate any band whose music traverses many genres, but can do so in a way that is consistent in quality. King Gizzard's proggy influence can be heard in songs like "Thad B. Radd" and "Odd Times for Odd Times."

Some other bands that have influenced us throughout the years are Modest Mouse, The Strokes, The Dodos, Broken Social Scene, and Black Sabbath, to name a few.

People have told us we sound like Pavement, Pile, and some other bands whose names escape me at the moment, but all of which I hadn't listened to until people told us we sound like them.

RAG: So how did this all begin for you really? When did you fall in love with making music?

My first love was skateboarding. Then at 15 I tore ligaments in my foot trying to varial heelflip a five stair. Since I was pretty immobile for a few months, I figured I'd pick up the guitar I had gotten when I was 10 and hadn't touched since. Little did I know then that that moment would lead to me making music for the next 15 years of my life. I started off recording instrumental, experimental chill rock music on Ableton under the name Cat People. It wasn't until 2013 when I was in undergrad at SUNY New Paltz that I formed Grampfather. The house/basement show scene there at the time was wild and I wanted to emulate that energy with my own project. So we started out as a two-piece kind of math rocky type of band. The line-up of the band has changed a bunch over the years, so Grampfather has this evolutionary nature where it changes with what music is influencing me at whatever point in my life and whoever is in the band. But our current four-piece line-up is more dedicated to the project than any other ensemble of past members, so I'm looking forward to keeping on making music with these talented dudes.

RAG: What's next for you as a band?

We're almost done with our 6th album, 666G, consisting of six songs. We're moving in a post-rock, surf rock, psychedelic direction and super excited for people to hear it.

RAG: What inspires you guys to write a song?

Either personal psychological musings or some current/world event. Usually those two coincide. I know that this is probably the broadest answer, but I think keeping it broad at first and then specifying is a good method. Our next album, 666G, has a general theme running throughout it, which is that we often make a big deal of things in our heads, but in reality it's not so bad. I think finding a balance between seriousness and levity is a good approach to songwriting. It's not like poetry, where the reader has time to digest charged, loaded verses. They only have such brief time in the song to hear the lyrics, so I try to keep it pretty straight forward, though some lyrics are more ambiguous and multilayered than they may seem. I guess it's how I put my writing degrees to work in some capacity.

RAG: What are you all doing when you're NOT working on music?

Whenever we're together we're either jamming, practicing, or just hanging with some beers. Apart from that, I work as a caption editor, editing and transcribing captions for TV shows, movies, webinars, etc, and a bartender at a cidery. Not my passions, but they get the bills paid, kinda. Jake works as a buying manager for a seed company. Tony's going to school for geology and has had several jobs working as a cook. And Andrew works for some company that makes maps using satellites or some shit--I don't know, we're convinced he works for the CIA.

RAG: Who are you all listening to right now?

King Gizzard, Band of Horses, Japanese Breakfast, TOPS, Peaer, Orions Belte, Kikagaku Moyo.

RAG: Are you doing live performances?

Yes. Mostly in NY and NJ these days, but we'd love to tour. Gas prices these days are a big deterrent. Record labels, hit us up and give us gas money so we can shred the Earth!

But yeah, you can follow us on Bandsintown or Songkick, or refer to, to stay updated on our upcoming shows.

RAG: This album seems like a big undertaking. What kind of advice might you have for other up and coming bands out there?

Keep at it. Persistence is key. There are a million things in this life telling you to give up and do something else, maybe something more lucrative. But if this is truly your passion, you'll find that you won't have a choice but to keep on going with it. A lot of your school friends may be making great money at seemingly great jobs, but if they lack a purpose-giving passion like make music, then you'll be richer (symbolically, of course--keep that day job!).

RAG: Before we go, what would you like to say to fans of the music?

Thanks for the support. We've seen the best response from Gramppappies than from any of our other past albums. Sometimes it feels like you're just casting your babies into the void. But it's incredibly rewarding to hear feedback from people who really dig what you're doing. It makes it all worth it. Thanks!

And keep your ears peeled for 666G!

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