|photo: Joe Yunckes|
When they're not winning over a tough crowd of metal heads or rocking the house at flower festivals, the Grimm Generation, which features Jason P. Krug (acoustic guitar), Carmen Champagne (vocals) and now talented avant-folkster Lys Guillorn (lap steel, banjo, mandola, and glockenspiel) along with guitarist (and Fleshtones enthusiast) Dave Hogan, who joins them for live excursions, like to answer questions about themselves. In celebration of their gig coming up at the Liquid Lounge at the Connecticut Science Center on June 8, as part of the organization's "Bedrock Birthday", where they will playing four sets, two full GG sets, as well as a Guillorn solo set, and a classic GG set with Hogan, we decided to send principals Krug and Champagne a bunch of questions. Here are their answers. One thing, the questions were answered as a duo, unless otherwise noted, or if the question was addressed to a certain person in the band. Duh! Anyway, enjoy.
What is the origin of the band's name? I know you've told this before, but our readers would like to know. I heard there was a book involved too.
We met online (dating), broke up days later (email) but started a conversation we couldn't kill (book). Through this correspondence, we found that we ran with a lot of the same damages about love and divorce...about being online and starting over. But of course, everyone did. The name Grimm came from a smoky evening spent on the front porch wondering if we believed in anything. The book we wrote, Say Anything: Dispatches on Love, Lust and Longing from The Grimm Generation, was free-form vignette style which allowed us to write in a variety of forms and lengths, mostly true but some fiction also. We're very proud of the book, self-unpublished, but the more we worked together the more to the point we became which naturally lead to songs.
How do the new songs you're writing differ to the ones on your debut CD "The Last Record Party"? How are they similar?
Jason: When we started, it was just Carmen and me, an acoustic guitar and our two vocals. That was when we coined ourselves as Post Apocalyptic Pop...that being that come the Armageddon, we were your entertainment choice. There was something in the minimal darkness of the sound married to the words of real-time love, lust and longing that made us think we were onto something. When we made The Last Record Party, we almost imagined it as a rock opera (and as long as one too), and to get that bigger, fuller sound we were fortunate to have friends that were amazing musicians as well to support and create. We had a ball and are very proud of our rock and roll record. We supported the record by playing out live and worked with guitarist, Dave Hogan. As we played through our sets night after night, the sound started to deepen and darken back to the original roots. The Grimm sound is always two voices, a guitar and a rabid habit of writing pop songs.
The way we have always worked is words first, and the words reflect the period of time we are living. So when we wrote the songs that became The Last Record Party, we had just started and had some nice breaks and some not so nice break ups. The songs from that record were emotionally intense. We played a bunch of shows supporting the CD working with Dave Hogan (Graylight Campfire) and it developed into a nice, dark wooden sound to wrap around the vocals. This naturally lead to working with Lys Guillorn and what will be the sound of the next GG CD.
Since we have started, our goal has been the same: write short, pop-length songs with real sentient weight adding depth to the narrative. The cool thing about the new CD is that we will be playing songs that we have had opportunity to flesh out with Lys.
What were the reasons for adding Lys Guillorn to the line-up? Will she just be used in the live setting or will she appear on record too? What does she bring to the band?
Carmen: Jason and I were both both fans of Lys and had the opportunity to meet with her when we shared a couple of the same bills. After those shows, I sent her a note and a few new songs we were working on. Lys had a quality in her live set and her CDs that we thought was very Grimm. Lys' sounds brings frequencies that we dig: haunting and compelling stuff that we are excited to have on our next record.
Have you thought about a follow-up to your debut "The Last Record Party"? And if you have, when can we expect it and what can we expect from it?
As we work on new material and song arrangements for the next CD, we are in the studio recording an EP for summer release. We expect the EP to be a nice bridge between The Last Record Party and the next Grimm CD. The material on the EP is some of our favorite 'errant children' of the GG catalog that we felt needed to be heard.
Carmen, what are your lyrical inspirations? From what do you draw the subject matter of your lyrics?
C: The subject matter for me is both sex and relationships. A lot my songs stem from a singular moment etched in my recall of events. You know when you replay in your head a night that happened to you or that you observed? For me there’s always that one defining hiccup that reveals-- a shrug of the shoulders or a shift in stance, a turn of phrase of in a casual, off-hand manner...whatever it is, it exposes a vulnerability, a lovely character flaw. It's the basis to what I write mostly.
Jason, you once said that you envisioned the band as just being solely a studio project, yet you play out quite frequently. What made you change your mind about that? And what do you guys and gals get out of performing live?
J: I love the recording process, the opportunity to craft songs. But with Grimm, the more we play out the more the songs grow, and we serve the songs. We love playing in public, We have a lot of fun. It gives us the opportunity to take our frustrations out in style.
How are the band's songs written? Does the music come first, or is it the lyrics, or does it vary? What is your process?
We both write and get together many times a week and so consequently always have new material. We try to let the words lead to the style or vibe of the song. Everything is done in the house of Windsor, written in the kitchen and recorded in the basement..or the porch...or the dining room with the ever present chime of crickets in the background.
Jason, I know that you are a closet metal head. What draws you to that kind of music? Does any of that influence the music you make as a band?
Grimm ls metal in the dynamics, intensity and theater. And lyrically...well, it can be said we are dark. I've always found metal as a real honest form of music and lifestyle. Rock and Roll has always been about rebellion but metal takes it a step further: life sucks. f*ck you. I can appreciate that.
What are the future plans for the band?
We have each started a tell-all book on the other. We are aiming high.
MORE INFO HERE
Liquid Lounge: Bedrock Birthday
Friday, June 8th, 2012 Time: 6:00 PM - 10:00 PM
250 Columbus Boulevard, Hartford, CT