Friday, September 16, 2011

Grieves Discusses New Album, Recording And His First Headlining Tour; Appearing At Subterranean 9/26

If you are a fan of independent hip hop, there is a good chance that Grieves is an artist that comes up frequently. Since 2008's 88 Keys and Counting and 2009's The Confessions of Mr. Modest, the emcee, along with producer/multi-instrumentalist Budo, has been proving himself to be an exceptional lyricist and performer providing energetic opening support to various acts as well as landing various event and festival spots this year such as South by Southwest, Paid Dues Festival and Warped Tour. Recently, Grieves released Together/Apart, an album that chronicles the trials, tribulations and highs of two years of touring in his personal and professional life. Along with Budo, he is heading out on his first headlining tour and will be performing at Subterranean on September 26 with Prof and The MC Type as opening support.

Through email, I was able to interview Grieves and inquire about the new album and its headlining tour, his influences and vocal harmonies. The key is Detroit and Germany. Thanks to Thomas from Biz 3 for setting this up.

H &J:  As mentioned in a few interviews I've come across, the new album, Together/Apart, reflects the last couple of years supporting 88 Keys and Counting on and off the road. In working on the new album, was there anything about that time that you felt was too personal to write about?

Grieves: I'm not really one to hold back on my writing...but I think there are ways to paint certain subjects in a light that still provides a bit of protection for the artist. That time was a pretty rough time for the both of us and a lot of things in our life fell victim to change at that point. For us...I would say we aimed to capture that energy...not nitpicking every issue...but more harnessing the way it made us feel and the way it affected our worlds and work. Looking back at it all, I would say that we did a pretty good job at doing that.

H&J: Of the album's tracks, which do you feel best best represents you as a lyricist? As a performer? And why?

G: That's an interesting question... it's hard to think about the things that define me in certain fields. I can say this though... Songs like "Pressure Cracks" and "Heart Break Hotel" show how you can take something super simple and make it powerful...that, I think is good lyricism. Songs like "On The Rocks" and "Sunny Side of Hell" have showcased a side of my work that shows advancement...being able to make those songs and bring them to the stage and perform them is cool. A few years ago, I probably wouldn't be able to hold the pitch or energy. It's interesting to see how things grown and develop over time.

H&J: What was the easiest part of recording Together/Apart? Hardest?

G: There isn't much "easy" in recording a record.. but the studio that we worked with, Blast Off, really helped make us feel comfortable. That place was amazing! As far as the hard parts go... I would say pulling it all together was the hardest. We sat down...and over two years, Budo and I made a metric ass ton of songs.. most of which I loved. It was hard to weed out the "Perfect" ones for this record. BUT... I think we did a pretty good job at finding the right balance.

H&J: Were there any tracks that you recorded yet left off the album? Any plans for them?

G: I guess I should have read this question before I answered the last one, eh? We do have a lot of songs without homes right now...but both Josh (Budo) and I are not ones to force something out there just for the sake of feeding the wolves. If we can find a productive way (which we will) to use a lot of those songs...then we will package them up and get em out to the public. But...sometimes...somethings are best left alone.

H&J. One interesting thing about a lot of emcees on Rhymesayers is the element of melody in the rhymes as well as being able to come up with hooks and choruses to complement the songs. You, like your labelmates, have a very melodic style to your style. What do you attribute to your sense of melody?

G: Motown! Grew up with it...lived with it...and I swear by it. That music has been a major influence on the way I view and create music.. That and the German band, Rammstein.

H&J: You're heading out on your first headlining tour. What feelings of excitement or nervousness, if any with the latter, are you feeling?

G: This is our first headlining there is that feeling of excitement of doing something new...but it's also accompanied by a bit of nail biting. It's hard to know how things are gonna go. You wanna do well cause you wanna provide your team with a good show and turn well as create an opportunity to be welcomed back. So far, our numbers have been pretty good though. So, although, I am a bit nervous...I think things are gonna be just fine. 

H&J: Headlining this time, what can people who have never seen you and Budo perform expect?

G: MORE MUSIC. Most of our fans have only seen us play 30 min support sets. This is a chance for us to really pull out some catalog on people. For those of you who have never seen us...bring your chin strap...CAUSE WE'RE GONNA MELT YOUR FACE OFF!

H&J: Outside of your life's events, what else inspires and influences you?

G: Other can learn a lot from just sitting in one place for a second and soaking in the people and world around you.

H&J: Who are you currently listening to?

G: RIGHT now... i have the Miike Snow record in my cd player. I love that record! The melody and song arrangement on that album rocks my socks off. Over all though...I would say I'm a big neo soul dude. D'Angelo, Bilal, Raphael Saadiq, ya stuff.

H&J: At the end of the day, when all is said and done, how would you like people to remember and you and your work?

G: If it speaks to you...and it carves a place in your world... thats all that matters. I'm not gonna ask people to remember me cause that's not up to me. Not everything lasts forever...people change...interests shift...but if the music we make can define something in your world for the now...and maybe even help you in your journey for change...then that's the coolest thing I can think of. 

Either that or remember me as the as the most mildly attractive baby faced man you met all month...COUGAR CATNIP! 

Buy your tickets for the September 26 show at Subterranean here. Together/Apart, the newest album from Grieves, is available in CD and Vinyl and is out now. Also follow Grieves on Twitter at @Grievesmusic

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the amazing review. Since I listened to their music for the first time. I thought that It would be great to know more about them.