An Interview With The Americana Duo, MICHIGAN RATTLERS!
Posted On 19 Dec 2017
Meet the Americana duo, Michigan Rattlers (consisting of Graham Young and Adam Reed)! They recently released a surprise EP of cover songs called “Wasting The Meaning.” This collection sees the twosome taking on three of their favorite songs from HAIM, Leonard Cohen and Tom Petty. PRESS HERE to purchase the collection + HERE to stream via Spotify.
“‘Wasting the Meaning” was recorded over a weekend at Johnny K’s home studio in Chicago this September,” states the duo. “We were coming off a great summer of festivals and touring around the Midwest, and we wanted to capture some of that momentum. Our last studio effort (the five-song Michigan Rattlers EP) was recorded in a single day, so the luxury of having three days to record three songs afforded us a lot of time to experiment and explore a bigger sound. It’s exciting to think about what we could accomplish with an entire week.”
The collection follows their self-titled EP which was released late last year and received praise from Rolling Stone, No Depression, Bluegrass Situation and many more. 2017 has been a whirlwind year as the two received rave reviews for their first ever performances at both SXSW and AmericanaFest. Stay tuned more music, tour dates and details of a full-length album coming soon!
Connect With MICHIGAN RATTLERS Here:
Praise for The Michigan Rattlers:
“For Fans Of: Whiskeytown-era Ryan Adams, early Wilco, the acoustic side of Rhett Miller and the Old 97’s.”
“Keep an eye on these guys!”
“Michigan Rattlers weave together powerful lyrical narratives with guitar leads, vocal harmonies and extensive refrains.”
“The debut from this Americana duo pops with urgency and confessional intimacy. Young shares confidences through his lyrics and the exceptionally moving tone of his voice. Recommended if you like: Ryan Adams, Jeff Tweedy, Tom Petty, Steve Earle, Gin Blossoms.”
“Michigan Rattlers conjure fond memories of Drive-By Truckers’ border breaks and cross-legged Richard Buckner concerts.”
“A rebirth of roots friendly Americana seems on the horizon, and alongside the paths of artists like Sturgill Simpson and Kacey Musgraves, the Michigan Rattlers hint towards a career of relatable integrity.”
–Blah Blah Blah Science
Learn more about Michigan Rattlers in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time for this All Access interview! Where does this interview find you today? Is there music playing in the background? What is it? What is one song that you are all loving right now? What is a song that you disagree about loving right now?
We’re in Los Angeles, which is on fire right now. No kidding, there’s purple smoke everywhere. It’s nuts. Lydia Loveless’ Boy Crazy album is playing right now, and I think we can all agree it’s totally badass, start to finish. For better or worse, there isn’t much we don’t agree on musically. Although we did get into an argument about the national anthem the other day. I (Adam) say it’s too hard to sing. That’s not a political statement, I just think it’s dumb how you can pretty much expect a bad performance every time you hear it.
2. How did this group first come to be? Can you recall the moment when you all thought you could be in a band together? Was it hard to come up with a name that you could all agree on? How did you come up with your band name?
Graham and I started playing guitar together sometime in middle school, and I think by high school we were already set on making a career of it. That’s around when we started playing with Christian. Michigan Rattlers is really our first real project together as adults, though. We hit on the name during my first drive out to Los Angeles, which is where we now live. We liked it for two reasons: it’s a reference to MI’s only venomous snake, and it sounds like a baseball team.
3. How do you think this band has been influenced by the city you are from? How did that particular music scene affect you all?
Petoskey, Michigan is a small place. There are a whole bunch of bars (on account of the tourist season) and very few bands to play at them, so at an early age we were afforded performance opportunities left and right. That meant tons of cover sets, but in retrospect I think those were great for figuring out what we are and aren’t good at.
4. How does 2017 compare to last year? What all are you most excited about for 2018?
Way, way better. I mean, we’ve been dreaming about touring since we were little, and this was the year that we finally got to really do it. The feeling is incredible. As far as next year, the plan is to spend even more time on the road. I can’t wait.
5. What was it like recently releasing your EP of covers called “Wasting The Meaning”? Was it hard picking the songs? How long have you been wanting to release a collection like this? How did the summer of festivals and touring around the Midwest really influence it?
We hadn’t really planned on releasing a cover EP, it’s just what made sense at the time. Johnny K said he was free for a weekend in September and we decided to try to make as much as we could with the short time we had. Plus, we looked it as on opportunity to build up our recording chops a little bit. Our first EP was five songs recorded in twelve hours, so comparatively, three songs over three days left a lot of room to explore some different methods. As far as song choice, we just wanted to pay homage to some of our favorite songwriters, while also representing some different styles and eras of recordmaking. It’s also worth mentioning that coming off of a busy summer was hugely helpful. Our energy was great, and our heads and our hands were in the right places.
6. How do you think this EP prepares listeners for more music from this group?
I hope that people hear a more versatile band sound in this EP than they do in the first EP. I also think that it sounds more thoughtful, which comes largely from more time spent recording. We’re going to keep pushing with this new record.
7. How is your full-length coming together? How different or similar will the sound of it be from the other music you’ve put out?
The songs and the band are ready! Just looking for the right opportunity to lay it down. I think it will sound familiar to anybody who knows our stuff. We’re a songs-first kind of band, and we’re feeling very very confident about this next batch.
8. Do you think that you have grown a lot since you first started making music together? What has remained the same about your sound and your creative process?
Well it’s been more than ten years, so definitely yes. Again, we’ve been songs-first from the start, whether they were ours or somebody else’s. We’ve always had the attitude that the musician serves the song, which is huge for us.
9. While this may be difficult to answer, where do you think you are all happiest- on stage performing, in the studio recording or elsewhere?
On stage and on the road. Playing live and traveling are the reasons we got into this.
10. We are living in a crazy and at times rough world right now so I am curious how you think being in this band gives you the most joy in life today? Do you think that new music being created today is going to reflect this difficult time?
It’s hard to say that music from this time will have the same effect as, say, folk music did in the late 60’s, but I definitely think there is important music being made today – music that will be remembered as timely and important. After all, art moves and change follows, right?
11. Who are some of your favorite artists right now? Who would you love to work with in the future? What would be a dream collaboration for this group?
Well, to the note of the previous question, the Drive-By Truckers. We’re big fans of Brian Fallon, Old 97’s, Hayes Carll, Sara Watkins, and Todd Snyder, to name a few. Dream collaboration: Elmo Buzz.
12. What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?
I think most Rattlers songs are hopeful in some way. We’re trying to tell real, human stories.