Posted On 12 May 2017
Meet the LA-based indie-folk band The Grand Southern. Last month, the duo – comprised of drummer Dash Hutton and guitarist Jesse Tyre – released their music video “Traded Heaven,” which stars Evan Peters from American Horror Story and was directed by “Blacklist” star Ryan Eggold. Their 3 song EP Traded Heaven will be out on May 23rd. Their newest single “Sleeptalking” is out now, which you can check out here: https://soundcloud.com/thegrandsouthern/02-sleeptalking/s-VlE0p?in=thegrandsouthern/sets/grand-southern-ep-2017/s-IUf4P
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Learn more about The Grand Southern in the following All Access interview:
What are some words you would use to describe 2017 for this band and your music? What were some of the highlights? What has been the most exciting part about this year?
Jesse: The most exciting part of this year has been seeing people respond to our music. We spent pretty much all of last year writing and recording these songs.. and some other tunes that didn’t make the album. So its just been really cool to be able to get the tunes out there and play them live.
Growing up, did you both always want to be musicians? Can you recall the moment you realized that you could really make music together and be a band? How did you all first meet each other?
Jesse: I think I always knew it was something I wanted to do. My folks both loved music and there was always a soundtrack in our house. Temptations, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, or Bonnie Raitt records playing all the time. But you know, I wasn’t born into rock royalty like Dash haha.
Dash: Yeah it was something I just loved doing, and something that was all around me. Obviously with my dad’s band (Three Dog Night), but also my older brother Tim is a great musician, and I just love playing in bands. Jesse and I would just hang out and mess around with guitars. We would always try to crack each other up playing the ‘would you rather game’ with both choices being horrible unspeakable acts. Somehow we just landed on a song without even trying. This phrase “would you rather fall in love or break my heart again” was probably somehow subconsciously inspired by all the time we spent joking around. That was the first song we wrote, and they process was pretty easy and fun since then.
Jesse: We didn’t have any plans to be a band or even record anything, it was really about ‘hey I got this cool idea for a chorus, come over bring a guitar’. We still approach this band as two guys who like to write songs together. We don’t have any expectations beyond that. Luckily our music has been received pretty well, and because of that this band gets to do some cool shit.
Was it hard to narrow down a band name? How did you finally decide? What other names were you considering?
Dash: We wanted to be called the Honeymoons but I guess it was taken. Our lawyer also represented the ‘original’ Honeymoons coincidentally, and they wouldn’t give up the name even though they don’t play anymore.
Jesse: Wait before that we were the Silver Spoons. Wow that was an awful name.
Dash: Indeed. The Grand Southern sounds like an old railroad. It seemed to fit, Southern California with an old soul.
Can you talk about your recently released single, “Traded Heaven”? What was it like shooting the music video with Evan Peters from American Horror Story and being directed by Blacklist star Ryan Eggold?
Dash: When we wrote the song we had envisioned it as kind of a Paul Simon Graceland vibe. Tommy King who helped produce the record, as well as playing keyboards just had a vision to mix Americana with a big 80’s snare and some vintage synths.
Jesse: I’ve been friends with Ryan and Evan forever. They both were the recipients of many awful sounding rough mixes and demos as we wrote and recorded this album, so in that sense it felt like they were part of the creative process, the part where you don’t get any actual publishing or writing credits! But I really value their opinions. We were like ‘hey we wanna make a video, who do we know that does that kinda stuff?’ I’ve seen their work on Tv or in a play or whatever, but had never really seen them at work. It was pretty incredible for us to be a part of this production and really see how much work goes into a 3 minute video, and how talented they are. I think we were really in awe. Renee too. She’s an amazing singer, but was also perfect in this setting.
Can you tease your upcoming track “Sleeptalking” a little? Where did the inspiration for it come from? In general, how do you two go about putting a song together?
Dash: This one really is just a story we came up with about a relationship between two people. The guy is unable to convey his feelings to his wife except when he talks in his sleep. That’s sort of the analogy, not sure if its meant literally or just as a way of getting the idea across. It really came together when Greg (Leisz) played those big baritone guitar parts and Renee (Olstead) sang the duet. They both brought the whole thing to life.
I know that you released a 3-song EP earlier this year so do you have plans to release a full-length album of new music anytime soon?
Jesse: ya the first 3 songs were just the first half of the EP. I think we’re going to drip the rest out slowly over the next 4 or 5 years…
Dash: Or It will be out next month.
Do you have plans to tour any this year? Do you find that’s where you are happiest or would you say you happier in the studio making music?
Dash: We certainly love the writing process. I think that’s the most fun, just knowing we have something we really like. Recording is sort of the icing. Obviously playing live is something we enjoy and we’ll have some announcements soon. We’re just doing some local shows and promo stuff this month, but definitely more to come.
Who are some of your favorite artists? Who would you all to work with in the future? What would be a dream collaboration for The Grand Southern?
Dash: I love The War on Drugs, Wilco, there’s a band in Nashville called Airpark that our friends are in that are amazing. But you know, I like a lot of stuff from John Prine and Willie Nelson to a lot of the pop stuff I hear on the radio.
Jesse: Van Morrison, the Band.. hmm, Richard Julian wrote some of my favorite songs. Otis Redding, a lot of the Stax stuff of course. I have a not so secret love for Bon Jovi too. Great big choruses. I would love to work with Axl Rose and Too Short.
At the end of the day, what do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people take away from your songs?
Jesse: whatever they want. Think music is an abstract novel where you fill in your own characters and prescribe your own meaning. If it evokes some kind of emotion, or even makes you nod your head or smile that’s cool with us.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about this band or your music?
Dash: Thanks for listening.. and reading I guess.