The Grimm Generation – The Ear 2 the Ground Interview

It’s not secret that I love music.  Honest – it’s not a secret – ask anyone.  And, it’s part of my nature to constantly seek out new music.  I don’t just do it because of this blog – this just gives me a more legitimate excuse for doing so (as if I need an excuse – legitimate or not).  I make presenting and featuring new music an important part of what we do here.  You also may know that I have pretty eclectic taste in music. Jazz, Punk, Experimental Hip-Hop, Americana, Alt-Rock, Alt-Country, Alt-Pop-Folk, Acoustic Baroque Dubsteppy Metal – I don’t care what you call it – if it’s got a good beat and I can dance to it, I’ll give it an ‘8’!

What was I talking about… oh yeah, Music – good music.  I’ve tried from the start to keep the energy positive. If I like it, I’ll write about it; if I don’t, I probably won’t.

Now, that being said – out of all the music I’ve “discovered” in course of writing this silly blog – the number of times I’ve been blown out of the water by a band or song or record has been very low. By blown out of the water – I’m talking about being bowled over – on the spot.  Love at first thing: The Music Edition. I am not going to attempt to name those few bands for one because I’ll leave somebody off and two because… just because…

Bottom line here people is that The Grimm Generation was one of those handful of bands that rocked my world and didn’t even buy me dinner first. But, now I’m hooked and they can’t shake me off – like that person you met at a dark bar and…well you see where I’m going with this.

In an earlier post, I said something to the effect that The GG make music that sounds like it has always existed. They make unabashedly great music.  Every time, I hear The Grimm Generation, I find myself thinking – why doesn’t everybody in the world know about this.  And then I blame myself, and say I could’ve done more!  So I find an excuse to write more.  If asked why I love this band so much, I would not have been able to say for sure, but recently, I had a chance to “talk” via good old fashioned e-mai to Jason and Carmen of The Grimm Generation and as you will see, everything became crystal clear…

E2TG: How long has The Grimm Generation existed and what has changed since the early days of the band?
THE GRIMM GENERATION: The Grimm Generation formed in 2010 based on the post-divorce transcripts, hang ups and habits that we each brought to the online dating table where we first met in 2007. It started off the two of us trading stories and then singing them. And we’ve grown a sound now that serves the songs, with a band who bring colors in we never considered . We still write too much and release online too easily, but we seem to be getting heard.
E: Why The Grimm Generation?

GG: We felt we grew up at a strange age in time: post Free Love and firmly ensconced when Reagan was in the white house. Our older kin was squarely in the 70s drug culture and we got ‘just say no’. We felt gypped and decided to sing about it. Which is why so much of our material is based on the consequences of ‘kicks’. We are boho hedonists, but can’t help but feel guilty about it. We self-titled the age group The Grimm Generation, reflecting on how ‘we believe in fairy tales and we believe in nothing at all’.
E: What do you like best about being in a band?

GG:Starting something in the kitchen that ends up on the stage. Watching the songs flourish with the additional instruments and the way they make the song shine.

E: What do you dislike the most?
GG: The pay.

E: How does the songwriting process work for the band?

Carmen Champagne: All songs are written by both Jason and I. We pick through the best of them and send to Lys (guitars, banjo, bells, lapsteel, mandola), Eric (bass) and Julie (cello). And then, magic. We met everyone online or at gigs, so we didn’t have a long history with the band, but what they bring is the sound we needed, turning our acoustic threats into fully arranged promises. 

E: Your latest release is called Coming Home, how did that come about?

C C: Jason played with Adam Hagymasi in The Citizen Spy and kept in touch. Adam was a crazy-good guitar player. Adam offered to have us out to his place in Collinsville to record a couple songs. We jumped at the chance.
The songs were two new songs (Blink, Im Gone and Your Body Betrays You) we wrote and three old ones we loved and never had a chance to record. We went to Adam’s a couple of nights and recorded basic guitar and vocals to drum clicks and let Adam have at it. He created five beautiful pieces of work. Sound, stylistically, hitting upon different moods. Very Grimm mood music.

E: Any big plans for 2013?

GG: Recording the new CD is what we’re all about for 2013. We tend to turn gigs into themed events and we have a couple of those coming up as well. We try to make everything we do fun for us and hopefully that joy translates. So far, so good.

Shifting gears:

E: What is the first music you can remember hearing?

C C: AM pop/rock mixed in with the Morning Voice of WTIC and French Canadian pop tunes playing on my parents stereo.

Jason Klug: For me it’s my older sister play Black Sabbath ‘Volume 4’ and Deep Purple ‘Machine Head‘ while I played with the album covers.

E: When do you begin making music?

J K: I wrote my first song at 13 and did my first gig at 15 at a local teen center. I eventually learned to play some guitar and started writing solo around 18.

C C: When I met JPK.

E: Was there a moment, when you thought, this is it – this is what I’m meant to do?

GG: When we first got together, it was just one guitar and two singers writing something, hopefully meaningful…and kind of catchy. We love these songs like our dumb, errant children and as we meet people and play with them, the songs grow and learn to walk on their own. We thought (and maybe sometimes still think) our stuff is a little outside for rock. But when the songs hit people, lyrically, it gets meaningful.

E: Did you get much encouragement when you began playing music? Any discouragement?

GG: Liquid courage but no encouragement.

E: What music is in the Grimm Generation record machine these days?

GG: Well, the Grimm Generation, lol! But we also are digging The Brian Jonestown Massacre and Mountain Goats ‘All Hail West Texas‘. Also a lot of Casiotone For The Painfully Alone and M Ward.

E: Any music that you really dig that would surprise the casual observer of the band?

GG: Jason’s a big Belle and Sebastian fan. We both listen to a lot of Prince. Carmen enjoys some Goth industrial from time to time. We tend to wear our influences on our sleeve, like Morphine and Elvis Costello.

E: Social Media and other technology has changed the way music is made and distributed. This can be a good thing or a bad thing? Do you think the bad out weighs good or vice-verse?

GG: In our case, the internet has been good to us. It gave us the opportunity to present what we do without going through traditional channels. We adapted to what would ever get our songs heard. We met most of our band through social media. The internet has been good to us.

E: All things being equal and time and monetary restrictions aside, do you see The GG releasing tons of music in a short time or releasing less music to focus more on each song.

GG: The answer is always releasing tons of music in a short time. We’ve got words We are spazzes. It’s a core Grimm element.

E: If you could pull any band from any time to see play live, which band and from which part of their timeline would you choose? Not thinking in particular about an historic show but more a hypothetical scenario?

C C: Queen, 1977. One of my biggest regrets is not having been able to experience the super showmanship of Freddy Mercury live.

J K: Elvis Costello and the Attractions, Imperial Bedroom Tour…to me, Elvis and The Attractions were the hottest, ballsiest, smartest and most emotionally effective of rock bands.

The latest Release from The Grimm Generation is called Coming Home. It’s more of the brilliant and moody music we have come to expect from The Grimm Generation.  Check it out below.  We also have the video for the Blink, I’m Gone – the first song on the new record.


Cosmonauts – "Cold Harbor" (New Song +The Ear to the Ground Interview )

Go visit the Cosmonauts’ Facebook Page NOW!  I mean it!  If you haven’t done so, “Like” the page. As of right this moment they are streaming their brand spanking new song, Cold Harbor.  I got a sneak peek, and it’s damn good stuff, and you know I wouldn’t lie to you. 


 We recently chatted with band member, Bill Hunsinger, to find out more about the band, this song and more.
Ear to the Ground:  What can you share about the new song “Cold Harbor”?
Cosmonauts: The song is about a guy who gets a girl pregnant after a night out at a bar, and the consequences of that night for her. It is based on a true story. 
EttG:  (Cosmonauts first two records tell the story of Emily Malone and Daniel Raincourt) Is this part of the Daniel Raincourt story cycle?  If not, what was it like writing outside of that story?  Was it difficult or freeing?
C: It is not part of the Daniel Raincourt saga. It was difficult at first to write outside of the story, especially since we had been writing within the story for almost two years, but it ended up being very freeing. There were many things that I wanted to write about that wouldn’t fit into that story, and this happened to be one of them. 
EttG:  What can you tell you about making the video?
C: That it was a lot of hard work! We filmed all of it, by ourselves, over the course of twenty hours, with multiple locations, tons of extras, and two fantastic actors (including our own guitarist James White). There’s a particularly gruesome scene at the end, and I think it makes for a powerful ending. 
EttG: Okay, I’d like to ask a few questions to give our readers some context: What is the first music you are consciously aware of hearing?
C: I remember being about four, listening to Nanci Griffith’s “Flyer” album on the way to my grandparents house. It was my family’s soundtrack for car trips, and  something about it was magical to me. I was raised listening to a lot of folk singers and alternative bands (REM, Suzanne Vega), and it really influenced me to want to be a musician and play songs out of sheer enjoyment of the craft. 
EttG:  What kinds of music did you listen to as a teenager?  Was there a musical moment during that time that really stood out to you?
C: Well, the whole “emo-hardcore” scene was starting to come out when I was thirteen or so. I loved Coheed and Cambria, Brand New, etc. That was, I think, the time in my life, as well as a few of my band mates, that made us want to be in a band and write songs and play shows. The scene was very inclusive and friendly and, as somewhat social outcasts, we felt like we belonged somewhere. 

EttG:  When did you start playing?  At what point did you figure out that just maybe this music thing was for you?
C: I started playing guitar and writing music about twelve years ago now. I don’t think there was ever a defining point where I said “this is for me”. I just started playing music with my friends and after a while we started playing basement shows and birthday parties. It wasn’t until I started playing real shows on real stages that I thought that I could actually artistically create music. 
EttG: How did the band form?
C: Joe and I had the idea for the story that became our first two albums when our old band broke up. When we started writing the songs, we realized there was no way we’d be able to pull off the ideas we had unless we had more members. Joe and I are mediocre musicians at best, and we just couldn’t do what we thought the story needed. Luckily for us, we happened to know a band of three extremely talented musicians that were looking for a new musical direction, and they were kind enough to go along with our crazy ideas. 

EttG:  Why Cosmonauts?
C: Honestly, we just needed a name. We had all the songs written for the first album, but no band name. I had been listening to “relationship of command” by At the Drive-In a lot at the time, so we took our band name from one of their songs. 

EttG:  How did the concept of the Emily and Daniel story develop?
C: Joe wanted to write a story about a man who deals with the emotional drama of losing a loved one, an I wanted to write, basically, a horror story. A lot of the horror aspects of the story are personal experiences I had. “lovers of kerosene lane” is about a couple I met. The man was covered in bandages after being attacked with a knife, and the women was a morbidly obese women, covered in vomit. They were making out in the middle of a gas station parking lot at two am. It was a nauseating thing to see. 
And some of the story elements are just metaphors for how joe and I felt at the time. It was a labor of love to piece the story together, but I think, in the end, we managed to get a fairly coherent story out. 

EttG:  (Joe Mansman created some striking art for the Emily and Daniel stories) When did Joe start drawing? Did he have any formal training? Are there any particular artists that influenced his visual art?
C: Joe started in elementary school, but had no formal training. He was influenced by the early work of Frank Miller, Todd McFarlane, and Mark Silvestri

Ettg:  What’s next for Cosmonauts?
C: We’re continuing to write for a next album, and playing some shows in the Northeast. We really want to focus this time on lyrics, rather than the musical aspect of the songs. So you’ll be seeing (hopefully) more emotionally powerful songs as opposed to guitar heavy songs. 

EttG:  Is there any band or artist you’d like to work with or tour with?
C: There are so many bands we play with now that we absolutely love playing with. Skeletons in the Piano (Note: Skeletons in the Piano were our Band of  the Month for July) and Wild Adriatic, for example. I’d rather keep working with them to keep creating a sustainable music scene is our area than to work with a national act. Bands can only survive with local support, and we’ll do what we can to help create that scene. 

EttG:  What music have you been playing most often?
C: Everything! Personally, I’ve been playing more Appalachian folk than anything else lately, but we all have a diverse preference when it comes to playing music on our own. As a band, we play whatever feels right for the song, whether it be a Latin-based rhythm or light waltzes, or even screaming (or all of them at once). 

EttG:  What’s the best part of being in a band and making music?  The worst?
C: The best part of being in a band is being able to do what you love to do with your closest friends, and being able to express yourself musically and having other people relate. There’s nothing better than that. 
On the other hand, the worst thing about being in a band is when you play a show and people are apathetic to your performance. It’s discouraging, but you just shake it off and go play another show. 

EttG:  And finally, this is a question, I try to ask whenever I can:  If you could see any band perform live at the peak of their career, who would you see and at what point in their career?
C: I would have loved to see Robert Johnson play back in the 1930’s. He influenced countless of legendary guitar players, and his songs were very personal and intimate.  

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