Q&A with The Grand Southern

LA indie-folk duo, The Grand Southern have already had a busy 2017, with the release of their EP, Traded Heaven in February, the music video for the EP’s title track, starring Evan Peters in March and more new music coming even sooner than you’d think. With their new single, “Sleeptalking” out now (and available for streaming below), the band is already gearing up to release another new EP at the end of May. It’s their hard work ethic and willingness to venture out of their own comfort zone that will put The Grand Southern on the map, and you’re going to want to come along for the ride. Read more about their Traded Heaven EP and plans for this summer below!

Interview by Dom Vigil

Can you tell us a little bit about The Grand Southern for any readers who might not be familiar? 

Dash Hutton [drums]: Sure. We’re from Los Angeles, we’re very handsome, and we enjoy a nice sunset.

You guys have already been busy this year, with your new EP out a couple of months ago and a new video for “Traded Heaven” out now. What have been some of the highlights of the year so far?

Jesse Tyre Karp [guitar]: The response to the tunes we released this year has been great.  Honestly we really enjoy hanging out and writing songs.  We’ve had some fun shows and a bunch more to come, but once the record was mastered and the video was done, we were excited to get back to writing.

Now that it has been out for a couple of months, what are some of your favorite things about the Traded Heaven EP?

Dash: I love that it was a step forward for us musically.  We’re really proud of the songs, but they were all written on an acoustic guitar or a piano.  The direction we took with production and instrumentation was a departure from what we’re used to.

Jesse: That’s true, Tommy King who plays keys and helped produce the EP had some pretty out ideas.  We found there was a place between our Americana thing and (Don Henley’s) Boys of Summer.  Pedal Steel, Baritone, 12 string guitars mixed with that syncopated Juno synth, arpeggiated layers, and big gated drums.

Dash: (mixing engineer) Dave Way was key in making all this stuff work.  He really believed in what we were doing and that made it easy to trust him and let him do his thing.

Did you have any major goals in mind when working on those three songs?

Jesse: We actually did 7 or 8 songs, 6 of which will be on the EP when it come out later this month. The important thing for us is not having any expectations or worry how music is gonna be received.

Dash: Yeah that’s true.  Sounds cheesy but our goal is always just to make music we love and let that motivate and help shape the songs.  Whatever happens beyond that is out of our control.

The music video for the EP’s title track not only stars Evan Peters, but was also directed by Ryan Eggold. Where did the inspiration for the video come from?

Jesse: We kicked around some different ideas and even different songs.  Evan wrote the “outline”, or whatever it’s called, for the video on a group text and it clicked with all of us.  Just seemed to flow with the song, and was kinda quirky and funny.  Ryan was big on having a classic car and driving out of the city.

Dash:  We’re just lucky to have amazingly talented friends who can act and direct.  It was really fun to watch them work and we tried to stay out of the way as much as possible!

On top of everything else you’ve been up to so far this year, you also released your new single, “Sleeptalking.” Can you tell us about the track?

Jesse: It’s a great ballad.  I can say that without boasting because Renee (Olstead) makes it great.  Renee and Rachel (Fannan) are the Grand Southern’s secret weapons.  The best singers.  She makes the story in the song come alive.

Dash: We wrote this one in Jesse’s living room and we had like 10 verses and I was not sold on it.  obviously it grew on me!

Could fans expect to hear any other new music coming soon after “Sleeptalking”? 

Jesse: Yeah, we have the full EP coming out at the end of May.

What is the rest of 2017 looking like for The Grand Southern? Do you have any plans to hit the road soon? 

Dash: Yup.  We’ll have some stuff to announce soon.

Thank you for taking the time to chat with us! Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Thanks for having us!