‘Keep challenging the listener and keep pushing the boundaries’ An interview with the Great Grandfathers

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If you were to ask Luke Prize who his bandmates were three weeks prior to the Great Grandfathers‘ album release show, he wouldn’t have known the answer.

“There was no real band,” Prize — who sings, plays guitar and writes songs for the band — explains. “There was just friends donating their time, volunteering their skills and thoughts to the cause — and then the record’s done and we need band.”

What started out as a stripped-down record of what Luke calls “pieces of older thoughts, like B-side songs that nothing really happened to,” permeated into a lo-fi, pop album with equal parts rock and grooving soul.

“Every song has something going in every single part, and it’s just layered and layered and layered,” Luke says. The tracks originally began as mostly acoustic and stripped-down songs.

“I’m glad it took the turn it did because I feel like it’s challenging now and it’s pushed boundaries. I don’t know, it’s just different. I feel like as a musician you’re responsible to keep challenging the listener and keep pushing the boundaries.”

The now-formed band includes Luke’s brother Trevor on keys, guitar and percussion, along with Ryan Adams on drums, Andy Prinster on bass guitar, Rebecca Prinster on vocals and flute, Eric Enger on vocals, guitar and mandolin, as well as Andrea Walker on vocals.

With many of the Great Great Grandfathers’ members having been in other bands or currently working on other musical projects, the juxtaposition of time and talent available from the start of recording in January 2011 to the record’s completion seems to have worked in the band’s favor.

“Everybody put in the work and got everything together,” Ryan Adams says. “The culminations of years’ worth of off-and-on again effort and it was really cool to see it come together into a stage show that people were excited about and had a good time at. I got a kick out of that.”

“Saint Anthony’s Fire” is not a typical indie rock album. It’s adorned with jangling keys, ricocheting guitar melodies and wafting vocals over its 10-track span. It’s a toss in quite a different direction from what Luke imagined it beginning as, but there are no complaints.

“I don’t know if it’s the case for most musicians or artists who make an album, but I definitely didn’t see it coming together like it did,” Luke says. “To see it all come together in front of your eyes and feel like you have total control, or as much control as you could ever have, it’s really neat.”

With a freshly-pressed album under its belt and a couple of shows done to boot, the Great Grandfathers seem to be taking everything in stride, playing a couple of shows in the near future and letting “Saint Anthony’s Fire” be digested by listeners.

“I’m a big fan of the thought of taking [things] in on your own time,” Luke says. “No pressure, just digest, just let it work on you.”

Listen to the band’s recent live session recorded at KDHX.

The Great Grandfathers will be playing at the Blueberry Hill Duck Room on Friday, August 24 and Plush on Saturday, September 22.

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