'The Surreal Life of Grandville'
Grandville is the dream project of songwriters Robb Vallier, Todd McCool, George Nakonechny. On the band's self-titled debut, they deliver a high energy, straightforward rock n' roll album. Grandville is driven by Vallier's fervent vocals, the fret board wizardry of lead guitarist McCool and the powerhouse rhythms supplied by bass man Nakonechny.
The ten tracks are an intoxicating blend of brains and brawn, an engaging brew marked by vibrant melodies, chiming guitars, inventive rhythms and lyrics that cut straight to the heart of the wild, wondrous human condition. "We don't try to be anything we aren't," Vallier explains. "We're all smart, energetic guys who like to get people excited and maybe give 'em something to think about as well. The lyrics are deep, but the music is fun: a combination of intelligence and energy."
The band is gearing up for the release of their new EP, Chasing The Sun scheduled to drop on March 20, 2007. In the meantime, the band is keeping busy playing the Southern California club circuit and plotting out a national tour that will bring their muscular, melodic rock n' roll to a venue near you.
Taking it from the top and being that you have only been together for 13 months, what have been your biggest speed bumps to circumvent within the industry thus far? Robb Vallier "Well, I think it’s mainly been getting people to listen to us both in the business as well as getting fans. This day and age the musician himself is so involved with the basic day to day promotion, marketing, booking, etc. that it’s a wonder we get any time to actually write and perform. LOL! Not having financial backing can get rough too. You just have to be creative and try to cut corners and do things a bit unconventional."
For the Average Joe who may not have heard of you and was thinking of buying your self-titled debut 'Grandville,' how would you yourself describe your sound? "I consider it melodic power pop. The melodies to me are catchy but the music has a weight and power that balance it out."
Indeed, naming your album after the band is either a case of being incredibly artsy or incredibly lazy! So, and with the chance at that time to come up with a rip-roaring album title, which was it for you? "Traditionally first records aren’t titled. It’s simply cutting to the chase and saying “Hi! You don’t know us, were Grandville” without anything else in the way. And 'Smell The Glove' was already taken! :)"
And for those readers that don't know, please reveal to us today where the name of the band first originated ... and what else it could so easily have been at the time?! "The term Grandville comes from a French artist that did a series of paintings in the 1800s. Everyone has seen them, but don’t remember the actual artist name. They are the ones of like the frog or rooster or pig all dressed up in black tie and riding bicycles or juggling, or having tea. They are very surreal and I wanted the name to suggest someplace else…a dreamy utopia. That’s what the name means for me."
How easy (or hard) is it to constantly create new, invigorating music that both builds on and surpasses the extraordinary accomplishments within the business that preceded it? "To us I think it’s not actually hard to write songs it’s hard to get the time and energy to focus on it. Before our new EP entitled 'Chasing the Sun' which we just finished, we only wrote when we felt like it. With the new EP however, we had to make a conscious effort to sit and build the songs. I think that if you can write that way, you have moved to another level of writing. It’s tough, but I feel the new stuff is without a doubt our best."
It's claimed in your bio that you don't try to be anything you aren't, but if you could try and be something that you aren't what would it be?! "A Sheppard! LOL! Ok, maybe not...if I could be anything else I’d be a pilot and fly some kick ass fighter jets around! That sounds fun! Maybe a beer taster too! Mmmm…beer...."
Please tell us more (in a quick fashion!) about what was going on in your life when these songs were being written and recorded:
'Follow' - "'Follow' is about finding that you’ve listened to someone else's idea of your path for too long. That comes from a long relationship I was in and wrote it when the dust settled."
'Deliver' - "'Deliver' is hoping to hear back from someone that made your heart go pitter patter. That first encounter with another person that blows your mind! Why can't it stay that way?!"
'Disaster Fiend' - "'Disaster Friend' is being addicted to drama in a relationship. I think everyone has been in one relationship like that in their lives. Too bad you can't see all the negative aspects and drama when you’re actually in it!"
Has work begun yet on a follow-up album to 'Grandville,' perhaps? "Just finished 'Chasing the Sun', a four song EP. Killer stuff! I feel everything’s a little more thought through and since we did them all at the same time it gives the EP the glue to be cohesive and give it a nice flow. We just did our photo shoot at the beach in Malibu, CA, which was a blast. I still can't get the sand out of my shoes!"
What '80s (and possibly cheesy!) pop/rock song would you love to cover today if asked ... and why?! "‘Tempted' by Squeeze! That song is soulful and catchy as hell! Love the vocals on that tune! We do a medley of ‘Red Rain’ by Peter Gabriel that goes into ‘Boys of Summer’ by Don Henley that the peeps love!"
Lastly, and throwing a comedic curve ball, Exclusive Magazine love Penguins ... do you?! "Hell yeah! Not as much as love monkeys and chia pets - those are animals right?!"
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
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