All About Dirty Laundry and More: Singer-Songwriter Grant Larseny Gets Candid

A true artist always finds a way to figure out how to make ends meet. Whether it is about beating deadlines or surviving a pandemic, creativity is our savior. That is why it is fascinating to chat with creative people from all walks of life. It is by unexpected chance that I get to meet singer-songwriter Grant Larseny who loves going against the flow. He has an album out called Dirty Laundry.

At first, listen I’ve been captivated by his incredible voice and unique way of writing and recording song. A singer and solo electric guitar. This is rare. It’s usually acoustic guitar; we shall find out what made him take this route. The effect lies somewhere between the brunt force of pop-punk and acoustic rock, but with that candid lyrical expression that only he can pull off. If you haven’t listened yet, you better listen to some songs via his album while reading this interview. I promise you that you will make something good out of this. He is speaking on behalf of the creative individuals out there. People who are trying to surf the stormy seas of the pandemic and, if you are brave enough, then maybe you can follow his route. You would be surprised at how many doors will open if you are not ashamed to be who you are!

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What’s the inspiration behind dirty laundry?

The inspiration was my life and my family. I found myself unemployed for a couple of months one spring/summer, and I would spend a couple of hours every morning applying for jobs, then spend the rest of the day just enjoying life. I was surfing a lot and made a real effort to play and write more music. I had been in a punk band previously, so I consciously stripped back the anger and but kept the simplicity of a couple of chords with a real focus on the melody and fun.

The album is notable for its solo electric guitar and vocal. I kind of like this approach because it showcases your vocal abilities. What made you decide to record the songs without a full band?

In his home studio recording songs.

The guitar and vocal approach were more out of necessity than anything. I didn’t have the time and energy to put into band practice and promos and gigging, especially considering the goals of 3 or 4 other people. This was a way to scratch the musical itch in my own time, at my own pace. And choosing the electric guitar over an acoustic just came down to doing something a little different. I’ve always preferred playing an electric, there’s not a lot of solo artists playing them, and it was nice to have that little bit of distortion to dirty up the sound.

Any plans for a follow-up release?

I’ve got a couple of songs that I think about releasing from time to time, but no plans at the moment for a follow-up. I have a weird relationship with music – it’s always part of my life, but we’re not always close, and we’re spending some time apart at the moment, haha.

What are you currently into these days?

Currently, I’m just trying to keep the bills paid without going mental. Coming into summer, I’m planning to do a lot of surfing, and I’m always into some kind of weird project. I build longbows and surfboards when I can find the time, and I recently started playing basketball again after a ten-year break. But more than anything, my partner and I just had a little girl, who is baby number 4. Just being a dad takes up a lot of my time these days.

What’s your advice for fellow artists on how to deal with the pandemic and other craziness?

Man, craziness is right, and to be honest, I’m don’t know that I’m the most qualified person to be giving out advice, particularly as a musician – but in a general sense, being kind to yourself is the big thing. Keep your mind busy, find and do things that bring you joy, take a break when you need to, reach out for help, and all that standard stuff. It sounds easy and cliche, but it’s a cliche for a reason, and it’s easy for us to forget that it’s important.

Grant Larseny is an alter ego he created. He currently works and lives in Australia. You can catch more of Grant Larseny through his Facebook and Bandcamp page. 

F R X N S Divided by Eight Questions(an Interview)

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I wrote about FRXNS a few days ago. This time let’s get to know the duo behind it. Yes, from musical group that can turn heads because of that distinctive sound? Why not?!  I have an imagery of this sonic tidal wave: a raging sheath of drums, bass, guitars around a vocal style that can sound a bit like Thurston Moore or the late  Ian Curtis. 

What’s the origin of your band name?

We we’re @ Karina Broce’s art show “Ashes to ashes dust to life” where she did installations of the remains of their ancestral house that burned down when we saw an interesting article on the wall written in coal. It goes something like “The fractions of a legacy…” we cannot recall exactly what it said but that was the jist. The word struck us as something positive – that you can create something beautiful out of fractions. The pseudonym FRXNS came to life when we realized Fractions was not a very smart choice on a digital marketing perspective. It’s funny cuz when you search “Frac/tions” youtube, math stuff comes up and who wants that? Haha.

Out of the five songs you wrote and recorded for the EP,  what’s the longest to complete?

I wrote and arranged all the songs on the EP years before it was recorded except for “Other Half” and “Now, Somehow” which was a collaborative work between me and Kara so those two took time to complete. Other half was the longest because we had to fill it in with different riffs to make it aptly sound like new wave.

How did you form the band together?

Music is the only thing Kara and I like doing. We have a lot of outside the box ideas that we want to materialize and perform so the decision to be in a band together was just automatic.

What are your top 5 bands today?

Top 5 bands today would be Fazerdaze… Uhhhh… This is a hard question, can’t think of any. We listen to a lot of new bands on Spotify. Their songs are good but nothing has really struck us to worship a whole album yet. But if you ask our top fave bands of all time that would be The Smashing Pumpkins, The Cure, Morrissey, New Order, Joy Divison and, Rico Blanco.

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Describe a typical frxns jam session.

We like having people over to our home, coffee, drink, jam… Old school. If it’s just Kara and I, we purposely put guitars on our bedside so we can just grab it incase a random tune comes up.

Where can fans get your EP?

We are out of physical copies but our EP is still available on digital format (Spotify, iTunes, Youtube etc) just type “FRXNS”.

Any future gig you want to promote?29133197_1895727777134891_8393799996985573376_n

We have a regular set at Tippy’s Bistro every last Saturdays of the month from 9pm – midnight. We play originals, new wave, alternative and indie covers. Everyone’s invited!

What’s next for the group musically?

We have a new song “Timeless” which we recorded with Nicolo Abadiano on Bass and Shaolin Javier on drums. We’ll put it up on Spotify soon. We are also working on 2 new songs. We tried to inject muffs/shoegaze/dream pop to our sound which is very melodic and melodramatic. The gameplan is always to keep playing. It’s all about the music.

There you have it folks. Be sure to like their Facebook band page for updates. 

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Swedish band Damen will win you over with their own brand of Indie Rock!

25591632_1711334275586039_6766254288329411803_nWhen you hear Sweden expect nothing less. That’s what happened with new band called Damen. I only heard two tracks from them: Lights and Freud Division. What can I say? I was blown away. My excitement for indie music is once again rekindled all because of the great vibe I got from their music. 

  Oh youth, with your innocence, angst and energy to transform…I am glad I feel you in this band! I describe their music as melodic indie rock, rooted in punk. I love the guitar style which is hard to categorize-part ethereal, part aggressive new wave-that at can sound jangly with a pleasant dose of distortion. The vocals are also notable in terms of range and expressiveness. The beats are irresistible while the bass lines keep things tight and sexy.

  They’ve been around for three years and the members are constantly writing new songs. Freud Division is a tribute to the current generation.

I got this need, I wanna be something
reality shows and whatever on the TV
A.D.H.D come and and label me

Become a star and this all makes sense 
I guess it all collides in the end

I guess it all make sense in the end right? But whatever the song means to you, you can’t deny its beauty.

Lights on the other hand has this nostalgic flavour to it. Like it’s a song recorded in a cigarette clouded radio booth back in the 70s. I love the chord pattern. It sounds like you are floating on air. 

Damen has a distinctive sound that will draw listeners. Hopefully the band will gain more exposure because we all look forward to music that’s really interesting and poetic.

Listen to their songs below.

Riding the (sonic) tidal wave of life’s uncertainty with Endlessly by Panophonic.

a1201672061_10When you feel like drifting away from who you used to be, then in time music will help you find your way back. In life, little and big tragedies can lead us astray, sending us to a journey that seems to go on and on, like lost astronauts in space. Sometimes the journey is so fascinating it changes us and takes a huge chunk out of our hearts because our survival depends on it. We change and therefore our relationships change. We no longer interact with the people we used to talk to. But at the back of our minds we lament that end to the world we used to love and know. Then something new yet familiar pulls us back.

This is the feeling I get when I listen to the new release of Panophotic. The album is called Endlessly. The album mood sort of reflects the epiphany I am writing about in my previous paragraph. Tom Lugo has a knack for writing poetic song titles like: Summer is at an End, I Can’t Come Home, Fade Away and many more. Although the music defies categorization, it still owes its loyalty to modern rock stylings, dream pop  with Gothic flourishes. The lyrics are introspective, with nostalgic leanings on emotive 80s post-punk.

Overall, this is a kind of album you would be listening to when you wake up early at 2 in the morning but it is too dark to ride your bike. I love the use of hypnotic guitar distortions and melodic synths. There is also an aural consistency from beginning to end as all tracks sound cohesive even if they don’t sound the same.

Endlessly is a gift from a heart of experience. Here, we witness the depths of pain and ecstasy that can only come from weathering any storms. Life is pain but somehow we must go on because our confessions are pillars of strengths that young hearts can rely on. Because in the end, music can be our anchor in the seas of uncertainty.

 

Stop and listen to “You’re No Friends of Mine”

I love songs that bring out the melancholic and nostalgic sense in me. Music is a way to escape the harshness of the real world. It is also a piece of art that makes you feel in a certain way depending on your frame of mind. Joe Symes & The loving Kind just released their newest single called You’re No Friends of Mine, which is also timely considering that we have experienced losing people in our lives due to religious or political reasons. It is kind soundtrack of regret to those days when we thought relationships would never end but that is life. You have to move on. And you take that piece of your pain and turn it into art so that others may glean at the wisdom of your experience.

Here’s a little bit about the band:

Joe Symes and the Loving Kind are an original three-piece band from Liverpool UK.

They got major support slots from The Blockheads, Dodgy, XTC, Block Party, Alt-J and Starsailor, while their debut album received major raves in the United States. They have an original sound and their music goes down smoothly. The single was recorded At LIPA, Alex Gidman Producing, Mastered at Peter Gabriel’s Solid State Logic Studios April 2017.

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