Previously one half of Death From Above 1979, Sebastien Grainger is now following his name as his new(er) moniker. With a diversion from previous sounds, the solo material takes various twists and turns, with a positive end result. Here, Sebastien discusses some of what went on during the process.
1. How was the transition going from DFA1979 into your current band and was it a natural progression?
The transition began the moment i decided i didn't want to do DFA anymore. I had this hazy vision of what kind of an artist i wanted to be, and i felt like i needed time to develop that vision. My whole approach to music and art has always been from a humble perspective. I always feel like I'm learning. The flip side of that is that i never feel like i've arrived. Sebastien Grainger & The Mountains is/was my statement of what i think a rock band should sound like. My next approach will be drastically different, but as an artist i feel like i'll be able to maintain my "vibe".
2. Would you consider Sebastien Grainger & The Mountains to be more of a collaborative process or a more solo project?
Sebastien Grainger & The Mountains was my conception of a rock and roll band. But you can't execute a rock and roll band without a band...The songs and record were mostly written after already having picked the members and played with each other for a while, so there is nothing inauthentic about it. It is/was my statement of rock and roll. I consider it a solo project, but it would never have worked out in the same way without Nick, Leon and Andrew. Their contribution to the live show and to the songs they play on on the the record cannot be understated.
3. Going from drums in DFA1979 to guitar now, what is your instrument of choice?
Do i have to choose?
4. How do you start the writing process of a song? Do you use a specific piece of equipment?
It depends on the song. Sometimes it starts with lyrical idea, then i try to find the instrument that compliments the concept. Sometimes it starts with a bass line, or a guitar part or a drum part or a piano part. It's really up to the song.
5. Having been on Last Gang records and now on Saddle Creek records, was there any reason for not staying with Last Gang?
For DFA, Last Gang was our Canadian label and Vice was our American label. For this project, Outside Music did the Canadian release and Saddle Creek did the American one. When i started working on material for a record i Last Gang offered me a deal that wasn't right for me at the time. The terms were no right. So, i decided to create new partnerships. Also, the record i was working on seemed like an orphan...like it had no home, and Saddle Creek in the states offered it a nice comfortable place to stay. Labels are pretty much all the same anyway...broke.
6. I had read somewhere that said you guys knew DFA had a certain shelf life so in regards to that, did you have your next band in mind as far as the kind of music and direction you would want it to go?
I believe i answered that in an earlier question. Though with DFA, we were aware of that there was a limit to our creativity together within our (self-imposed) confinements. But we also knew that the music would last. It amazes me the impact we had and continue to garner. We're entering a weird stage with people's memory of the band...We were just a regular band, doing what bands do and got lucky in our trajectory that lots of people were able to hear us...I've been called a living legend to my face...haha, i'm only 30 dudes! The thing with all that is that i remember how it actually was...i remember that it was special...but my perspective was that it could've been a lot better...we just didn't have time....we decided to do things then just did them...no time to waste. I
7. Being co-owner of Giant Studios, how did that benefit you in the recording process or otherwise, and what can you share about the studio?
It's a beautiful facility that i'm proud to be a part of. It was nice to share the studio with Metric as they were making their new record (which turned out REALLY great). I was in there alone alot of the time, so it was nice to benefit from what they were doing in there. They'd leave on a Friday and i'd come in on a Monday and all the pre-amps and compressors would be dialed in perfectly and i could just go to work. So many great bands and producers have been working in there in the past couple of years it's kinda mind boggling.
8. Where do you feel you draw inspiration from for your songs and do you aim to address any specific topics ever?
I get inspiration from other songs, books, movies, and my friends. Sometimes i write about dreams and those are somehow always the best, so i'd like to stick to that.
9. Who would be your ideal tour-mates?
10. What are some bands you are currently listening to?
Scott Walker (3,4), The Walker Brothers (Night Flights), Nile Rogers, Arthur Russell,
Some old favourites/favourite records?
The Boss "Born to Run", "Born in the USA", The Walkmen "You & Me", Jay Reatard "Blood Visions"
Anything you're looking forward to being released?
Where The Wild Things movie. And the new Charlotte Gainsbourg record.
Last cd/vinyl/digital purchased?
CD was Karen O and The Kids. Vinyl was the Flashdance soundtrack for the heavy Giorgio Moroder content.
Last movie you saw & show you went to?
Last movie was Paranormal Activity last band was Fever Ray.
photo credit: Eva Michon