Interview: The Grand Southern

Interviews / News / Special Features / May 15, 2017

Indie-folk rockers The Grand Southern hail from Los Angeles, bringing with them an updated version of the Laurel Canyon vibes. Their self-titled EP was released in 2016 and has a great contrast of smooth jams and pounding, country road trip songs. So far this year they’ve released a three song EP, titled Traded Heaven, with more of a rock ‘n roll vibe and a music video featuring a special guest.

We caught up via email to dive a little more into their musical history, their songwriting process, and what’s next.

Modern Vinyl: What are your individual musical backgrounds and how did you come together to create The Grand Southern?

Dash Hutton: My dad is a singer in the rock and roll band Three Dog Night, so I would follow him around on tour in the summer when I was growing up. At around age seven my brother Tim and I started a band and we continued that for years and years. We played out at local clubs, and eventually high school parties and all that. I started playing music with some other friends and we started a band, called Wires on Fire, went on my first national tour. Met a lot of amazing people, after that formed a band called Slang Chickens that was punk with southern influences, like Banjo, and Neil Young, Hank Williams, that type of stuff.

I met Jesse [Karp] through a mutual friend at the time and it turned out we enjoyed the same music! We bonded over Van Morrison and Wilco, and John Prine; artists like that. So we started writing and there you have it!

MV: What music did you grow up on? Any particular songs you liked on the radio or albums your parents had?

DH: The first artist I remember “liking” was Tom Petty; I would listen to “Free Falling” over and over.

Jesse Karp: I had the cassette tapes of Eurythmics and Van Halen’s 5150. My Dad loves all the Motown stuff.

MV: Your first EP seems to have more of a country sound, while the newer set of songs draw from both country and rock or alternative music. Was this a deliberate transition or something that naturally happened while writing it?

DH: There was no deliberate transition, as a matter of fact, the writing process never changed either, funny enough. It was just a matter of production and using different instruments in the studio!

JK: We were just willing to take some chances. Using vintage synths and finding a way to create a sound with that vibe and pedal steel, baritone and 12 string guitars.

MV: What are some of the themes you were inspired by and wanted to focus on in the “Traded Heaven” EP?

DH: Honestly, just having a good time and making something we can stand behind.

JK: Each song has a story; we bring some part of the song to each other and finish it. Usually the writing is personal, a feeling, a relationship…but we really just go with the flow.

MV: How did the “Traded Heaven” music video come together with Evan Peters?

DH: Evan is a friend of Jesse’s and a really down-to-earth, cool guy, so he helped us out by lending us his acting skills!

JK: Evan and Ryan were super cool to help us get that whole video together.  We had a blast watching them work. Really talented guys.

MV: Now that “Traded Heaven” is released, can we expect a tour? Where do you want The Grand Southern to go from here?

JK: We’ll have some announcements coming soon!

You can check out their new single, “Sleeptalking,” below.

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Abby Kruthoffer
Abby is a Cincinnati, Ohio native attending The Ohio State University for a degree that will hopefully lead her into the music industry. She plays guitar, watches too much comedy television, and also writes/manages for another music blog, The Indie Sound.

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