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.