THE GRANDMA: Weird Set of Ingredients

The GrandMa

Russian rock quartet The GrandMa‘s goal has never been strict in terms of what kind of music they want to put out, as long as there is freedom of expression. And according to what they have to say, that unpredictability is their guiding line, and certainly something that works in group’s favor. That is something that is very well evidenced on band’s most recent outing, entitled “Cure for Fear.” Guys sat down with Prog Sphere to talk about the new release.

Describe the musical frameworks your new album “Cure for Fear” explores.

Alexander: We’ve never set any. I mean, this is an open question for us. We’re just trying to mix up our ideas and creative thoughts, and to see where it goes. ‘Cuz each one of us has our own musical taste, experience and, you know.. that stuff inside that is waiting to be “embodied” in music. And I remember, we talked about it when we first started. We were wondering what kind of dish we’ll get in the end, mixing up this weird set of ingredients.

Mikhail: Yes. We tried not to limit ourselves in our music.

Sergey: I find it difficult to tell exactly where we ended up after our “searching” while working on the album. But I know for sure: this is rock, modern and melodic rock!!!

What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced and lessons learned during the creative process for the new release?

Alexander: I would say, the biggest challenge was money. Yes, this damn money. I feel like we went all out running from studio to studio, from garage to garage looking for some “tricks” to make the album to be of a better quality yet less expensive for us. It was quite a quest. As for the lessons we learned… I think, what is extremely important for the band is to be inspired and bonded by the common idea. Like, to become one organism. When you feel you’re not alone in what you do, you become many times stronger and “bigger” as a musician, as an artist.

Sergey: And sometimes it was not easy to keep guys from complicating songs and some crazy experiments.. haha..Well, this is what creative process is about. After all, I think we’ve found our sound and style.

What do you try to specifically tell with the “Time is Gone” song?

Kate: The song is about… Well, it’s about us being bigger than we think we are, about no limits…amm… that there is no one but you, who makes the choice of how to react on different situations. It is also about some struggles, which make us wiser and stronger no matter what happens…

To someone who hasn’t heard the album, what can he or she expect from “Cure for Fear”?

Alexander: We are curious about it too. We did our part of the job. Let music do the rest.

Sergey: You can hear this contrast between the songs, that’s for sure. And there is a lot of interesting stuff both musically and lyricwise.
Just give it a shot. Listen to the album.

Mikhail: I think our songs have quite abstract lyrics. So, everyone can find something for themselves in the same written words.

The GrandMa

How has your perspective on the possibilities of song arrangement expanded over the years?

Alexander: We hope, that it expanded over the years.. haha… Of course, with time and experience we learn things. We find some forms and other “tools” that work better to provide to listeners what we wanna say in our music. And that’s the point. The goal. That’s what arrangement is. It is an endlessly wide field of possibilities and still, it has…hmmm… its wright and wrong directions.

Sergey: Some time ago, when I played in other bands I always preferred to rely on intuition. Arrangements came out of band’s improvisation. A band was jamming and when they heard something outstanding was happening, they stoped, memorized and then we worked on details.
While working on “Cure for Fear”, the GrandMa band chose a different style of a creative process.

Mikhail: In modern music they use whole lot of synthetic sounds, repacing almost all acoustic and analog instruments and amps. This is not for us. We prefer to do it our old-fasioned way.
When we recorded the album, we used even several folk instruments. I believe that the use of analog sound, acoustic instruments gives you a “wider” sound. In this case, the most interesting and challenging task was to choose the right part for each instrument, due to sound characteristics of it.

What evolution as musicians do you see across your recorded works?

Alexander: Well, something definitely is going on… haha…Something’s changing, developing, I hope so. I do not want to think too much about it, to analize it… I don’t know. I just play and make some music.

Mikhail: We didn’t create new notes or new scales or something like that. But we are trying to create our own sound, maybe our own style for arrangements.

Sergey: As for this album “Cure for Fear”… I chose more restrained manner of playing the bass than I used to. … just a sample of minimalism))

What types of change do you feel this music can initiate?

Sergey: I hope that she will make someone better… And someone is richer… [laughs]

Alexander: We hope that this music can make somebody happier, at least, for some period of time. It could take somebody’s attention out of problems, routine maybe, and, you know, all the negative stuff. From my experience, I just remembered when “Serenity of suffering” by Korn was just released… in 2016, I guess, I felt myself so fucking happy for a few days. And not just when I was listening to it, but, like, the whole time. It was a really weird feeling, I could not believe myself. A full-grown man, who feels like a kid with a huge smile and sees the colors brighter, just because his favorite band released a new record. It’s weird, but it’s great.

Do you tend to follow any pre-defined patterns when composing a piece?

Alexander: No… Not really… Well, some things that you like in music around you, for instance, what you heard lately and been impressed with makes some kind of pattern subconsciously. I mean, of course, in some level…. But I don’t think it makes a big deal in composing. Rather, I’d say, every time this process is different. I mean, you know, sometimes you want to do something unusual and original in the song, and sometimes you want it to be more simple, obvious and naive cause you feel that it will be cool. Sometimes song comes out of the jamming on rehearsal. So… No. I don’t think there’s any pre-defined patterns.

Mikhail: We used traditional and popular forms in our music quite a lot. But I wouldn’t call it “pre-defined patterns”. We just tried not to go into prog rock. Instead, tried to create music that is easy to perceive. However, “Balance master”, is not so ordinary. We decided to add some new musical instruments in every single part of the composition. There is something extraordinary about this.

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What non-musical entities and ideas have an impact on your music?

Sergey: People, their characters, emotions and so on…

What advice or philosophy might you impart to other musicians, be it in forms of creativity, technical stuff, the business side of it, or anything else?

Alexander : Let’s make music. Let’s listen to and love music. Let’s make this life fun.

Sergey: First of all, you should be an independent and self-sufficient person, have your own opinion and points of view, know what you want and achieve it, have your own unique and recognizable sound and style.

Alexander : And let’s stop quantizing, compressing and “robotizing” music . Let’s keep it Alive.

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