Q&A: THE GRASPING STRAWS

Experimental, grungy, jazzy with a hint of psychedelia...meet TGS




PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF FOR US WHO ARE NOT FAMILIAR WITH YOU AND

YOUR MUSIC AND TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF.


We’re The Grasping Straws! Our music is grungy, jazzy, expressive, psychedelic, experimental, dreamy. Like an angry, angsty softness. Enveloped in dichotomies, a scream and a whisper, raw and controlled, dissonant and harmonious, abstract and specific. Someone listening can expect unexpected leaps, dynamic shifts, introspective lyrics, raw emotion, teleportation, time travel, ephemeral and interplanetary connection. Our recordings are moments in time captured like a sonic time capsule. Our sound is always changing, transforming, evolving and escaping into the universe.


TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR NEW SINGLE?


“Poetry” was recorded partially at Ground Control Studio with Murray Trider, and partially at home. In the studio, Sam, Jim and I were able to set up the drums in a windowed isolation room as we played together live. Then I took the stems and added layered vocal parts from home, taking my time with it and learning more about the home recording process. Marcus added additional lead guitar parts from home as well. Mat from Animal Farm Records did the mixing, producing, and mastering. We played a show at Mercury Lounge to celebrate the release on Sept 12th, 2021!


WHAT INSPIRED THE SINGLE?


The rhythm guitar parts were partially inspired by “Carouselambra” by Led Zeppelin. The lyrics are about the NYC scene. The words of local artists. The poetic arousal of imagination. We develop new and insatiable curiosities as we make love with art.


CAN YOU SUM UP THE SINGLE IN A FEW WORDS?


Text message love letters


WHAT RECORD CHANGED YOUR LIFE AND WHY?


“Grace” by Jeff Buckley changed my life. I became obsessed with Jeff Buckley’s songwriting, and the raw expressiveness of his voice and guitar playing. This was around the same time I bought myself a guitar and started writing music in 2012.


DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE MUSIC VIDEO FILMED BY YOUR BAND OR ANOTHER

ARTIST?


Our music video by Erica Schreiner is my favorite! The soul and lyrical content of “Help” are captured on VHS in Erica’s ethereal, allegorical style. I have admired Erica’s experimental video art for a long time, and I loved learning more about her creative process and seeing the way she interpreted the meaning of the song. I look forward to continuing to collaborate! Erica is an inspiration.


Music video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpR8iC4JBAg

Erica’s website: www.ericaschreiner.com


WHAT WOULD WE FIND YOU DOING WHEN YOU’RE NOT MAKING MUSIC?


I love to support my friends in the local music community by going to as many shows as I can. I often come out of local shows with a new idea or a new song in my head, and a love for life. I love meeting new people and trying to get past small talk and share a laugh. I make lots of weird drawings and paintings. I was recently commissioned to draw a poster for Cruel Children’s music video release/screening show! I got interested in computer programming, and I built our band website: www.thegraspingstraws.com. I love hiking high peaks and being in nature, and I practice yoga, meditation and journaling (what I refer to as my essential body-and-mind care).


DO YOU GET NERVOUS PERFORMING LIVE, IF SO HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH THAT?


Sometimes! My bandmates help keep me grounded and connected to the moment. I try to channel the nervous energy into a raw and emotional vocal performance, and reframe nervousness as excitement. Sometimes the nerves feel good, and nervousness keeps my mind sharp. I like to lock eyes with a close friend in the audience and speak candidly between songs.


HOW DID YOU FORM THE BAND?


I formed The Grasping Straws in 2012 when I felt compelled to start writing songs and performing them to anyone who would listen. It started with me, Rob and Oliver performing under the arch at Washington Square Park in NYC with guitars and a cajon. It soon grew to include Sam (bassist) and Jim (drummer), and then I started touring and playing a lot more shows, developing, screeching, sleeping on floors, and meeting soulmates. I started to accrue even more collaborators: Jake (bass), Henry (drums/percussion), Edwin (cello), Clair (viola/violin), Marcus (guitars) + more. Each iteration has a variety of sounds we embody and songs we play. We adapt to the space we're in. We’ve become like a collective, beyond the idea of a band with specific members and it’s the same every time.


HOW DO YOU WRITE? - DO YOU HAVE A KEY SONGWRITER,

OR DO YOU ALL WORK TOGETHER?


There’s always music swimming around in my head. Often when I’m in the flow, traveling home from an open mic or show, walking, biking, showering, waking up, or going to sleep, I’ll get a song idea in my head and I’ll sing a riff or a lyric into my phone. Later I’ll go back and listen, guitar in hand, and try to plunk it out and build on it. Once I get going, parts of the song will get stuck in my head until I finish it. I play around with words based on sounds, and I read poetry books until I get a sense of the meaning being conveyed. Next, I show it to the bandmates and they run with it, create their parts and add ideas to it. We might change around the rhythms, parts, add dynamic elements and new meanings and feelings come to light. The songs continue to evolve and change each time we play them live.


WHAT INSPIRES YOU?


I feel inspired by the culture and people of the city, the local music scene, survival and transportation, nature, relationships, nostalgia and existentialism. The human experience.



WHAT IS NEXT?


I am in love with touring. With the recent state of music and travel, this is the longest period of time I’ve gone without touring since 2014. I can’t wait to start booking our tour dates again, and rejoining the larger DIY touring communities around the US, Canada and Europe, and getting to see and travel with our bandmates in New Orleans again, Edwin and Clair on Cello and Viola!

We have more recorded tracks in the works! I had a concept idea of what could be our first vinyl album release: Dichotomy. One band configuration on side A, and another on side B. I’d like to try and get all of the bandmates and collaboration captured through time. Two opposing forces create each other.

We also have plans to continue our collaboration with experimental video and performance artist Erica Schreiner. Erica VJ’d for us at our single release show, and we’ve started talking about the next music video!


PLEASE TELL US ANY SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS SO WE CAN SHARE.


https://www.instagram.com/thegraspingstraws/

https://www.facebook.com/TheGraspingStraws/

https://twitter.com/tgsband

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