Grandfather Child has for years been one of Houston’s most revered bands. Made up of some of the scene’s finest veterans – Lucas Gorham, Ryan Chavez, Robert Ellis, and Geoffrey Muller – the band is a certifiable supergroup with each member having garnered acclaim and a fan base from their various other endeavors. Yet, despite their pedigree, the band is hardly a collection of big egos. Instead, each member brings his own unique stamp to the whole endeavor, creating something that resembles its parts and yet wholly different. The result is a unique blend of Soul, R&B, Rock, Blues, and Country that leaves audiences and critics in awe. This Friday, the band releases its long anticipated first full length album on New West Records. We spoke with Lucas Gorham on the band’s upcoming release.
I’m pretty excited about the new album. Tell us about where it was recorded, who recorded it, and how the sessions worked out.
Lucas –It was recorded all over Houston at different studios over the course of several months. Sugar Hill, Soundarts, the Treehouse (Steve Christensen’s apartment), Ryan’s folks place in Clear Lake. Ryan Chavez, Chris Longwood and Steve are responsible for engineering it. The sessions were intensive, meaning sometimes long and grueling. There are a few cluttered memories: Recording in Ryan’s parent’s bathroom. We did long-ass sessions usually – ten to twelve hours was normal. There were uncountable scores of vocal takes. I broke a French press. A lot of trial and error.
Shelby Hohl’s artwork was pretty insane in its detail. I heard you gave him some parameters about how to put it together that were very labor intensive. Can you tell us about that?
Lucas –We are beyond pleased with it. We wanted something hand-drawn, something that was eye-catching and complex, yet with a lot of negative space. Having it hand-drawn was an aesthetic that we were envisioning since the beginning of the recording process. We wanted something that looked like daVinci drew it after he visited the future, or some such nonsense.
I was talking with a music writer at the last HPMA’s and was annoyed that you guys didn’t get any props in there and they replied, “We’ll if you ask me that’s a good thing. It tells me they and other bands like them have a lot more important things than to troll social media to scare up votes for these awards. If anything that shows a healthy trend in local music.” What do you think about that observation and how it relates to the evolving music scene?
Lucas – We never, ever campaign for HP awards, nor have any plans to do so in the future. We have nothing against them, they just aren’t indicators for success that we are seeking; I want us to be an international touring act and I want my music in movies and stuff.
I’ve always considered your band a supergroup because all the players are individually renowned for other projects. How do you guys work together when it comes to the band?
Lucas – I usually come up with the bulk of the material for all the parts. It works best to come to the table with as much musical information as possible. In Grandfather Child, it works out very well because everyone in the band understands where the songs are going and what is needed to enhance them [which comes from the band having] a sturdy knowledge of music theory and application, a willingness to improvise, and an understanding of what he overall vision and message is for the band.
Getting back to the album, who is releasing the album and how has that relationship been?
Lucas – New West is releasing it and we couldn’t be any happier. They love the album and want to push it as much as they can. Their involvement has been instrumental in manufacturing and distributing the record. They are all awesome people and we love being on the team.
So what’s next for Grandfather Child in the short term and in the long run?
Lucas – Short Term – book tours, go on the road, and plant seeds. Long term – start recording again, stay on the road, and harvest fruit
Any places in particular you hope to play?
Lucas – All over Planet Earth in front of earthlings.
Grandfather Child performs Friday 31 August 2012 With the Suffers and Marmalakes @ Fitzgerald’s
(8 p.m. All ages, $10)