Behind The Scenes Winter 2017 - A Conversation with The Grenaways
We've admired the work of The Grenaways for a long while now and, having featured their songs on both our Autumn and Winter behind the scenes videos, we thought it was high time to introduce you to a couple of the people behind the music...
How did the Grenaways meet and when did you start making music together?
Kris (K): The Grenaways formed about 7 years ago when we pulled a few musicians together, who were hanging out at the Tubestation in Polzeath, to work on a Christmas charity EP with St Minver School Choir. Through this project we discovered that we seemed to work well together and so we started to explore some original material and released our first, self-titled, EP in 2010.
What are your biggest influences?
K: That’s a tough one to nail down because we have become quite a collective of musicians with all sorts of musical influences from trad-folk to drum and bass, but a few bands or artists that have come up overtime are, Led Zeppelin, Pearl Jam, Nick Drake, Fleetwood Mac, Fleetfoxes, Tradgically Hip, John Martyn…
What’s the proudest moment of your career?
Kris (K): Probably winning the song for Cornwall this year with our new song written in Cornish, Ster Kosel, and then representing Cornwall at the Pan Celtic Festival in Carlow, Ireland, where we placed second in the International Song Competition. It feels like such an honour to represent Cornwall, which we did again at the Festival Interceltique De Lorient this summer in Brittany.
Laura (L): I agree with Kris, but also for me it would be playing at the Quai de la Bretagne at Festival Interceltique in Lorient, Brittany this summer. I looked down from the stage and saw my two little brothers in the front row singing along, that was definitely a highlight!
When did you learn to speak the Cornish language?
K: We entered the Cornish language song writing competition, Kan Rag Kernow, for the first time in 2014 where we placed 2nd with our song, Cornish Girl, so that’s the first time we explored learning some of this beautiful Celtic language. None of the band can actually speak in Cornish, a few phrases yes, but not conversationally. However, we definitely have aspirations to learn more, as through doing so we feel we deepen our connection to this ancient land.
What’s your favourite song you’ve written, and why?
K: It’s difficult to speak for the whole band as I guess we all have favourites and some songs can feel like your favourite for a while and then others may take their place. I reckon, Brother, Fisherman and Old Mast are up there though…why…they are amazing live, which is really when a band comes together allows all that has been formed and refined through writing, shaping and rehearsing to be fully expressed.
However, if you were to ask me personally, the favourite song I have ever written is, Portobello, which will be on our new EP, because I wrote this song about my granny from Portobello in Scotland.
L: Its hard to pick a 'favourite' song but the song I've written that means the most to me is 'Rowan' which is on our new EP. I wrote it in memory of my cousin Rowan, and every time I sing it I can picture him smiling and dancing.
If you weren’t a singer/songwriter, what would you personally be doing?
K: This is getting personal now…writing music and being part of the band has in so many ways allowed me to be a dreamer, to create and live and think poetically. I can’t imagine myself without poetry, so perhaps a poet or a hermit! I have other jobs, as do all the rest of the band, so we are living in reality too, if there is such a thing…
L: Music allows me to be creative, so if I couldn't do it anymore I'd have to find a new creative challenge....I'd love to build a tiny house...or learn how to sew and make clothes....or learn to cook properly!
Where are your favourite places in Cornwall?
K: I can’t really say where my favourite place is in Cornwall without getting some heat. But, it’s somewhere I take my thoughts and surfboard every now and again. But, Cornwall is full of so many magical places to disconnect from life’s pressures and reconnect with the wonder and beauty of nature and there is always more to discover!
L: My favourite place changes with the seasons, but currently it is Respryn a couple of miles out of Bodmin. It's the perfect place for an Autumnal walk!
Where do you go when you need to feel inspired?
What’s your top tip to unwind?
K: Uncrowded waves, ale (Tribute), a long walk…
L: Trashy TV and a glass of wine...or a nice walk!
What’s your favourite holiday destination?
K: So far, Costa Rica, that place was the closest to paradise I have experienced so far. But, I am a fan of wind and rain and love wearing jumpers, so somewhere like Lewis in the Outer Hebrides in a wee cottage with a peat fire and a bottle of single malt would be just as good!!!
L: Cornwall! Or Lowestoft in Suffolk, it's probably not top of many people's list but it's where lots of my family live and it's nice to be by such a different coastline. Or Australia...or California if I'm getting greedy!
The Grenaways could be said to be mining the rich veins of inspirational ore that course through their home turf of Cornwall where they add a sense of their own ties to the region and especially it’s Celtic heritage. But, they are a band set for far wider horizons with a massive and alternative sound billowing through their musical sails…
They are rootsy storytellers, unique in the folk style, with songs that are rich in nautical undertones, influenced so much by the sea, its people and coastal living.
2017 has been a significant year for The Grenaways winning the ‘Song For Cornwall’ with their new song, Ster Kosel, which means, Quiet Stars, in the Cornish language. They then went on to place second in the International Celtic Song Competition at the Pan Celtic Festival in Carlow, Ireland and to represent Cornwall at the Festival Interceltique De Lorient in Brittany…
DIESEL RAINBOWS - In December 2017 The Grenaways are releasing, Diesel Rainbows, their second EP recorded and produced by Sam Jones of Soundthread who specialises in context recording and often spends time in Africa recording street artists. Like their last EP, Skath Vyghan, The Grenaways recorded most of the tracks live in a barn in St Column and then used the amazing natural acoustics of St James Church in St Kew to track the violins, trumpet and vocals. The EP was mastered by Denis Blackman on the Isle Of Sky and features 5 tracks including, Ghost, which is being used for Celtic & Co’s Autumn and Winter Collection film.
After already securing a headline show at Echos & Mervielles in Toulouse in April 2018 The Grenaways are working with We Are Elevate to grow their mainland European European profile by playing multiple mini-tours and festivals as well as continuing to feature at venues and festivals around the UK…