What are your names?
Richard Lomax, Peer Van See, Oli Hughes
What is the band’s name?
How did you come up with the bands name?
The word ‘Granfalloon’ come from the book ‘Cat’s Cradle’ which is by one of my favourite writers Kurt Vonnegut. He describes it as “a proud and meaningless association of human beings”. That’s about as fine a description of groups of people making music as I can think of.
What is your genre of music?
We call it Folktronica for now. It’s folk music, it uses electronics. Makes us very popular at parties…
Give us a little bio about you as a band and as individuals.
I’ve been making music as Granfalloon since the tail end of 2016, I released a string of singles throughout 2017 which became the first Granfalloon album ‘Down There For Dancing’. Oli and I had previously worked together on other projects (he also used to play for Crooked Rooks, and Cosmos Collapse). He’s a naturally musical person. There aren’t many people playing so many different instruments at once (Paddy Steer notwithstanding).
I met Peer during a tour of Germany, in Heidelberg specifically. He has relocated to Manchester since to make his own music (which I would recommend everyone check out – he’s got an E.P. on the way). Peer and I were discussing a mutual lull in our musical motivations and how we wanted to change the way we worked and the music we made. It felt like we were both heading in the same direction.
Are you a signed?
I’ve worked with a couple of labels over the years including the wonderful Sotones Records based in Southampton. I still release music through Sotones but at the moment we’re releasing through our own label, The Dogan.
You are set to release your new single ‘Ambulance’, tell us more about it.
‘Ambulance’ is about ritual. Sometimes I’ll set myself topics to write about, sometimes I’ll ask friends or collaborators to set topics. Siobhan from the band Dead Kites suggested “getting healthy” as a subject and I thought about all of the rituals and structures that I use to keep myself mentally healthy. The song is about looking after yourself and the small, vital, silly ways that we do that.
Tell us about the naming process of the single.
The song is named for a chance moment I shared with my grandmother. We were at a cafe and an ambulance wailed past, sirens blaring. My grandmother immediately said “Touch you head and touch your toes, if you don’t want to go in one of those.” It was an old rhyme she’d learnt as a young girl and I was very taken with the phrase.
What is the message you are trying to tell your fans?
As Kurt (again) says: “Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.” I’m on board that view and I don’t think I’m trying to convey messages to a large audience with my writing. However I’m certainly a big believer in promoting mental health.
What was the writing process like?
The demo came together quickly. I’ve already spoken about taking suggestions for song subject matter and similarly I’ll sometimes work to my own self imposed deadline too. This harks back to 2015 when I wrote, recorded and released a new song every week of that year. I gave myself a week to put this demo together and then moved onto another idea.
What was the recording process like?
The band went into WR Studios in Swinton for the weekend and tried out 17 (I think) ideas in September of last year. This one really became something special when we were all playing it. It came together so quickly and everything just felt right. We all felt it was going to be the next thing we released, and in fact the first thing we’re releasing that has all of us playing together on it. Various parts were recorded in my home studio (big fan of bedroom recording) and a couple of parts were taken from the original demo. Sometimes you just can’t recapture the feel of that first rush to create something, there’s something effortless and breathless about it.
Describe it in three words.
Hypnotic, dreamlike, throbbing.
Will we see a EP or Album anytime soon?
I think a couple more singles and then we’ll look to releasing an E.P. There is already a Granfalloon album out. ‘Down There For Dancing’ which I put out last year. It’s much more towards the folk end of the Folktronica spectrum.
Let us know if you have any shows coming up?
We are playing at Strange Brew in Chorlton, South Manchester on Thursday 22nd February to launch this single [Ambulance] in fact. The lovely Jo Rose will be supporting us, so it is going to be a great night. I know it.
You also played the Tom Waits Tribute night in Didsbury, how was the show?
I am responding to these interview questions in warm post-show glow of that very gig. It was a wonderful night. Absolutely heaving. We played a track off of each of my top three Waits albums. The title track from Raindogs, ‘Hoist That Rag’ from Real Gone, and ‘Better Off Without A Wife’ from Nighthawks. We recorded ‘Better Off…’ as a free download for our mailing list.
Do you have any collaborations coming up with any other artists or bands?
There will be hopefully. Just not quite at the ‘doing’ phase yet.
Would you be up for collaborating with artists or bands?
If it feels like it’s going to be interesting or fun, then definitely. I did a lot of co-writing as part of my song-a-week project.
What made you go in to music?
My first musical memories are of my grandmother (the other one) playing the piano and singing ‘Chattanooga Choo Choo’. I didn’t go into music until quite late though. I started writing during college and things just got out of hand.
Do you play any instruments?
To varying degrees… voice, Omnichord, guitar, everything else…
Who are your influences?
Lots and lots of people! To name a few… Arthur Lee, Kurt Vonnegut, Josephine Baker, Bowie, Sufjan Stevens, Serge Gainsbourg, Delia Derbyshire, Lewis Carroll, Nobuo Uematsu, Bjork, Pixies, Andre 3000, PJ Harvey, Jun Miyake, Jack White, Bill Callahan, Jane Weaver, Tuneyards, Jacques Brel, Paul Simon, The Magnetic Fields, Pavement, Flaming Lips, Mercury Rev, there’s more but that should do.
How do you get inspiration to write songs?
I like stuff to do with dreams and I find a lot of inspiration there. Sometimes animals. I’ve got a song about a girl who trapped a bee in a tupperware box and put it in the fridge so it would sleep and then attached a piece of string to its back leg and woke it up so she could walk it around the park. So it can be anything.
Where do you see yourself now in 5 Years?
5 years? That’s far. I can picture the next year. If my life is like it is now but better, I’ll take it.
When you’re not doing music, what do you do?
I engineer live gigs, I record bands, I write music for theatre (or try to). It’s all pretty music related. Other than that, I like swimming. So swimming.
What was the song you listened to most that influenced you to go more into the music scene?
Tough one. One song? One Of These Things First by Nick Drake is a beauty…
What’s the best advice you have ever been given?
Everyone must do their own thing. That’s my grandfather. That got turned into a song too of course.
What advice would you give to aspiring musicians not about the industry and just as an artist?
Find like minded people who give enough of a shit to work on this thing every day with you. And honestly, NO ONE knows what they are talking about. They’re all just making it up and you can make it up too.
What quote or saying do you always stick by?
See my grandfather’s advice.
When you are at a gig, what are 5 things you cannot forget?
Other people’s feelings, a sense of absurdity, the concept of evil, my shadow, and my shoes.
You come off tour;
1/Where do you go first? For a swim.
2/Who do you see? My delightful partner.
3/What do you eat? Something I’ve cooked. Or a chicken chow mein.
Do you have social media accounts so your fans can follow you?