POP-FOLK AMERICANA DUO FROM SALT LAKE CITY ‘WINTER GRAIN’ ARE HERE WITH US TO HAVE A LITTLE CHAT ABOUT THEIR NEW EP ‘HOLLYWOOD & HARD’ AND THE MAKING OF. TAKE A READ OF OUR CHAT HERE AND LISTEN TO THE ALBUM WHILST YOU DO!

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What are your names?
Kate and Secily Anderson

What is the band’s name?
Winter Grain

How did you come up with the band’s name?
In 2017 we booked recording time at Bearcreek Studio without having a band name. Our cellist, Melissa Collins, proposed a band name that she came to know as a luthier. Trees grow a dark grain (or “winter grain”) when they pull their nutrients into the roots and bark, hardening for the winter to survive. Then, when spring comes, those nutrients are used for a growth spurt that show as lighter grains. As it happened, it proved a sublime metaphor for the transitional period all the band-mates were going through when the band first formed, ranging from breakups, to addictions, and the passing of a partner.

What is your genre of music?
Pop-Folk Americana

Give us a little bio about you.
Winter Grain was formed in Salt Lake City, Utah and has changed and grown since moving to Los Angeles a few years ago. Our first EP was recorded with Ryan Hadlock at his family studio in Seattle and we were still unsure of even which songs to record. That album took a sort of new-grass feel which we absolutely still love. As it stands we now have a third album which was again produced by the incredibly generous and talented Hadlock. His work with Brandi Carlile was what originally brought us to Bearcreek and we will forever feel humbled and grateful for him. Individually both Kate and myself have other things that have engaged us recently. Kate’s deployment last year as a Blackhawk helicopter pilot with Fort Bragg’s 82nd Airborne was something that definitely helped refocus our timeline. We recorded “Hollywood & Hard” October 2020, and it’s taken two years to release all the tracks, but we’ve been waiting with high anticipation to be where we are today. The sound of the new tracks are bit different for a few reasons: one of them being that I mostly eschewed the acoustic guitar in favor of electric. My teacher and our close friend and collaborator, Elliott Klein, suggested the instrument change when I had complained about a decades-long issue with my left arm and hand. Unbeknownst to me I had bone spurs blocking spinal fluid in my neck. Of course, that wasn’t found out until AFTER the sessions at Bearcreek where I couldn’t lift my arm much higher than my shoulder without this mysterious, excruciating pain. So Kate was deploying and I was recovering from neck fusion surgery (2020-2021). All of these elements are very intertwined in our music, from lyrics to riffs. We are very excited to see what comes of the next bit of time for us as Kate will be retiring after a 20-year-long Army career. Cheers to music and what is gives to this often hurting world

What made you go into music?
We do this because of the undeniable pull to create music, just like most creatives. I was lucky enough to start piano lessons at age eight and I’ve with all things music ever since. Kate grew up around live music all her life as her dad has been a professional saxophone player since her infancy. She loved the family-like bonds of “the band” (her dad being in multiple) and felt that music would always be an active role in her life.

Who are your influences?
Our personal music preferences don’t always mesh (“she’s a little bit country, I’m a little bit rock n roll”). And that’s the spice we love the most! Kate’s playlists have a lot of Joni Mitchell, Casey Musgraves, Nanci Griffith and of course, her fave, Brandi Carlile. Lately I have felt particularly influenced by Tears For Fears. Does that makes sense within what music we create? We aren’t totally sure but good thing we aren’t concerned about making too much sense. LOL.

Are you a signed?
We are not.

You released your new EP ‘Hollywood & Hard’, tell us more about the EP.
This was our second time working with the Hadlock/Lurssen team and it was somehow even more exciting the second time around! We’ve been very humbled to see how some of the greatest musicians (Adam Neely) and producers (Ryan Hadlock with Foo Fighters, Brandi Carlile, et al.) and engineers (Lurssen Mastering consistently wins Grammy’s) have been integral parts of crafting our sound. All but one of the songs were written while I was recovering from the first of two “Covid surgeries” (as I like to say). When we recorded in October 2020 we had some very magical moments (recording with iconic gear, lightening striking the barn after a solo). On top of the generalized malaise that comes with a global pandemic, our goals to release the album changed quickly after we got home. When we were recording I couldn’t raise my left arm above my neck without excruciating pain. When we got home I had to have emergency neck fusion surgery. At the same time Kate got deployed so life decided to give us a bit of a pause. With 2022 now firmly started, we are so very happy to give a sigh of gratitude to all who have helped behind-the-scenes (we miss you Elliott!) as well as curious music fans like you!

Describe each track in two words.
“Fists”—American protests
“Hollywood & Hard”—Rise above
“Passenger Seat”— Wishful thinking
“Pages”— Naive love
“A Better You”—Self-reflection

Who did you work with on the EP?
Ryan Hadlock – Producer (see history with Vance Joy, Allen Stone)
Taylor Carroll – Engineer/Drums (also with Bear Creek Studio)
Elliot Klein – Guitars
Adam Neely – Bass on “Pages” (my favorite Youtube bass/music
instructor/personality)
Dune Buter – Bass on all but “Pages”

What was the writing and recording process like?
Writing for “Pages” was a mixed bag. I wrote the chorus years ago and then Kate wrote the verses and bridge years later. We’ve been privileged to record and perform it with so many talented musicians throughout our career and perhaps we will do a “Super Band” recording of it in the future. That being said, the rest of the songs were written right as the global pandemic hit Los Angeles. Each song has both very personal and extremely generalized themes — on purpose. As in “Fists,” it breaks our hearts to see so much rage in the world today. We both feel that deeply on personal levels and much wider “real world” scale. I turned 40 last year so between that little wakeup call and the medical stuff, so much of this music was a cathartic release for me. Kate can also attest that much of her lyric writing came after a difficult phone call or disappointing moment. We are both incredibly invested in “bettering ourselves,” whatever that actually means in the end. Self-reflection is a universal thing that we both have had a lot of lately. Coming to terms that we have made big mistakes or alienated people, for example, is part of that. And in that is realizing perfection isn’t necessarily the goal — maybe just being a little better is.

Will we see a music video for any of the tracks?
All tracks will have a music video eventually. For now, all tracks have
one already with exception to “Hollywood & Hard” and “Pages.”

What else can we expect in 2022?
The release of two more music videos, a live performance in May in Salt Lake
City, and more L.A. based performances now that Kate is back from her
deployment

Where do you see yourself now in 5 Years?
More music releases are to come, along with some anticipated international travel with the optimism things will be in a good place for touring musicians by then. We are hopeful and look forward to seeing what comes in time.


What quote or saying do you always stick by?
It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice (thanks
mom!).

When you are at a gig, what are 5 things you cannot forget?
Our advice and what we try to practice is:

  1. Gratitude first. For those that came before, for those there now,
    and for the experiences that got us to this moment. We know it
    sounds terribly cheesy but it is truly something we practice, helping
    us feel most at peace with the nerves that tends to come with
    performing.
  2. Be of service to the music and help the music serve the audience.
  3. Be present.
  4. No band-mate gets left behind (to carry gear by themselves, to
    walk to the car alone, or to drink alone).
  5. Double check for gear before you leave a gig. I’m still so mad that I
    left an amazing Winter Grain pallet made by my brother at The
    House of Blues! I hope whoever has it at least keeps it dust-free
    LOL!


Do you have social media accounts so your fans can follow you?
Website
Instagram
Facebook

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