What inspired you to first start making music? And how did you come to be in your current incarnation? Or if you prefer, a brief bio about you.
My mom always sang and played acoustic guitar, so there was always music in the house and I was always encouraged to play and express myself. In terms of my current incarnation, I got burned out on playing in bands. Things went so slow with multiple people, and it felt like everyone had to approve everything. Enter Grand Commander. Right now Grand Commander is a solo project, so when I write a song, I don’t answer to anyone. I write what I feel and do what I want 100% of the time. I plan on bringing in a band for live shows at some point in the future.
Provide us with some info about your latest release…
“I Hope You Die in a Fire” is an indie acoustic/synth song. It’s about dealing with the aftermath of a tough breakup. Specifically it’s about those moments after time has passed where you think you’re over someone, then suddenly you are reliving an old fight and all the anger and resentment comes flooding back.
People are dealing with the same thing I went through. Now that I’m on the other side, the video is my way of saying “hey, I know what you’re going through, hang on… it’ll be better soon.”
The video was made with a speed reading app. It centers all the words and puts the middle letter in red so your eye can easily track the words faster than normal. All the words change in rhythm with the song, and my hope is that the experience is somewhat hypnotic so the meaning of the words and the feeling of the song all get through. I’ve been thrilled with the response so far! I’ve had quite a few heartfelt conversations with people I’ve never met who have reached out after seeing the video.
Which ones would you consider your main influences both music-wise & non-music-wise?
Music-wise… there are so many. Bootsy Collins, old school Metallica, Sabbath, Yes, Busta Rhymes, and of course MANOWAR!! Non-music wise I really like Dabrowski and his theory of Positive Disintegration.
In what way does your sound differ from the rest genre-related artists/bands and why should we listen to your music? In other words, how would you describe your sound?
Grand Commander is indie funk… sometimes heavy, folky, always slightly off kilter in a way peculiar to Grand Commander. You should listen to it for raging bass guitar, screaming guitar solos, surreal lyrics, crazy stories, and interesting visuals.
Please name your 3 desert islands albums, movies & books…
Albums: Yes – Close to the Edge, Manowar – Louder Than Hell, Parliament – Mothership Connection
Books: Glass Bead Game – Hermann Hesse, Finite and Infinite Games – James Carse, The Stars My Destination – Alfred Bester
Movies: Death Wish III, Jeremiah Johnson, All movies with talking dogs
Do you prefer studio or performing live and why?
I love them both for different reasons. There’s nothing like coming up with something totally badass in the studio and riding the wave of creativity. If I had to choose one though it would be rocking the stage, because the energy created live with a crowd is just the best feeling there is, absolutely nothing else in the world like it.
Is there any funny-unique story you would like to share with us, always in relation to your music ‘career’?
I was filming a stop motion music video for the song “Bad Bad Rabbit” in a rented storage space, and I didn’t know I wasn’t supposed to be filming in there. Long story short due to a crazy combination of circumstances the manager kicked me out because he thought I filming a porno! I was like dude… I just making stop motion with figurines of rabbits!!
Which track of your own would you point out as the most unique and why?
The most unique track right now would have to be “I Hope You Die in a Fire”, because the feeling created between the music and the video is something that sets it apart. The song is indie with acoustics and synthesizers and a wild guitar solo, and the video is like “wait a minute there is actually meaning behind the title.”
Would you like to share with our readers your future plans?
Future plans are put out a music video made entirely in virtual reality called “Bear Factory”. As far as playing live, Grand Commander is playing Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah at the end of this month(January), and booking a tour through the midwest in March. After that the plan is to make more videos, release more songs, and continue to spread the good word of Grand Commander far and wide.
Free question!!! (Ask yourself a question) you wish to answer and haven’t been given the opportunity…
What’s something different/unique about Grand Commander?
I turned a Super Nintendo controller into a synthesizer. I mount the controller on my bass, play bass with my left hand and play the SNES controller with my right hand. The SNES controller plays chords, and those chords run through a vocal processor that mixes with my voice. It’s the only one that exists… nobody else does it!!
Photo credits: Zalen Cigainero
Curated by: Christos Doukakis
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