On October 15th, Nashville-based band The Grahams will release a sonically potent and lushly layered new three-song EP titled Sha La La, an EP that “…represents a shift in reality, a realignment of perception,” according to the band. We caught up with The Grahams to see what they’ve been up to, and the short answer is… a lot. They’re almost always exploring various forms of art: painting, sculpting, creating anything they can dream up, and doing so with a precept they’ve come to apply known as “anti-perfect.”
They tell us that, “the songs on Sha La La are the freedom from form and responsibility and the admission that we don’t know, nor can we control anything,” something that they think many people can relate to now after living through 2020. “Sha La La is the whimsy of making sonic explorations into the anti-perfect. We never necessarily imagined anybody else listening, but we hope if they do listen it will help them also to let go.”
Along with our 5 Questions, we also invited the husband-and-wife-led ensemble to share a few songs, and you can watch the exclusive performance below.
5 Questions with The Grahams by Sam Shansky
1) You two were VJs on DittyTV’s show Earth Tones from 2015-2016. A lot has changed for you since then. Could you catch us up on what you’ve been up to and where you’re at now?
We’ve never stopped making and performing music or making art for that matter. In 2016 we drove our motorcycle cross-country from Chicago to LA on the infamous Route 66 during election season. Our response to that experience was our third record, Kids Like Us. During the making of KLU we conceived our first (and only) child who is now almost three, Georgette Graham. Like they say, a child changes your life. It also changes your heart and your brain and most of all your perspective. Kids Like Us was released on the first day of the global pandemic…
2) Let’s talk a little about your upcoming three-song EP Sha La La, set to release on October 15th. Will you describe what these songs mean to you and what you hope listeners can take away from them?
Sha La La represents a shift in reality, a realignment of perception. We let go of writing the perfect timeless songs because time is simply of no consequence anymore. I think a lot of people can relate to this concept after 2020. The songs on Sha La La are the freedom from form and responsibility and the admission that we don’t know, nor can we control anything. Sha La La is the whimsy of making sonic explorations into the anti-perfect. We never necessarily imagined anybody else listening, but we hope if they do listen it will help them also to let go.
3) You recorded the tracks at 3 Sirens Studio — a space that you own and operate in East Nashville. Would you describe that space and the story behind it as well as what the recording process was like for Sha La La?
The recording process was very much about creating a vibe at “home” so we could feel as comfortable as possible to go down the rabbit hole with friends, explore and experiment. The studio was a longtime dream of ours. We wanted to make a professional space with all of our favorite toys so that our friends would want to come and hangout, talk, create, vent, and feel inspired to create. We wanted our producer pals, and artists we love and respect, to come and feel at home. After working in many studios, some extraordinary and some not, for other records, we have learned what is, and what isn’t, inviting and inspiring for us. A good space helps to create a good piece of art. Our goal was to make 3 Sirens otherworldly, serene, comfortable, inspirational and loaded with killer gear; a playground of sound and thought.
4) You’ve said that the concept of eternal love has always been important to you as you two have been together since childhood. How do “Love Collector,” “Beyond The Palisades,” and “Pilgrims and Punks” reflect that sentiment?
They do and they don’t. We believe that everlasting love is built into our shared fabric at this point. Being older parents after already experiencing a lifetime love affair together has really driven this idea home. The love must continue beyond the unknown. But on the other hand these are the “anti- perfect” songs. Lol. “Beyond the Palisades” is definitely an exploration of love beyond the confines of time. “Love Collector” however, is possibly about the banality of life and love and relationships. The meaningless of it all. “Pilgrims and Punks” is a voyeuristic dream about living in a painting or an abstract scene in Amsterdam. All in all, I think the entirety of this EP is about escaping reality but taking the lifetime of love we share with us on a crazy unexpected journey.
5) What can you tell us about your next full album, due in 2022? Will it be a continuation of your more alt-pop-oriented sound?
After Sha La La, our next record will be a continuation of our anti-perfect exploration. We are planning to work with Danny (Molad) again because we speak the same romantic, whimsical and exploratory language. Danny is never void of ideas about any music and production. He will go where no man has gone before and love every minute of it. If one of us is like, “what if my guitar amp sounded better on the ceiling with a megaphone…” he would try it out, test it and then listen to determine if it sounds better. We also will as always work with our childhood friend and lifelong co-writer, Bryan McCann. The three of us are so connected spiritually and musically. All of our records are a collaboration with BMC. However, Georgette will surely have an impact on our next full release as she has shifted the paradigm.
Bonus: Filmmaking and scoring has played a significant role in your story as well (Searching The Milky Way, Rattle the Hocks). Do you have any plans to make or be a part of another film in the future?
Not to sound like an asshole or anything but we do think of ourselves as artists not just musicians. We both paint. Doug has multiple collections of paintings and sculptures and we both have tons of video and film experience… all that to say that there will always be multimedia attached to our records. We tend to make art for art. No doubt we will explore whatever possibilities we dream up, film or otherwise.