Greycoats: If our last album was molasses, this one's San Pellegrino


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GN: Can you tell me about the artists that you integrated into this project?

JR: We got the idea of asking local artists to create a piece for each song -- a visual interpretation of each song on the album. We're gonna have all these pieces on display at the show as we play. After the show, we're also going to have an extended listening party where we're going to host an art show. It's going to be a walking art show where we'll play through the songs acoustically. We'll talk about these interpretations of the songs and invite people to come up with their own interpretations as well. I love the idea of collaboration. One of the ideas is: art is fluid. No matter who you are, as well as I think I can express myself and articulate what I mean, it's always going to mean something different to someone else. Any painting, any movie, any song, anything you're processing can takes on new meaning depending on who's looking at it. I like playing with that idea and working with artists.

GN: It doesn't bother you when someone listens to your songs and interprets it differently than what you had in mind?

JR: Not at all. I'm always interested in hearing people's interpretations because it's often even more interesting that what I had originally thought of.

GN: Did you come up with the idea to include artists on this album?

JR: I think it started with the idea we had to film a video for each. Which, may or may not still happen. We're making progress... My favorite videos are the ones that end up being more abstractions of the song itself, rather than rock-band-playing-in-a-circle-looking-cool. Unfortunately, when you get most people to help you shoot a video, they eventually want footage of a rock-band-playing-in-a-circle-looking-cool. I'd always rather see a short film than hero worship. So, perhaps its a way to let the abstraction take over.

I was talking to a friend today about the art show and she mentioned how great the artistic community in Minneapolis was. There are so many collaborations and random art shows like the one we're putting on. People just seem ready to jump in and get their hands dirty, regardless of time, status, and financial constraints. Other cities aren't so lucky. Even with the record, having someone like Jeremy Messersmith swing in and sing, or Jeremy Ylvisaker play a lot of mean guitar and help us produce this thing. Maybe it's just guys named Jeremy.

Maybe it's Minnesota nice. It's how we roll. To choose the artists we reached out to people knew or kind of, sort of knew -- a few were strangers to us, but all artists whose work we thought was really cool. We tried to choose artists that worked in a variety of mediums and then assigned the songs based on what we knew about the artist's personality and style. Would they be able to represent the mood of song? Would they gravitate toward any themes that might be there? It seemed like such an ambitious idea. We didn't know if we could pull it together, but, surprising, people thought it was a cool idea and said yes.

At the 1939 World's Fair, there was this interpretation of the future. All of these dreamers got together and envisioned their view of the future was like. Like the World Fair of '39 was intended to pull a city and nation out of the Great Depression, maybe this release is appropriate time, to lift us from our own Midwestern, mid-winter depression.

Greycoats will have their album release show at The Ritz Theater on Saturday, January 26, 2012 with All Eyes, John Mark Nelson, and Ben Rosenbush.
AA, $7 adv, $10 door, 7:30 pm

Purchase tickets here.
For more information on the Greycoats art exhibit and extended listening party, click here.


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