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Orville Peck On The Music That Made Him, 'Pony' & The "Visual" Way He Creates

Orville Peck

Photo by Daniel Mendoza / The Recording Academy

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Orville Peck On The Music That Made Him, 'Pony' & The "Visual" Way He Creates

The Recording Academy catches up with masked country star while On The Road at Austin City Limits 2019

GRAMMYs/Jan 3, 2020 - 01:00 am

Masked country performer Orville Peck is an enigma if ever there was one. Never without a handmade fringed mask, the Canadian singer-songwriter broke through last year with his mononym'd debut album, Pony.

The Recording Academy caught up with Peck while On The Road at Austin City Limits 2019, where we talked about his influences, the music he grew up with and more.

"My parents exposed me to lots of different types of music," he told us. "Country, obviously, but also glam rock, punk, gospel, soul, world music, you name it."

Peck certainly carries a proto-punk mentality when it comes to his influences; he cites '70s punk pioneer Patti Smith as one of his idols. "Patti Smith had a big impact on me," he says. "When I was like 14 years old, I wanted to be a musician but when I bought Horses—which is funny because my album's name is Pony—it made me feel like I could make music in a different way than I knew how when I was a kid."

Speaking of Pony, which dropped n March of last year via Sub Pop, Peck explains that he "just wanted to make my love letter to a classic country album." 

"[It's] the country that I love," he continues. "It's just my stories of places I've been, people I've known, people I've been with, things I struggle with."

Hear more from Orville Peck in the interview above, including the "visual" way he approaches the creation process and more.

K.Flay Talks Inspiration, Politics & The Argument That Led To Her Making Music

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GRAMMYs On The Road With Gary Burton And Fred Hersch

GRAMMY.com conducts interviews backstage at the Detroit Jazz Festival

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 05:06 am

The Recording Academy played host to GRAMMYs On The Road at the Detroit Jazz Festival on Aug. 31 – Sept. 3 in downtown Detroit. GRAMMY.com conducted exclusive backstage interviews with artists performing at the festival, including six-time GRAMMY-winning vibraphonist Gary Burton and GRAMMY-nominated pianist Fred Hersch.

Burton discussed his introduction to the vibraphone, his career trajectory, combining elements of jazz and rock, and his collaborations with Chick Corea, among other topics.   

"[Chick Corea and I] played a short segment on the Berlin Jazz Festival and then went into a studio to record [our] first record," said Burton."That's when we discovered we had a real easy rapport playing together."

Burton formed his own quartet in 1967, recording albums that fused rock elements with jazz improvisation and sophisticated harmonies. That same year Burton received his first of 19 career GRAMMY nominations for Best Instrumental Jazz Performance, Small Group Or for Duster. In 1972 he won his first GRAMMY for Best Jazz Performance By A Soloist for the album Alone At Last. Burton has earned his renown in performing in a duo format with musicians such as Corea, with whom he has won five GRAMMY Awards. The duo most recently won for Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual Or Group for The New Crystal Silence in 2008. His most recent recording is 2012's Hot House, another collaboration with Corea.

Hersch discussed his love for the piano, the influence of poetry and visual art on his music, the music J.S. Bach, among other topics.

"[Today] people listen [to music] while they're doing email, they listen in their car, they listen on the treadmill," said Hersch. "People don't sit and listen to [music] and I think that's an absolute tragedy because the experience of concentrating on music … is really good for your soul."

Hersch, who started playing piano at age 4, has recorded more than 45 albums as a performer, bandleader or duo partner since 1991. He has played as a sideman with artists such as Stan Getz, Joe Henderson, Charlie Haden, and Bill Frisell. Hersch released his debut solo album, As One, in 1984. As the leader of the Fred Hersch Trio, Hersch has received five GRAMMY nominations, his first coming in 1993 for Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Individual Or Group for "Dancing In The Dark." His most recent nomination was for Best Jazz Instrumental Album for Alone At The Vanguard in 2011.          

In addition to artist interviews, The Recording Academy also presented GRAMMY SoundTables featuring Detroit Jazz Festival performers discussing their music and careers. Participants included GRAMMY winners Terence Blanchard, Gary Burton and Joe Lovano.

Come back Monday for more GRAMMYs On The Road at Detroit Jazz Festival coverage.

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GRAMMYs On The Road With Damien Jurado And Don't Talk To The Cops!

Backstage with Damien Jurado and Don't Talk To The Cops! at the Sasquatch! Music Festival

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 05:06 am

The Recording Academy Pacific Northwest Chapter played host for GRAMMYs On The Road At The Sasquatch! Music Festival held in George, Wash. The Chapter conducted exclusive backstage interviews with artists performing at the festival, including folk singer/songwriter Damien Jurado and punk/dance group Don't Talk To The Cops!

Jurado discussed his most recent release, Maraqopa, music he's currently listening to and songwriting, among other topics.

"Maraqopa is a concept record [but] it's a different record thematically because in the past I've done records where the songs have different stories … [and] Maraqopa is an entire story," said Jurado. "It's about one man's search for true love."  

Seattle native urban folk singer/songwriter Jurado draws on influences such as Bob Dylan, Randy Newman, Lou Reed, and Neil Young. In 1997 Jurado released his debut album, Waters Ave S. Two years later he released what is considered his breakthrough album, Rehearsals For Departure. Several albums followed throughout the early and mid-2000s and in 2008 Jurado released Caught In The Trees, which peaked at No. 46 on Billboard's Top Heatseekers chart. Released in February, Maraqopa peaked at No. 4 on the Top Heatseekers chart and is considered Jurado's "most adventurous and fulfilling work to date," according to AllMusic.com.

Don't Talk To The Cops! members Emecks, djblesOne and El Mizell discussed how they met, the type of music they play and musical influences, among other topics.

"We don't do anything to try to follow any kind of pattern," said djblesOne. "We just do what makes us happy and what's fun to us because at the end of the day if you're going to be making music you should love it. We just stay true to the things that we love."

Hailing from Seattle, Don't Talk To The Cops! features a combination of what they call "punk, dance, fun." The group consists of DJ/producer djblesOne, choreographer/vocalist Emecks and hype man El Mizell. In 2011 the group released their first album, Regular Show, followed by 2012's Let's Quit. Don't Talk To The Cops! are currently on tour throughout the United States, with select dates scheduled through September.

Come back to GRAMMY.com tomorrow for more exclusive backstage interviews from GRAMMYs On The Road At Sasquatch!

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GRAMMYs On The Road With Trampled By Turtles And Empires

Backstage at the 2012 Lollapalooza festival

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 05:06 am

The Recording Academy Chicago Chapter played host for GRAMMYs On The Road at Lollapalooza on Aug. 3–5 in Grant Park in Chicago. The Chapter conducted exclusive backstage interviews with artists performing at the festival, including country/bluegrass collective Trampled By Turtles and indie alternative punk rock trio Empires.

Trampled By Turtles vocalist/guitarist Dave Simonett discussed advice for aspiring bluegrass artists, the band's recording process and songwriting, among other topics.

"For bluegrass artists just starting out, my advice would be to not worry about tradition in your music at all," said Simonett. "Take it and try to grow it into your own thing."

Trampled By Turtles was formed in Duluth, Minn., in 2003 as an acoustic side project for Simonett, who had lost most of his music equipment after it was stolen from his car. Left with only an acoustic guitar, Simonett created a new band drawing on folk/bluegrass influences and featuring Erik Berry (mandolin), Dave Carroll (banjo), Tim Saxhaug (bass), and Ryan Young (fiddle). The band released their debut album, Songs From A Ghost Town, in 2004. Blue Sky And The Devil was released in 2005, followed by Trouble in 2007 and Duluth in 2008. Released in 2010, Palomino peaked at No. 1 on Billboard's Bluegrass Albums chart. Their most recent album, Stars And Satellites, peaked in the Top 40 on the Billboard 200.

Empires discussed their musical influences, life on tour and the future of punk rock, among other topics.

"We bonded over '90s music, that's why we started a band," said Empires vocalist Sean Van Vleet. "We're obviously music lovers, so we're always looking for something new," added guitarist Tom Conrad.

Formed in Chicago in 2006, Empires features Conrad (formerly of alternative rock band The Academy Is…), producer/guitarist Max Steger and Van Vleet. The band released a self-produced debut album, Howl, in 2008, followed by a seven-song EP, Bang, in 2010. Howl was named one of the top five local albums of 2008 by Metromix Chicago. In 2011 the band made the final four in Rolling Stone magazine's Choose the Cover contest. Their most recent album, Garage Hymns, was released in June.

(GRAMMYs On The Road at Lollapalooza: Interviews and news contributions by Ramon Alvarez-Smikle, Christina Castillo, Max O'Kane, and Emily Ornberg.)

Come back tomorrow for more GRAMMYs On The Road at Lollapalooza coverage.

 

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GRAMMYs On The Road With Delta Spirit, The Devil Makes Three And Sonámbulo Psicotropical

GRAMMY.com conducts interviews backstage at Austin City Limits

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 05:06 am

The Recording Academy Texas Chapter recently played host for GRAMMYs On The Road at the Austin City Limits Music Festival, held Oct. 12–14 at Zilker Park in Austin, Texas. The Chapter conducted exclusive backstage interviews with artists performing at the festival, including indie rock quintet Delta Spirit, country/rock trio the Devil Makes Three and African/Latin American group Sonámbulo Psicotropical.   

Delta Spirit discussed performing at the Austin City Limits Music Festival, having their music placed on the soundtrack to "Friday Night Lights" and  their favorite GRAMMY moment.

"Our time here can best be described as hot and humid and fun, and crazy," said frontman Matthew Vasquez.

Hailing from San Diego, Calif., Delta Spirit were founded by bassist Jon Jameson and drummer Brandon Young, former members of emo outfit Noise Ratchet. The pair teamed with multi-instrumentalist Kelly Winrich and Vasquez to form Delta Spirit. The group issued their debut album, Ode To Sunshine, in 2007, peaking at No. 16 on Billboard's Top Heatseekers chart. History From Below was released in 2010 and peaked at No. 8. Adding guitarist Will McLaren, in March Delta Spirit released a self-titled album, which peaked at No. 1 on the Top Heatseekers chart and gained presence on the Billboard 200. The group is currently on tour throughout the United States and Australia, with dates scheduled through January 2013.

The Devil Makes Three discussed their musical influences, songwriting process and their instrumentation.

"I feel awesome about it," said Cooper McBean regarding playing the banjo. "I find it kind of bizarre as the banjo is sort of a horrible thing to inflict on the public, but the public seems to like the abuse and I'm happy to dole it out."

Combining elements of blues, country, bluegrass, and rock, the Devil Makes Three are an acoustic trio featuring guitarist Pete Bernhard, McBean and upright bassist Lucia Turino. Based in Santa Cruz, Calif., the trio released their self-titled debut album in 2002. Longjohns, Boots And A Belt was released in 2004, followed by 2006s live album A Little Bit Faster And A Little Bit Worse. With the release of 2009's Do Wrong Right the trio topped Billboard's Top Bluegrass Albums chart. The album features 10 original tracks, nine of which were co-written by members of the band, plus covers of Elvis Costello's "Cheap Reward" and Blind Willie McTell's "Statesboro Blues." Their second live album, Stomp And Smash, was released in 2011 and peaked at No. 4 on the Top Bluegrass Albums chart. The Devil Makes Three are currently on tour throughout the United States, with select dates scheduled through December. 

Sonámbulo Psicotropical discussed the meaning behind their name, their songwriting process and the band's "magic hat."

"Sonámbulo means sleepwalker," said vocalist Daniel Cuenca. "For us it's Sonámbulo Psicotropical. Psicotropical is like the mind of the tropics. [It's] a mix from Latin American music and also funk, rock and other influences. It's the way the tropics work. [They] always mix everything and make it their own."

Formed in 2006, Sonámbulo Psicotropical's members span Costa Rica, El Salvador, Cuba, and Colombia. The lineup currently consists of Mauricio Ariza, Esteban Brown, Juan Cuellar, Daniel Cuenca, David Cuenca, Manuel Davila, Tito Fuentes, Alexis Leal, Roberto Román, Mario Vega, and Miguel Vega. Combining instruments such as guitar, keyboards, bass, congos, and saxophone to form their "psycho tropical" sound, in 2012 the group released their debut album, A Puro Peluche, in the United States.