Greylag Interview: The Guys That Make Summer Campfires Just That Much More Memorable

Having just come off of the Gomez and Kopecky Family Band tour this past fall, then finishing a tour with Augustana, Greylag is working hard promoting their debut EP, “The Only Way To Kill” which was released less than a month prior to their Sasquatch Music Festival Appearance.

The Portland-based band whose two founding members (the core of this indie/folk-rock group), Andrew Stonestreet and Daniel Dixon, first met back in 2007, didn’t realize the calibre of music they could create together until both moved to Portland and really gave their style a shot. With a vulnerability in the lyrics and a great, simple sound, Greylag’s emergence on the scene shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.

** Greylag after having been informed that we know those water bottles aren’t filled with water, photographed by Chelsea Chernobyl

One of the first reviews I found on you guys had spoken of your music being, “… perfect for summer roadtrips and campfires.” Did you have that in mind when you were creating your debut EP?

Stonestreet: We like them too, so that kinda makes sense, I guess. Some of it was probably first written in that setting too.

Is that part of your process to just let these songs come into existence organically, sitting around with friends, or did you find being in the studio really helped?

Oh, man… there are so many different ways that it happens. I think hindsight is a pretty awesome facet of the creative process, there’s a lot of that. You create something then you change it based on listening back cause there’s all this reflection happening. And that’s a good part of it: just tweaking and making things different.

“The Only Way To Kill You” is now roughly three weeks old; are there tour plans specifically designed around the release?

We just got off the road actually, doing a six-week national tour with the band Augustana. We were back for about a week then we came up here, so we’re gonna take a little bit of time then hopefully get back on the road in a couple of months. Hopefully sooner than that, actually, but who knows. We just need to relax for a minute, you know? See friends and chill out for a bit.

There are already some big names that you’re being compared to, not just word of mouth but in the media as well: Fleet Foxes, Local Natives, and Bon Iver, whose on later and is headlining this Festival… what is it that distinguishes you and keeps you separate from established names like that?

I think we all come from such different backgrounds. There’s a lot of common ground amongst [bands like that] but there’s also, well, we’re all into very different things and headed in very different directions. I think we’re just trying to leave enough room in our group for everybody to voice what their doing, and that’s important. I don’t think we’re shooting for anything specific other than just something that moves us.

A couple of your videos on-line, including “Tiger” and “Winter White” are through collaboration with The Sights of Sounds at the Mississippi Studios in Portland.

Ya, Ben Fee’s [founder/director/cinematographer/producer at The Sights of Sounds] a good friend of ours. Man, I can’t remember if we shot at Mississippi Studios or not. Actually, I don’t think we did. I think we shot at a venue that’s sadly closed down now called The Woods. We shot some there and we shot some in our attic which Daniel actually lives in.

Dixon: Right in my room…

Stonestreet: We had kind of just done random stuff with Ben up till then. Ben just sort of shows up with a camera and some microphones and just says, “Let’s just make this!” [laughs] It’s a pretty easy process.

They looked pretty stripped down and more about just letting you guys play your music and forget the camera’s are there.

Ben’s got a really good eye so we’ll just play the song a couple of times and then he’ll send us some clip about a month later. It’s worked out really awesome for us.

Being relative new-comers to the festival circuit have you had a chance to catch any acts? Anyone inspire you so far?

Stonetreet and Dixon together: Kurt Vile.

Stonestreet: As long as I’d seen Kurt Vile yesterday I was pretty happy. But we saw St. Vincent play yesterday, we caught Jack White last night, that was, well, that was fuckin’ awesome. We’re excited to see Bon Iver tonight. I mean, we’re lucky enough to get to stick around for the rest of the festival and we’ll for sure take advantage of that.

With catchy hooks and stomping rhythm, the folksy, bluesy, yet ultimately quintessential American indie-rock album “The Only Way To Kill You” is out now and I for one will be letting everyone I know hear about the group that is sure become more than just a west-coast addiction. Greylag is going to take flight soon and you won’t want to miss a minute of the success that’s sure to come their way!

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