It was a sweaty July week in Minnesota, the type of heat that can make you lose your shit and start smashing things. In other words, perfect weather for the recording of the new Gramma's Boyfriend sophomore record on Graveface Records. What makes this group extra somethin' special is that each of its five members are accomplished musicians with reputations for slightly more 'serious' music but when they congregate to perform as GB, they grant themselves a license to rawk without rules. Shit can get a little out of hand, and it's absolutely lovely. Imagine an album with punk attitude, 80's dance beats, math rock moments, throwback alternative power, and outrageously creative hooks. Now add humor to each song and there you have it; PERM. The songs may not be masterfully crafted but they are certainly crafted by masters (I mean that in a good way)! Somehow, perhaps because there's no pretense that it needed to be a critic friendly record (although Pitchfork will most likely eat it up), Gramma's Boyfriend accomplished recording something that many bands wish they could; an album that is just as fun to listen to as it was to make. I mean, who doesn't enjoy singing along to a song like Donkey Donkey 2x4?
As their engineer, it was admittedly a little tricky to capture the incredible energy that they exude in their live performance. It needed to sound raw, but have power and punch that most punk records lack. It couldn't sound as polished and plastic as a Foo Fighter's record (sorry Dave, I loved you in Nirvana). A lot of obvious choices were made, like using SM57's and smashing room mics with limiters. Every song was tracked as full takes with everyone in the same room. Overdubs were kept minimal as a means to maintain realism. The hours spent mixing were aimed at shaping edgy chaos into a non-fatiguing visceral experience. I pumped some nasty, street-grade steroids into various elements after the fact and did some toning down of those ear-piercing bits that prevent listeners from wanting to turn the volume up to 11. After all the last fader rides and EQ tweaks were made, we landed on a record that is just as cherry sweet as it is an unadulterated assault on the senses.
Haley Bonar | Vocals
Luke Anderson | Drums
Jacob Hanson & Jeremy Ylvisaker | Guitars
Mark Erickson | Bass
Entry by Lance W Conrad