Graceland’s Maxie Gedge on cellos, Sebald and loving her job

gracelandWhen you see the word Graceland do you think of 50s rock'n'roll and sexy quiffs, or African sounds infused with tribal beats for Betty and Al? (If you’re a bit of a music snob, probably both). But residing in Norwich is a band wisely moving forward with their sound, instead of looking back; with modern, fuzzy pop, indie gems.

In 2017 Graceland self-released three singles gaining exposure on local radio and proving they are most comfortable navigating around punk and softer indie styles. Their sound is controlled noise with simple hooks and when the female voices of this young female gang work together, it’s as edgy as it is angelic.

So, why would you choose such an iconic word to champion the group? As Maxie on the sticks and skins explains, “When we started the band we were obsessed with Paul Simon’s album Graceland. I had become interested in English folk, Rosie was reading Sebald, and so we were writing about landscape, identity, geographical histories. We liked the idea of challenging the cultural weight of the word ‘Graceland’."

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Quite a refreshing and mature answer for a band barely out of their teens; also suggesting the writing process is collaborative and open to all members. Maxie goes on to explain: “We respect each other’s input equally, so we write most of our songs in a remote studio in Norfolk altogether – we try to keep our creative process as abstract and conceptual as possible; its reflective of us as whole humans and not just our musical tastes and technical abilities."

Having impressed Label Fandango with their energetic live shows and knocking up 7,000 plays with a killer bassline-infused track "Fleetwood", Graceland have some exciting times ahead. But what does a record deal hold for the band and what will it allow the group to do that they couldn’t before?

“We’re working on an album. We’re currently speaking to producers and we are writing lots, so we will be shut away for a while. We’ve released three singles where we have done everything ourselves (mostly) so we’re looking forward to working alongside a hand-picked creative and production team for the first time”.

How many singers have you heard say it’s the best job in the world? And you can see why; how idealistic does it all sound? Locking yourself away from the world to write, rehearse and experiment. Then you get to choose a producer; that in its self must be quite a task and yet one that can also be the making or breaking of any record. Worry not, for Graceland’s sensible heads have it all figured out, as Maxie tells me: “We’re selecting producers who will definitely have a creative input into our sound and will add something to our songs, so we’re trying not to predetermine too much of the final entity. We do want a studio sound that will bring out the best elements of both our soft and hard moments."

Having chatted with the band earlier last year I’ve been able to gain a feel for the ethos of Label Fandango. It's pleasing to report that the band clearly have a deal based on development. This allows a band to write constantly but also experiment with sound and direction, especially in terms of dynamic, which goes a long way in standing out amongst your other basic 4-piece band setups.

Maxie assures me the group aren’t resting on their laurels when I question the group's will to experiment (as if they haven’t got the time): “Yes, we will be experimenting; one of our demos already features cello. But in our everyday writing, we pull inspirations, techniques and sounds from everywhere and that’s important to us”.

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Cello? Now, this is music to my ears. Head over to Spotify or Soundcloud for a taste of the group and you won’t be disappointed. Now they’re holed up in some remote shed in Norfolk, working on world domination, no doubt still high fiving the fact that they got a deal performing around Norwich. And so they should. All the band needs now is to deliver a spellbinding debut of songs to match their great vocals; A simple recipe, not so simple to throw together. Good on Label Fandango for giving them a chance at the dream job.

Ahoy, new music fans! Do you know Graceland appeared in our Ones to Watch in 2018 long list alongside plenty of other awesome up and comers?

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