Friends of Russ Benefit Show
March 7 at The Handlebar
with EP Releases from Grey Spy/Mountain Homes/Everlasting Earle/Our Western Sky
New EP Impossible Sequence out March 7
Early on in the days of SceneSC one of the first Greenville bands we found and took a liking to was Shaun William’s project Archer vs. Gunman. He’s since moved on from that project, spent some time playing with Mountain Homes, and has now moved on to Grey Spy. Grey Spy is my favorite of any of William’s projects so far.
Produced by Chris Stamey (Whiskeytown) and engineered by Mountain Homes Will Wong, the jangly song is nostalgic for the past and high school love and the confusion that comes along with that. When it comes to my personal favorite music I think this song hits on everything I love. Coming of age nostalgic lyrics, riff driven intros followed by driven-clean guitars that pick through chords much like the way Peter Buck would do it.
Greenville’s come a long way since we started covering the music scene up there and it looks like things are still looking up. One of the prime examples is Hospitable Cat records, home to future releases from Mountain Homes, Francis Vertigo and Annie the Healer in addition to the Grey Spy EP. Coming full circle, the show Friday night benefits Russ Morin, the person that Williams looked up into the upstate music scene.
Tell me a little bit about the new EP. It’s the first official release from your new project Grey Spy. You happy with where it is?
I’m very happy with the way it’s turned out. I’m very lucky. This is the first time my personal, professional and musical lives have all been on an upswing at the same time. Everyone involved with “Brightest Summers Days” did an outstanding job. I wore out my copies of Mayflies USA’s “Summertown” and Whiskeytown’s “Strangers Almanac” so working with Chris Stamey (producer) was something I’d always dreamed of. We had some really tight dead lines with this record and we had to wait on Chris to get back from the Big Star tour to begin mixing so we were really worried about whether it was going to happen or not. Waiting was time well spent. Chris and Will Wong (recording engineer) really got it.
How do you compare this material to the Archer vs Gunman material?
I’ve been told that it sounds less singer/songwriter and more like a group effort. I really don’t know. Half of the band are playing instruments they’ve never played before while the other half of the band are playing instruments they’ve played before but not in this way. It feels fresh. The band is really gelling right now and with Jen (Saint Stjärna) taking the keys, it frees Keith (Carson) up to experiment with different sound textures. I’m really looking forward to our next recording.
You have a 90’s influence, but you’re old enough to deserve it and know the bands that influenced the bands of the 90’s. Now we’re in a wave of young bands fresh out of high school directly influenced by bands like Oasis and Nada Surf. What’s your take on it all?
I love it! Aaron Burke (drummer) grew up in Ireland so Brit-Pop is ingrained in him. For the first time in years, I have someone new to talk to about bands I’d thought were long forgotten.
What’s the story behind this song specifically Midsummer’s Fair? You’ve always been very forthright with your lyrics.
It’s about high school sweethearts. The girl goes to college and the guy settles in their milltown. They have a spell of insomnia and the girl is prone to panic attacks and the guy feels helpless. It’s kind of naïve and kind of hopeful and kind of desperate.
How’s the Greenville music scene coming along? Over the last 4-5 years we’ve bitched about it and the same time watch it grow. Seems like things are getting better, but at the same time nostalgia for the past is heavy.
The Radio Room has been bringing in a lot of national talent and there’s been a shift in Greenville’s music scene to non-conventional venues — shows at people’s homes, record stores and art galleries are all becoming big events. It’s cool. Original music still doesn’t get booked in our downtown bars but I’d rather hang out on Daniel’s (McCord) porch anyway.
What’s the plan for the release show?
Our Western Sky, Everlasting Earle and us are all releasing new EPs. Mountain Homes is also playing. The Handlebar’s greenroom is going to be a party! All door proceeds will be going to Friends of Russ and there will be a silent auction too. I’m excited. I’ve never organized a silent auction before. Russ Morin was a friend and a big influence on me early in my music endeavors so it means a lot to me to be able to help, even if it’s in a very small way. It means a lot to everyone involved in the event! Despite all it’s growth, Greenville hasn’t lost it’s small town sense of giving.
Any last thoughts?
Maybe just a plug for Hospitable Cat Records. New releases from Mountain Homes, Francis Vertigo and Annie the Healer are all on the way as well as Grey Spy’s full-length!