Oct. 10, 2012 - Issue #886: Typhoon Judy
Into The Beautiful Wild
Jenn Grant talks about the making of her latest album
The Beautiful Wild, the latest release from Halifax-based singer-songwriter Jenn Grant, is a collection of songs built like classic fairytales filled with love and nostalgia. The album title is a story in and of itself, referring to moments in life that pass by without signalling their full importance, where the full magnitude is felt later. Prior to her shows in Edmonton, Grant shared some insights about her new album with Vue.
Vue Weekly: How long did it take to make The Beautiful Wild from the initial songwriting through to the end of the recording?
Jenn Grant: I had been writing songs since Honeymoon Punch came out, but decided to throw them out and start again once we arrived at the house in PEI (except for "In the Belly of a Dragon") I also wrote "Hollywood" in November while on tour in the states.
The rest of the songs were written that week in January. It was a very fast and new experience. We did the drums and bass to them that week as they were written each day, and then I spent the winter getting to know the songs. Danny (Ledwell) was on tour for the winter with Kathleen Edwards, and when he came home we got to work adding layers to the songs.
VW: When you were writing the songs, did you come at them in a particular way? Lyrics first? Music first?
JG: I tuned my guitar down to different notes and found the note I wanted to begin on and the songs came out all at once right from there.
VW: What were the recording sessions like for this album? Is this the kind of thing you recorded live or did you piece it together one track at a time? Why?
JG: We did the drums and bass in PEI right away, and then later we added the layers. We did them all individually, at home. I wanted to have the bass and drums down so I could experiment with my vocals and then have time to be very specific with the other choices with Dan.
VW: Were there any other songs written that were left off the album? Why?
JG: I threw out a bunch. I don't shelve songs, I just throw them out. I wasn't feeling that inspired by them, and much more excited by the new material that was happening.
VW: How did you decide which songs to include on the album? Did you have an idea of what you wanted The Beautiful Wild to be when you started, or did the finished shape emerge as the writing and recording went along?
JG: It shaped and emerged in its own way over time. I felt like I was just a vessel for the songs. I felt very tapped in to a creative energy during this specific time in January, and just went with it.
VW: The album was produced by Daniel Ledwell. What drew you to him and what did he bring to the process?
JG: It's exciting to work together and to continually be inspired by things as a team. He understands what I want and makes it happen and brings textures and atmosphere with everything he does.
VW: If you were to trace the musical map that led you to The Beautiful Wild, what would it look like?
JG: I don't really picture a musical map. I just see myself sitting by a fire close to the snow and no one around. And all of the songs coming down in one fell swoop which was about 10 days of writing and recording the bass and drums. The songs and stories echoed life and stories in my imagination, but also events that hadn't happened yet and seemed to unfold as the winter went on. It's the most personal album I've made, without me even really understanding how it all happened. V
Fri, Oct 12 and Sat, Oct 13 (8 pm)
With Cuff the Duke
Haven Social Club, $15 in advance, $20 at the door
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