Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Interview with Meredith Godreau of Gregory & The Hawk

One of our favorite albums to come out in the past half year is Gregory and the Hawk's, Moenie & Kitchi, led by Meredith Godreau. The album is loaded with intimate, rich, beautifully orchestrated numbers that reveal more of a depth with each listen. GATH began in 2003, and became a sort of independent/internet success story in 2006 when she released her Boats and Birds EP, which in part, blew up due to an unexpected feature on Myspace. GATH sold over 15,000 copies of her own work before signing to Fat Cat Records just last year.
Meredith was kind enough to give us some of her time recently for an online interview to answer some of our questions about the new LP and much more.

BTB: G&H are known for being a DIY success story? I was wondering if it actually felt like something big was happening when the whole thing blew up? Or is hard to judge that type of thing from the inside?
GATH: Apart from feeling lucky that things have worked out the way they have, and not taking for granted having free time to continue writing music, i haven't sat back and considered the status of the venture so much. the way i look at it is, writing and playing have been a great hobby and way of life since i grew into a person at all/whatsoever and mostly to try and find a way to keep it that way is where my head's at 100 per cent.

BTB:How did you get started in music? When did you first start playing? Any bad experiences when you first started playing out?
GATH:No real bad experiences, some imagined ones, and maybe some real ones i created that weren't even gonna happen otherwise. So, yeah, bad experiences i created for myself, just to keep it interesting, sure. My assumption is everybody does that to themselves. I started when i was a kid and i've pretty much been hanging on to variations on the shit i learned when i was 14. like... uh. hey remember alanis? Ironic.

BTB:I was reading that the sessions for the new album 'Moenie & Kitchi' weren't originally intended to be making a full LP? Can you take us through the recording of the album & what happened?
GATH: Sure. adam pierce, producer of M&K, came, opened for, and saw our gath release show for the 'in your dreams' album in july 07. He told me he wanted to try and make demos of some of the songs he heard. We'd played full band that night, maybe 7 or 8 people, just for a change of pace since usually it's just me, or just me and mike. Adam said we'd see if i liked the demos, if they worked out, then we could turn it into an album if it was nice. Months passed. It was in the winter and we recorded it at his studio upstate. So there were lots of trips for me from Bushwick, Brooklyn, where i lived at the time, about two (or sometimes more) hours to this fuckin steep ass driveway. sorta like magic kingdom hell, but then once we were there it was always fun. I was in the mood for somebody to take over the stuff i was sick of playing solo, at least for a record or two you know? which is what happened. At the time we were making the record and up until now i feel detached from the writing anyway. i don't think i belong on that record, but i liked how he made it.

BTB:The album has a much bigger vibe than some of your previous work, was that intentional going into making the record? And how much of that had to do with working with producer Adam Pierce?
GATH:The sounds you hear on the two other gath releases - boats and birds ep and in your dreams - are sounds that are very much my own. good or bad, that is what i do when left to my own devices. Especially 'In your Dreams'. I felt that album was true brainchild of mine. a lot of m&k i felt nervous about, but i am always nervous. So yes I think you could say it had a lot to do with Adam. It was so revelatory for me, hearing somebody who didn't know me as a person at all interpret my songs into arrangements. It gave me a lot to think about

BTB:Did anything you learned in making this album influence how you think you'll make future records?
GATH: In the past i've worked a lot with a steady group of friends, this was a sort of branch out for me, and i did learn a lot. especially technically. There was attention to detail on this record that i've never experienced first hand and i think it shows in the final product. In the future i would like to combine that with a final product that is more simple. When i play alone, of course, nobody hears what's going on in my head, but what i hear in the background is sometimes not so poppy or sharp as is expected. like i said, it was so interesting to learn Adam's interpretation of my work. That now affects my writing as much as it will affect the recording in the future.

BTB:I heard that the name Gregory and the Hawk came about because you didn't want to be labeled a singer/songwriter? Is that true? I hear so many female performers say that, what's with that tag?
GATH: For a while i just thought about making a band and i considered the fact that, as far as I was concerned, the songs i was writing were more radio pop than coffee-house-feelings based. You know, I wasn't striving to be a girl holding a guitar, i guess because i already was one. basically, i was riffing. but yeah, screw it, i'm a singer/songwriter.

BTB: What do you love to do when you're not playing music? Hobbies, etc?
GATH: Dress up

BTB:Your from Mass. originally? How did you end up living/moving to NYC?
GATH: A series of college drop outs and then a friend's couch

BTB: Favorite and least favorite thing about NYC?
GATH: A million places to eat out vs leaving in a car

BTB:Do you have a 'guilty pleasure' song on your mp3 player that is embarrasing to admit?
GATH: "Crash" by dave matthews band and "shine" by collective soul are two of my favorite guilty pleasures, but i have to admit, i think my taste is quite embarrassing in general

Moenie & Kitchi is available now on Fat Cat Records.
Listen to Gregory & The Hawk on Myspace.

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