Thursday, February 12, 2009

Nana Grizol Interview

Here is my entire interview with Theo Hilton of Nana Grizol. It took place at the Mohawk in Austin, Texas. It was my first interview EVER with a band, so I apologize for all the interruptions. Feel free to comment, ask questions to anything that confuses you, or things I could improve on. Two things you should know When this (...) appears it doesn’t mean that I cut something but that there was a pause. Also I will be uploading a audio file of this interview A.S.A.P. Oh, and I’m working on getting my Music Tapes Interview up as well.

David Glickman(Me): How did the band form? How did it start? You worked at Orange Twin right?

Theo Hilton: Well, it started I guess uh with my friend Jared, who plays bass in Nana Grizol and in the music tapes as well, we use to be in a band together call Zumm Zumm together like few years ago. And we had this story how Nana Grizol was the matriarch of Zumm Zumm. So I started a calling that whatever song that wrote or recorded by myself and stuff. I guess like chronologically that was kind of transgentil to me becoming more involved with Orange Twin stuff and round, a little bit after I don’t what, I don’t know how to describe it. A couple of years ago our friend Madeline was having a CD release party, and so she asked Nana Grizol to open, so we made a band for that and we’ve been a band every since then.

DG: Had you always, what they’s 10 members in the band, on it being so big?

TH: No. I guess, when we played are first show, there were probably like 7 of us at that point, maybe 6. I can’t remember exactly. And then you know we just have a bunch of friends who you know like to hang out with. We liked playing music together. There have been some people who have come for a tour or two. You know it’s weird right now because there are eight of us and feel like all eight of us are heavily involved in it and have been doing it forever, for years.

DG: Are you trying to achieve something different in Nana than you would in Defiance, Ohio(Theo’s other band.)

TH: No, I don’t think so. I think in the case of both those bands, the core of it is friends who want to spend a lot of time together on a project and make music that they love together. And I think, that is the driving force behind both of those bands.

DG: So the Songs on Love It, Love It are, well, about love (Theo laughs). Relationships, what ifs, good parts, bad parts, heartbreaks. Had you always planed on making a record like this?

TH: No, I guess not. I guess you know, I feel like a number of those songs...I would say its about love, I wouldn’t say that I think of the album as a whole as being about romantic love necessary. I think it’s about people being apart of people’s lives and the things that come with that. And I think that the songs written on that album were written, really over the course of, I don’t know, five years proceeding us actually making that album. And I guess a lot of them were written in times of, some cases of being in relationships and feeling weird or something, or whenever I decided to leave Athens, and that was like a big weird thing for me coming home or whatever. I don’t know, just a lot of the songs come from times of feeling really confused about whatever situations.

DG: Speaking of, you went on a do-it-yourself, one month tour, and then you went on tour with the rest of the Elephant 6 Collective for the big holiday surprise tour last year. But in truth speaking, this is, and is going to be, your first proper tour. How do think it’s going to be like?

TH: I think its going to be really fun. It’s a ... interesting thing to be touring with this band in this way. I guess I don’t look at it a whole lot differently then I look at any other tour. We’re going places that I’m really excited to go, playing shows which I’m really exited to do. I think really the biggest difference is doing soundchecks.

DG: Well, there’s eight members in the band. Does it ever get, or is it confusing, or do you ever lose track... it seems it can get chaotic on stage.

TH: I don’t know. I think we... play and maybe it gets chaotic sometime but I love it. There’s always some moments on stage where your wondering "Is this working?" and then "Its working!" and your like this is really fun and it’s always so much fun.

DG: From what I’ve heard from various places, the NPR live concert of the Elephant 6 collective, various Youtube clips, quite a few songs like "Cynicism" and "Black Constellations" aren’t on Love It, Love It. Do you plan on making and EP or another CD after the tour?

TH: We actually are most of the way done recording our next album. I guess were going to go home and...

DG: Put the finishing touches?

TH: Yeah, put the finishing touches and see what we want to do. We’re really exited about it.

DG: So we should expect it by the end of the year?

TH: Uh, I couldn’t say. We’ll get it out to the world sometime in short order.

DG: Speaking of, eight people in the band, in tight closed places, what was it like recoding "Love
It, Love, It"? It seems like that can get wild as well.

TH: It was... we recorded that(Love It, Love It), I feel, really over the course of a week or something. That was a really different experience from what were doing now because we just went into a studio in town and put down a couple of guitars and drums and layered everything over it. There would be times were we were all there and times where there would be only a couple of use, like, slowly adding stuff. And I guess in that regard, what we’re doing now is really similar to (that), slowly figuring out how exactly we want it to sound I suppose.

DG: So the recording for the new album was different from "Love It, Love It"?

TH: Um, yeah. The new album, our friend Nesey (Gallons), who we play with in the Music Tapes is recording it in his house in Athens. And its really neat, we’ve set a studio, and set up a tape machine...

DG: No Pressure

TH: Yeah, its really relaxed and really nice.

DG: Nana Grizol has gotten a few comparisons to bands like Okkervil River or Bright Eyes. Do you think these comparisons are valid?

TH: Ah, I don’t know, I guess any comparison is valid. I don’t know if I’ve ever heard Okkervil River before...

DG: I guess the bigger question would be what do you think your music sounds like?

TH: Oh...

DG: Just as comparison to the other bands.

TH: I think as anything is derivative of other stuff, I defiantly hear how the music we like is reflected in the music we make. I... don’t really don’t know how to expand on that.

DG: It’s ok, it’s ok.. My final question to you is, you just told me but maybe you could go into a little more detail, how did you get the name "Nana Grizol"? Does it mean anything really?
TH:Well it came from, when I was 18 in Athens I had this really tremendous crush on this guy, but then this girl named, named ... I can’t think of her name now that I try to think of it.

DG: Maybe it’s better that way.

TH: No, it’s relevant to the story, her first name anyway. Her first name was Latisha, I mean I like her a lot, I’ve gotten to know her, it was just she was hitting it off with this guy really well and I was telling someone about her, you know real spiteful, "What’s her name?" and they said "It’s something like Grizelda or Lysal or something like that," and I was like "Its Grizol!". I don’t know, some how I liked that, and then Nana Grizol became the grandmother of Zumm Zumm and I wrote some stories about our back history...

DG: Under that monarchy?

TH: Yeah I guess so.

DG: Anything you want to add?

TH: Um yeah, I’m really exited that were going tour and that were going on to play shows...

DG: With the Music Tapes!
TH: Yeah, it's going to be really fun

DG: Something just popped into me. Outside of working with Orange Twin, which has a semi-connection with the Elephant 6 Collective, you hadn’t really been apart of it and then you were asked to join tour. What was that... how did that come about and what do you think your place is now?

TH: I would say the answer to that question is really similar to the answer to the Defiance, Ohio, Nana Grizol question. I would say that were, at the heart of that friends who want to hang out and play music together and work on a project together...

DG: And you just so happen to be in Athens.

TH: Yeah, and Julian (Koster) and Nesey came to Athens in, I want to say June or so, and then I started playing with The Music Tapes and then we were getting ready for the tour and you know, it just ended up, I mean it was a real organic thing, I wasn’t anything we had planned or anything. And We just end hanging out and playing a lot music with Scott, well not a lot but a little bit.

DG: Scott?

TH: Scott Spillane, he was in The Gerbils, and he’s been playing kind of solo.

DG: Oh, so now The Gerbils are going to come out to!

TH: Well I won’t go so far as to say that, but they rock out every now and again.


  1. great interview. I saw them in may of '08 in buffalo. Julian caroled at my house in december so I'm really excited they're both coming together! Esp, cos when julian caroled here, he said it was his first concert in buffalo haha. And I had no idea scott was touring! Brilliant!

  2. Well really he's not touring, but playing some oneoff shows. Still its pretty cool.