Gris-de-Lin recently featured on the Fresh on the Net #FreshFaves and, you can read the rapturous review our very own #SnippetCuts, Johnno Casson, of Warm & Toasty Club fame, gave her by clicking on the hyperlink.
Hailing from Bridport, Dorset, Gris (as we shall fondly call her from now on) is an exceptionally talented, songwriter, vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and, visionary. “Visionary?” I hear you cry (yes, I do!). Yes – Visionary. Gris is an artist with a clearly thought out, well defined, unique vision of the music she wants to create, and, of how that music should be produced, presented and hopefully, perceived. Too much to ask for? Not in my book!
Reach for the highest, shiniest star, hitch yourself to it, and let it take you to the moon, sail you along the satellite seas of the milky way, and shoot you… er, oh yeah, sorry, ahem, got a bit carried away there, straightens skirt, pats down hair. Well, you can never aim too high can you, especially when you’re about to launch your “spooky otherworldliness” onto the unsuspecting masses, which Gris is on the cusp of doing!
The Gris-de-Lin debut Double A side single, Your Ghost / Birthday will have it’s launch party tomorrow near Bridport (where else!) and from there will go on nationwide release on September 1st. We had a cheeky chat with her recently, via Satellite (aka vintage landline telephone), and here’s what she had to say!
“The inspiration for the name Gris-de-Lin or Grey Linen, came from the materials warehouse next door to where I live. I was inspired by the materials, and I also really liked the French sound. It’s perfect.”
Coming from a musical family who encouraged her to immerse herself in a diverse cultural ocean, Gris developed a deep love of music at an early age, taking lessons in both Piano and (wait for it…) the Saxophone (the only instrument this writer has ever heard described as “sexually intellectual”). Gris soon took matters into her own hands, literally, by teaching herself to play both Guitar and Drums. Developing an eclectic taste she cites universal influences from Afro-beat to American post hard-core (Shellac).
We can safely say then that Gris is an all-round musician, with an all encompassing love of the musical globe.
Change of tune
“Up to recently I was playing in a band, but it got to the point where I just wanted control, wanted it to be personal, wanted to prove myself. I wanted to experiment, and for the music to reflect that experimentation. I wanted it to feel organic, to flow freely. I realised I had a bigger dream, and wanted to do this for myself, to prove myself.
As I said, I wanted everything to be experimental — from how I write the songs, through the recording process, to the musical sound. I write all the songs myself, in a natural free-flowing way. For one of the songs, I literally took a newspaper article about rugby, grabbed words from it, and used them as the basis from which to build the lyric. I like to be inventive in how I create, and I like my music to spontaneously unfold in the same way.”
“Rob Ellis, PJHarvey/Anna Calvi collaborator, was responsible for percussive interpretation/drum playing on several tracks.
Chris Hamilton, of Torres fame, bass guitar and production.
I play most of the instruments on the tracks — Electric & Acoustic Guitar, Synth, Sax & some drums. Rob played most of the drum parts, and Chris played bass-guitar.“
How, where, why?
“In a way, it was all quite spontaneous. I met Cee at a friend’s gig at Servant Jazz Quarters in Dalston. We quickly realised, over a malt whiskey, that we had lots of the same music taste and found ourselves recording the initial stages of Your Ghost the following week. That’s why it seemed apt to do the London single launch back at Servant Jazz Quarters.
The meeting with Rob was similar. We met in a quirky Bridport cocktail bar and quickly hit it off talking about music and recording. He’s always been one of my favourite drummers, so I was thrilled when he was up for playing on my record.”
Making noise — approach and MO
“I hired a Nursery School, which was a really nice space in which to work. I didn’t want to be hidden away, in a dark, falsely lit, enclosed space. The process was quite short, we had everything wrapped up in 12 days. First I worked on the demos. Then went into the ‘nursery’ with a friend, Matt, and we just mucked about. There was a lot of laughing, a lot of humour, and I think that came across into the sound. When Cee arrived, he built on to what we had done, gradually layering up the sound. He is very honest in his approach – very straight up about what works and what doesn’t.
Creating organic soundscapes is very important to me. I think we’ve succeeded in giving the songs an hand-made feeling, achieved something that has a very natural sound, albeit with an avant-garde influence.”
“The videos for both songs were shot by Dorset filmmaker, Thomas Hughes. We filmed them in Bridport, using local scenery, local people. Whoever turns up gets cast. A spontaneous film flash-mob.”
Kaz Land was responsible for the cover sleeve artwork. We asked about the concept and if the image was tied into the ghost-mask imagery from the Your Ghost video.
“I really wanted the films, photos and artwork to all link together. I’d been admiring Kaz’s artwork for quite a while so commissioned him to do the artwork for the single. I sent him the first Your Ghost film and told him about the dog concept for the next — so that his artwork could bring in both themes. He also did the Gris-de-Lin logo and scrawled on the photos for me.
He’ll be involved in the artwork for the next releases too as I love what he’s done!”
Gris has Birthday cake cocktail on the launch party menu (we have asked for one to be couriered over – we await confirmation – #slurp!)
So who came up with the recipe?? “This takes me back to the Bridport cocktail place — The Venner Bar. Lloyd the barman there makes some of the best cocktails I’ve ever had, so I’ve asked him to create a cocktail to personify each song from the single – Your Ghost and Birthday.”
A Real Live Wire
Gris is hoping to do a small tour in 2016. For now, she’ll be kicking of live gigging with the launch parties.
“There’ll be strings, some drums, some bass and I’ll run samples on an analogue loop. The aim would be to gig with a band. Something more pared back, more acoustic. Something completely different. I don’t want to give too much away. I have a lot of ideas for the live performances, but more than anything I’d like to feel local and natural.”
The ten tracks that will make up the forthcoming album have to be mastered. Once that’s done, Gris will set about organising the art and film work, aiming for an album release date in mid Spring 2016.
In the meantime, if you see a shooting star sparkling through the sky….
Gris-de-Lin’s debut Single launch party is on Friday 28th August, 2015 at Moens Farmhouse, Uploders, Nr Bridport
The London party will be held on Wednesday 2nd September in Servant Jazz Quarters, Dalston
Tickets for both nights, £6.00, details on the website — www.grisdelin.com
The single itself will be available from 1st September, 2015, via Noisy Little Birds. A Double-A Side, containing the songs, Your Ghost & Birthday, it will be available in Digital Format, as well as in a Limited Edition vinyl format (7″ Yellow vinyl with hand screen printed artwork by Kaz Land).