An Interview with GRP

GRP showcase themselves with their Grand new single, where killer piano riffs meet an extraordinary rhythm pattern. Imagine Tigran Hamasyan mixed with Brad Mehldau with a hint of Dream Theater.

  • Describe your sound in 3 words

Summer: Pretty, dark, mathy
Jessica: Nature, emotional, intense

  • What is the story behind your name?

Summer: We aren’t divulging too much about how we arrived at our name just yet, but the short story is that GRP stands for “grenade, rock-propelled”.

  • Your riffs are incredible. Can you tell us more about your creative process?

Summer: I’m glad you dig ‘em! I either begin my compositions with a melody I heard in my head or a chord progression I stumble upon while improvising, to which I then craft melodies and riffs based on what I think best complements it; I add to it, and then, whittle away at those ideas until I’ve crafted a riff or melody I find both unique and enchanting. However, when I feel like I’m stuck in a creative rut, I look to my musical influences for inspiration. I listen to quite a bit of guitar-driven music, as well as classical piano and orchestral music, and all of those musical influences definitely play a role in how I write riffs and melodies—I’m inspired by the motifs, counterpoint, and chord progressions from pieces such as Mendelssohn’s “The Hebrides, Op. 26 (Fingal’s Cave Overture)”, Rachmaninoff’s “Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor, Op. 18”, and Chopin’s “Fantasie Impromptu in C# Minor, Op. 66 No. 4”, as well as the vocal melodies, guitar and / or bass riffs, harmonies, and chord progressions from the likes of Thrice’s “Daedalus”, “The Window”, and “Stare at the Sun”, Circa Survive’s “The Difference Between Medicine and Poison Is In The Dose” and “Rites of Investiture”, Muse’s “Stockholm Syndrome”, “Hysteria”, and “Butterflies and Hurricanes”, Polyphia’s “40oz”, “The Worst”, and “O.D.”, Ratatat’s “Seventeen Years”, “Nostrand”, and “Cream on Chrome”, Chon’s “Peace”, “Waterslide”, and “Perfect Pillow”, Daft Punk’s “Aerodynamic”, Justice’s “Genesis”, Deftones’ “Diamond Eyes” and “My Own Summer (Shove It)”, and many more.

  • When it comes to live performances, should we expect session musicians? Or you prefer to play as a duo?

Summer: While I’m sure we will probably play a handful stripped-down sets as just a duo, we’d ideally have session musicians with us for our live performances; I’ve spent the past couple years building a reservoir of talented, young orchestral musicians in various parts of the country (Summer Swee-Singh & the Heartstrings) and those musicians would be my go-to in the event of a tour. We were hoping that we would be playing our first GRP shows this year, but since COVID-19 has cancelled all shows until further notice, it looks like we are going to have to wait until at least 2021 to get to play our music live.

  • Which artists have been most influential for you, as a band and as individuals? 

Jessica: Growing up listening to Paramore and Blink-182 had a huge impact on me. I listen to many different artists now, but pop punk and alternative music definitely helped me develop my playing style. Bad Suns, Scarypoolparty (Alejandro), and African rhythms are also notably influential in my playing and writing style.

Summer: I grew up listening to almost exclusively classical music until the age of 14, and then went on to play both piano and violin in my high school orchestra, so I’m definitely influenced by many of the classical greats (specifically Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Bach, and Liszt). The first non-classical music that I really got into was, surprisingly, The Spice Girls—it was the only non-classical album my parents allowed me to listen to prior to entering high school. During my freshman year of high school, I discovered Linkin Park’s Hybrid Theory and thus began my relationship with music’s “rebellious underbelly”. Thereafter, Thrice, Circa Survive, Sufjan Stevens, Brand New, Lovedrug, Beirut, Ratatat, M.I.A., Wolfmother, The Rapture, Albert Hammond Jr., Daft Punk, Justice, Des Ark, Skrillex, Muse, Deftones, John Williams, Chon, Polyphia, Billie Eilish / Finneas, Yvette Young, and too many others to list, also became critical elements in my musical tapestry.
As a band, our influences manifest just as we do—a unique combination of our personalities.

  • What is your favorite album of the past year?

Jessica: Bad Suns – Mystic Truth
Summer: Roddy Ricch – Please Excuse Me For Being Antisocial tied with Chon (eponymous)

  • If you could change anything about the music industry, what would it be? 

Summer: I personally would encourage it to become less appearance-focused and truly be about the music; I think more diversity in the industry could be gained from blind auditions for backing musicians for tours. I realize that live shows are a visual medium as well as an aural one, but it is disheartening that I’ve seen multiple audition calls for “gorgeous” or “bombshell” female touring musicians of a young age range (usually 18-25) that prioritize looks over playing ability.

This focus on appearance tends to especially plague the more mainstream genres such as pop and hip hop, and it is one of the many reasons why I enjoy listening to and playing more technical genres such as classical and math / prog rock that focus more on one’s playing ability and expressiveness. Anyone with a couple years of practice under his / her belt can play most pop piano, but to play complex classical music with finesse or perform prog / math rock seamlessly, you have to adopt that “40-hours-a-day”, Ling Ling practice regimen touted by TwoSet Violin.

  • Which book should we read while listening to your music?

Summer: Any collection of Billy Collins poems should do the trick. Maybe, “Horoscopes for the Dead”?

  • One last thing we should know about you?

Jessica: We’re really excited to be making music together and look forward to sharing it!

Summer: Yeah, we’re definitely stoked to be creating together! Also, if you want to check out some of our other non-GRP work, check out the album Coping Machine by City Mouth (City Mouth is Jess’ other band!) as well as my reimagined, collab album with Anthony Green that we released last year—Would You Still Be With Strings (feat. Summer Swee-Singh) J

Thanks GRP!

Follow GRP
Instagram: @getagrp
TikTok: @getagrp
iTunes / Apple Music:

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