Grace can’t play guitar are Chris Payne and Mick Tyler, two friends from Brighton who collaborated on various music projects together and gave it a spin for a whole new non-genre specific sound. For this spotlight I had a chat with Chris, the songwriter of the band.
In the late 80s you played in an indie punk band LaBastion together. How and when did you meet?
“In a bedsit, Mick was auditioning for the band, it must of been awful for him but you would have never known!”
Are there any bands that have influenced your sound?
“Lou Reed, David Bowie, The Kinks, Queen and The Beatles.”
With your first single ‘Crazy Daze’ you introduced Grace. Your music tells the story of Grace as she walks through her life. Who came up with the band name?
“A few years ago, I was sat by a campfire with a group of friends talking and playing my guitar. One of the young children was watching intently. Her friend came across to join them, I handed the girl the guitar and said “give that to your friend to play”. Without a moment’s hesitation the girl said “but Grace can’t play guitar!!!” I phoned Mick and told him the story and Mick said “what a great name for a band”.”
So Grace can’t play guitar, but you can. Who plays the other instruments?
“I play guitar and bass. In the studio our producer Nick Endacott-Gibbs adds the keyboards in line with our ideas and we use a fantastic session drummer, Violet Stow and Mick plays the fool! We are currently looking for band members to complete the line-up.”
You’ve recently released ‘Hey Sunshine’. Are you happy with the response?
“Yes, very happy! We are being played in countries where our music has not been heard before and we hope that our new single is putting a smile on their face and making them want to dance along.”
What will Grace her next adventure be?
“In our debut EP we share the tragic love story of Grace and Jack and Grace’s journey comes to end which we see in our track ‘God‘ where Jack is looking for his Grace, he does not remember that she had sadly passed at a young age. But who is to say that she will not make a comeback, just like in a soap opera!”
What are you hoping to achieve with your music?
“For Grace to be heard, to be out, to be recognised as good musicians both in the studio and more importantly live. For people to listen and be able to really connect with our music. We are proud of what we have produced together with my songwriting and Mick’s versatility as a singer, we feed off each other with a great energy that we want to share with others.”
You are the songwriter of the band. What can you tell me about your creative process?
“The songs come from sometimes a situation/experience or just a conversation – a little comment will just trigger something in my head and I will write a couple of lines or will have a few bars of music, from that I will create the song. It is a unique feeling – they are their own little inventions! Sometimes, I will get a title in my head or Mick will phone me and say something and I will think that will make a great song title and a way I go! The best bit though is getting Mick over so we can run through it, I like to watch his reaction as I play him the demo and we begin to build it together! It is the best bit!”
In your ‘best of 2020’ feature you mentioned your plans for 2021, which included getting back in the studio and a tour and not just in the UK. Any updates on those plans?
“Covid-19 had definitely slowed our plans down greatly, we were lucky to be able to get into the studio to lay down ‘Hey Sunshine’. There are other songs ready to record, but our priority now is to start the real Revolution Grace and get a band together so we can get out and play live again and get our tour bus wheels in motion.”
What’s the coolest thing you did as a band? Are there any problems you’ve had to overcome?
“Coolest thing was to hear the first time Grace was played on the radio, because of lockdown we were unable to get together to listen, but we both tuned in and called each other straight afterwards. We never get tired of hearing our name mentioned, it means so so much to us!”
“Unfortunately, we are yet to celebrate the release of our EP with everyone involved due to current restrictions. The biggest problem we are still to overcome is Mick having a heart attack recently, he is doing really well, getting stronger every day and itching to get back in the studio as music is his therapy! He’s in his own studio every day working on building himself back to vocal performance fitness in readiness for our tour!”
What do you enjoy most as a musician?
“Being able to create and getting a buzz from others’ reactions when they hear what we have done. Being out there with our videos and showing that as a musician you don’t have to take yourself too seriously!”
What artists are getting you excited at the moment?
“There are so many fantastic talents out there and there is a really massive indie revival which is reflected in a tightknit community on social media which is amazing! It is great to have the support of such talented artists. If I had to pick a few, we love Fendahlene, Postindustrial Poets, Pinstripes and Monk a Tonk.”
What’s your favourite song from the Cool Top 20?
“At the moment ‘When We Were Bodies‘ by Postindustrial Poets.”
What song would you like to add as a bonus track and why?
“Anything by Fendahlene because we love the vocals and can see similarities between them and us. We would love to gig with them.”
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
“We just wanted to recognise that behind every band is a team of people that make it happen so we would like to recognise those people, especially our manager Melody Dawne who manages not only us but also our website and video production to name but a few things for us. Nick Endacott-Gibb at Wizard Audio, our producer and our wizard for bringing our ideas to life and to Violet ‘The Cannibal” Stow for getting us and putting down some awesome drums on all our songs! Without them we would not be where we are.”
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