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Though their name may be reminiscent of vulture fixings and phantom singers, the long-haired Florida boys of Roadkill Ghost Choir are far from the gloomy spectres their name suggests. Inexhaustible jokesters would be a shortcoming if you had to define these Atlantic coast dudes. Despite their cheery attitudes, Roadkill Ghost Choir has a unique way of mixing twangy guitar melodies, simplistic percussions, and wonderfully shaky vocals to create a style oaf folk rock that is both haunting yet entrancing. Comprised of Kiffy Myer, Stephen Garza, Joey Davoli, and brothers Andrew, Zach and Max Shepard, Roadkill Ghost Choir popped in on the Grooveshark office and delighted the Sharks with an intimate set in our studio. We spent some extra time after the set and found out more about the guys, friends, and brothers that make up the voice of the Roadkill Ghost Choir.
GS: How was the process of putting your first E.P. together?
RKGH: . The Process was an interesting one. When we first started recording back in July 2011 we were pretty much a different band. We had only been around for about 6-7 months at that point and we were incredibly naive to recording as a band. After our first recording session we took some time to sort of evaluate what we had produced and where we were heading. That made a big difference in the end. In this time period we became aware of the direction we wanted to take the band. We went back into studio and recorded another group of songs that we felt were a lot better than the first go around. Overall, it was incredibly fun and a great learning experience for us on how to utilize a studio. It was also stressful and had those moments of pure madness but the good outweighs the bad. GS: You guys have an extensive east coast tour coming up, the largest you’ve done so far, how are you feeling about it?
RKGH: This will be our first real tour. It brings an array of emotions. I am mostly excited to be going out and playing pretty much every night for 2-3 weeks but there is also the parking. I hate parking in cities. We’re all kind of terrified of driving in NY. I’ll miss my bed and sleeping for a solid 8+ hours but it’ll be worth it. GS: With 3 brothers in a band, does it feel like there’s ever sibling rivalry?
RKGH: We are all slackers. So, motivation doesn’t come easy. Actually, when it comes to playing and recording we usually get pretty excited and don’t need too much motivation to prop us up on stage. Having brothers in the band is an interesting dynamic. We get along pretty well but we’re looking forward to having our Gallagher Bros. meltdown on stage. That’ll be fun.
GS: What albums can you say defined you as people/musicians?
RKGH: For me, Kid A by Radiohead. The first time I heard the opening of “Everything In Its Right Place” I was forever hooked. Yankee Hotel Foxtrot by Wilco is a pretty important record to all of us in the band. Everything about that record is just so strange and continuously relevant. Everything Gram Parsons has touched. Of course, Bob Dylan. Good Ole Bobby D.
GS: Roadkill Ghost Choir is kind of a heavy name for an indie folk-rock band. Where did you come up with that name?
RKGH: We’ve never really mastered the dark arts and the black magiks so we don’t commune with or for those poor lost animal souls. Maybe one day our hearts will grow black enough to perform such an exhausting feat of pure evil wizardry. Garza came up with the name before he joined the band. He was planning on using it in another folk band. We liked the name so we made him give it to us. We did not ask politely. We almost recently changed it because of some stupid reasons and that might have been a huge mistake. Who knows. I for one, like the name Roadkill Ghost Choir and so does everyone else in the world. No one on this small blue dot has a negative thing to say about us. That’s mostly because most of the worlds population has no clue who we are. GS: What is something you want listeners to know about RKGC?
RKGH: We’re all pretty awkward so please, forgive us if we make things slightly uncomfortable. We mean well, really.
It’s the first day of the loveliest month of the year and we have something that is sure to put a smile on your face. Grooveshark for your devices now gives you the option to Collect and Favorite. Add any song to your online music library just by clicking the check mark, or save your Favorites by selecting the heart. Head to Grooveshark.com right now on your mobile browser and check it out!
While he may not look like the kind of guy you bring home to mama, don’t be fooled by Blaudzun’s dark hair and brooding profile. Entwining poetry, thoughtful perspective, and whimsical melodies, the music of this Dutch singer-songwriter can make even morticians feel warm and fuzzy inside. Blaudzun’s latest album, Heavy Flowers, has been a success throughout Europe and has earned him a nomination as Best Male Artist and Best Album from the Edison Music Awards. The first single from the album, Elephants has just started to work its magic in the States and we wanted to make sure we gave the Grooveshark readers and listeners a heads up on this Tastemaker. Just an hour before doing a televised performance in Belgium, Blaudzun hopped on the horn with Grooveshark and gave us the inside details on what we can expect from him this 2013 year when he makes his way back to the US.
In regards to music, what have you been up to in 2012?
Mainly I have been busy touring in Europe since Heavy Flowers was released early January, mostly Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, and Switzerland. The album received very good reviews so it’s been a pretty busy year so far.
What are some of your influences?
I grew up listening to my parents’ music. It was all Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, country songs from Nashville, and Jesus hippie music. I was brought up in kind of a religious family so they didn’t play Beatles *laughs*, I had to discover them on my own in my teens. And of course David Bowie and Radiohead were also some of the things I grew up listening to.
How long have you been making music for?
Well I cannot recall not making music or singing. I think when I was five or six years old I discovered how to record your own voice on a cassette player so I haven’t stopped since then.
Are your parents musicians?
My mother played piano and my father played guitar and they performed a lot in church bands so there was always music in the house. Actually the instruments that me and my brother use when we write songs and when we are on stage are actually the instruments that we used when we were kids.
Why did you choose the singer-songwriter route rather than with a full band.
Well I label myself as a singer songwriter but I came from a band history and played in many different bands. In the end I decided to start on my own and strip my songs from all the electrical stuff and the loudness that comes with playing in bands.
Your name is Johannes Sigmond, but your moniker Blaudzun. Where does that come from?
I am a big cycling fan, I go to races and the big tours like the Tour de France and I think it was like in 2006 or ‘07 when I was recording my first EP. I was reading about a cycling racer in the 70s by the same name and I just fell in love with the name Blaudzun. The name isn’t a tribute or anything, I just like how it sounds and looks.
What was the inspiration behind your last album, Heavy Flowers?
Well I think most of my songs are about love and about broken hearts. There’s always an element of hope entwined in. I always liked the sight of flowers at their peak and then the image as their heads become more and more heavy just before they die. It’s kind of like a marvelous meltdown. It’s just like people, we rise and then at the peak of our prime or bloom we crack and fall. It’s a beautiful decay and that’s kind of what heavy flowers is about.
Your first single off of Heavy Flowers, Elephants, you mention a girl that attempts to encourage these large mammals to sing. Is this song about a particular person and is Elephants a metaphor for something else?
Well it’s hard for a songwriter to explain his own music but there are quite a lot of metaphors in that song. To me it is kind of like a dream, a weird dream where I imagine myself hanging out with this girl. A beautiful and perhaps a bit dangerous wise sexy woman, and you can call her lady history. Actually, she is human history, she is the one who has seen it all, with all its horrific and also beautiful chapters. And I imagine what it is like to talk and hang out with this woman, maybe make love to her and get drunk together. And then find out about what human history is about and maybe understand myself a little bit more.
What projects do you have coming up in 2013 for our Grooveshark readers and listeners to look forward to?
I will tour both Europe and the US this year and I guess spend a few weeks writing songs in Spain. Working, on my new album but there is no hurry about that. But touring is what I’ll do mostly this year.
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