Hailing from Montreal, Canada, The Grunions is a four-piece instrumental collective, fusing surf-jazz soundscapes with a notably classic reverb-drenched sound of the sixties. Comprised of Andrew Joncas (guitar), Jeremy Lear (bass) and Christian Ingelevics (drums) and Nick Teehan (saxophone and keys), The Grunions are quickly gaining attention through their highly rhythmic and lively performances and infectious tracks. Formed in April 2019, The Grunions started off strong, garnering a large following and subsequently impressive catalog of tracks. The band just finished recording their brand new singles “The Dark Comet Suite Part I & II” and “The Dark Comet Suite Part III” with recording engineer Pietro Amato and are swiftly working towards finishing their debut full-length album “Star Fish Prime” later this month.
“The Dark Comet Suite Part I & II” begins and ignites a faster pace and that notable spy-core energy level. The piece goes on to fill the room with that wholesome, united orchestral brightness, yet the journey pours through with various details and moments that lean back and forth between optimism and uncertainty. As an introduction to the artist, or simply a go-to whenever the evening needs a little instrumental ambiance to keep things moving, “The Dark Comet Suite Part I & II” is a dazzling release, from the performers of The Grunions that have a clear passion for musical creativity and expression on every level.
The first half of the project has a certain jazz-inspired air to it with the mysterious flickers of character and intention. Then during the latter half, in “The Dark Comet Suite Part III” the drums take on the role of a lead instrument, followed by guitar and the notable sax. Distortion joins the party, and rhythm takes things into a more energetic groove. What begins as a gentle, jazz-inspired, organic meeting of instrumental moments, uplifting, hopeful and genuine swiftly evolves into something slightly more complex and experimental while managing to effectively capture The Grunions’ authentic sixties-inspired sound.
The Grunions bring together the best of many worlds, leading with a clear understanding of what works in music, what connects and captivates an audience, but also fusing that with a desire to create freely and to express explosions of thought through music. As you get right towards the end, the experimental aspect pours through even more so, as multiple riffs and mind-boggling moments cascade around you, elevating the experience and creating something much more intense. If before you were floating through the moment at ease, there’s a certain sense of fastness or running to the composition that is “The Dark Comet Suite Part III”. At the end of this journey, and it helps showcase the band as more than musically capable. The Grunions are artistically purposeful and consistently interesting. We highly recommend experiencing all three parts of “The Dark Comet Suite” in a live setting, where The Grunions can truly show their instrumental ability and charisma.
Check out The Grunions’ IndieGoGo crowdfunding campaign, running until October 31st: igg.me/at/thegrunions.
Welcome to BuzzMusic The Grunions! We really enjoyed “The Dark Comet Suite Part I I & II”! How did the overall production of the track go?! Was it fairly easy to maintain this energy throughout the recording process?
We spent some time in pre-production just trying to figure out how to prepare the song for an album release. There are 3 parts in “The Dark Comet Suite” and when we play it live, it lasts over 15 minutes, so we decided to create a version that was half as long. By only keeping the essential elements we are able to get it to fit it on the two sides of a vinyl single which is only available as a perk on our crowdsourcing platform. Side “A” is titled “The Dark Comet Suite Part I and II”, while the “B” side is titled “The Dark Comet Suite Part III” (each side only having room for 4 minutes or less) We were inspired by Duke Ellington, he pioneered the idea of dividing an extended composition onto two sides of a single with “Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue” in 1937.
We are primarily a live band; that is why we decided to record the bed tracks live, together as a band! It’s the best way to maintain the energy people are used to hearing when they see us live! Often people record one instrument at a time, it allows for more precision and more freedom to manipulate each track without running into any trouble with the sound, such as “mic bleed”. (That’s when a microphone picks up more than what was intended if you move your tracks around while editing, you wind up with ghost sounds on the final mix.) All it took were five takes and we had what we needed to move on to record the various overdubs (i.e.: percussion, lead guitar, organ, and saxophone).
Finding the right studio and engineer to fit our budget and the needs for a “live off the floor” recording can be daunting, but luckily the very talented Pietro Amato was able to fit us in his busy schedule at “Skybarn Studio” for one day on September 14th, 2019. I have known Pietro since we studied music together at university. Over the years he has helped me record several projects and I knew he would be a great match for the “The Grunions”. His expertise helped us realize the true voice of the band in a studio environment, which is not always easy.
Getting everyone crammed into a confined space for the better part of a day can be unpredictable as well as disastrous, but the energy and good humor of the whole team involved lead to one of the best experiences I have ever had in the studio!
We’re always curious to learn more about how bands form! How did The Grunions officially come to fruition? Did you know the other band members prior to creating the band?
Jeremy (bass) and I (guitar) had known each other for a little over a year. We were playing in another surf band together and we got along great. At some point, the band was in between drummers and we had a sub sit in for a show. The drummer of the other band we were playing with was Christian. After hearing us play Christian expressed interest in playing with our band, and he joined almost immediately. Eventually, the project the three of us were folded, and we really wanted to keep making music together. Christian recommended Nick (sax, keys), a friend he met while studying music at Humber College. The rest is history as they say.
Who has had the biggest influence on your life musically thus far? Can you describe the impact this particular individual has had in terms of your new song “The Dark Comet Suite Part I, II & III”?
The biggest influence?! That’s a whopper of a question! We’ve all had so many teachers, and listened to so many styles of music that it’s really hard to distill it down to one biggest influence. As far as having an influence on our new song; I have to admit, that many of us in the band are big fans of Frank Zappa, and you can definitely hear his influence on “The Dark Comet Suite”. Zappa had a distinct way of juxtaposing styles and creating compositions with many movements. He also had once professed that he wouldn’t have started writing lyrics for his compositions if it weren’t for the fact that instrumental music wasn’t commercially viable at the time.
What are some of your ultimate goals as a group? Are any of these goals currently being put into place/being worked on?
Recording the “The Dark Comet Suite” was the first step in achieving our goal of recording our first album “Star Fish Prime“. We’ve just launched a crowdsourcing campaign on IndieGoGo to help cover some of the costs, and hopefully, the record will help us get more shows, popularity and sync deals. In the end, the ultimate goal is to have fun while playing live! We hope that every achievement allows us more opportunities to write and play music together!
It was great having you here on BuzzMusic! Tell us more about what's next for you after this song release? Any shows in the near future?
After the release, we will be focusing on recording the rest of our songs and fulfilling some of the rewards from our IndieGoGo campaign. We have some interesting perks that are really fun! One, in particular, is that the band will record a demo of your favorite song in the style of “The Grunions”, and another one is to have your portrait drawn by a member of the band; The Grunion doing the drawing will be randomly selected for each pledge but it’s important to note, only two of us have actually attended art school. The next bookings will be at L’Escalier (552 Ste-Catherine east) in Montreal, we have 3 shows booked (Jan. 29, Feb. 26 and May 3rd) and maybe someone will choose the perk that will allow them to come up on stage and play a song with the band at one of these shows! No experience required! ;)