Grace Vonderkuhn Interview and Gallery
Grace, from Wilmington, DE, recorded her first album straight to tape. Talent.
So first off, great set last night at 1984! It was my first time seeing a show there and you described it as “feeling like home”. I couldn’t agree more. Do you remember the first time you played there as a band? What was that like?
Grace - Ah yes, 1984 is a great spot. I think the first time I played there was two bands ago actually. It was probably the third or fourth bar I had ever played because I was newly 21. But we’ve had so many fun shows and memories there, it definitely has a special place in our hearts.
How would you describe the music scene in Wilmington, and Delaware in general? I personally think anywhere within a few hours of Philly, NYC, Baltimore, DC and more is a great place for a band to be. Have you ever lived somewhere else?
Grace - Wilmington has a cool scene and though it’s small, it’s actually bigger than you’d think. There are a lot of creative people making rad music here. It’s also a huge benefit to be close to several major cities, as you mentioned.
Your debut full-length record “Reveries” is out now on Egg Hunt Records. (and it’s SO GOOD). I read in an interview earlier this year that it was recorded straight to tape. How was that recording experience compared to recording digitally with your upcoming record?
Grace - Thank you! Recording to tape was really tedious and at the same time, really fun. Every final decision basically had to be made on the spot due to the nature of recording on tape. I love the warmth and the sound of it, too. Recording our upcoming record was fun in a different way because there are a world of options! It can be tough finalizing decisions though, paralyzed by choice as they say. I’m happy to report the recording portion is finished and we’re on to mixing, and making tons more decisions.
Touring can sometimes make or break a band, but meeting other bands on the road doing the same thing can be a great bonding experience with the right energy. Are there any bands that you’ve encountered while on tour that stick out in your mind? And why?
Grace - We’ve met so many wonderful people on tour! BRNDA in DC, lots of great Philly bands, Trash Boy, Full Bush, American Trappist, The Vernes. Gringo Star from Atlanta. Hunger Anthem from Athens. Tucker Riggleman in VA. Gloop from Baltimore. Oh man, the list goes on. It’s one of the greatest joys of touring.
When it comes to songwriting, do you find that the music or the lyrics come easier? Do you write alone and then bring it to your bandmates, or do you tend to write as a group?
Grace - As far as songwriting goes, every song has been different. I honestly couldn’t tell you whether music or lyrics come easier. It’s all a blur really and then a song appears. I usually write the songs and bring them to my band mates and they flesh out their parts. We may add or subtract things depending on the overall feel.
What’s on the docket for Grace Vonderkuhn for the fall of 2019, and early 2020? Anything specific the band is looking to cross off the bucket list?
Grace - We’re steady working on the new record! We all just got our passports in order, so we’d really love to do a Canadian tour soon.
What’s the origin story of that SWEET Fender Pink Paisley Telecaster? And while we’re here… how about the Hello Kitty guitar strap- is there a story there?
Grace - It’s funny because I’m so used to my guitar but new people sometimes get really stoked when I pull it out and I’m like, oh yeah, it’s a bit of a spectacle isn’t it? I had saved up for this new guitar as a teenager. It was a black, standard tele and I thought it was so cool (so emo), but it was stolen out of my practice space at the time. I was seriously bummed. I went to my local music store and the guy was like, you should try this one and handed me the pink, paisley tele. I was like yeah, yeah, it’s pink and I’m a girl. Whatever. But when I left the store, I couldn’t stop thinking about it! I was like, I’m going to reclaim pink and I’m going to buy that guitar. So I went back a week later with a big chunk of my savings and snatched it up. We’ve been together ever since. My hello kitty strap is just something I thought was fun when I was 16 and in the same vein of “I can like ‘girly’ things and shred, and I’m going to make it intimidating and serious.”
Is there anything you’d like to share? Maybe an upcoming show/tour, or release for the new record, or hey, maybe just your favorite band or album you’ve been digging?
We’re doing a few shows with Desert Sharks from NYC in the fall, which will be great. As far as what I’ve been listening to...Olivia Tremor Control has been in heavy rotation. I always like to think of them as if The Beatles had never broken up and kept doing psychedelics. So trippy but so pop forward. They’re awesome.
Keep up with Grace and her upcoming shows right here!