Marie: Teo, tell me, how did Grandmother Corn come together as a band?
Teo: We started out as an acoustic duo in 2015. But then Rasmus (the bass player) joined in. After a year the lead singer Teo’s brothers Max (guitar) and Pan (harmonica) joined the band and soon after that Henri replaced the original drummer in the group.
Marie: You performed your single ‘Up To The Moon’. What was the recording process like? Who produced it and who engineered it?
Teo: Up to the Moon was recorded in Helsinki right after our first full band tour in UK. Like all of our recordings it was recorded completely in analog domain using only tape recorders. It was recorded and mixed by Mikko Kananoja. The track was produced by the band. The whole track was recorded in a single 12 hour recording sessions and mostly mixed the following night.
Marie: What is the single inspired by? What is the story behind it?
Teo: Musically the single was mostly inspired by the works of The Kinks, Elvis Costello’s first album and The Clash. Teo wrote the track on his holiday in London last December. The idea for the lyrics came from witnessing all the hustle around the upcoming anniversary of the Moon landing.
Marie: What is your writing process like? Is it a stream of consciousness type of writing, or is there a planned out theme underlining your music?
Teo: With every album there tends to be an underlying theme that connects the songs together. That being said mostly the songs talk about day to day life but in a slightly twisted fashion. At the moment (apart from two tracks) all the groups songs have been written by Teo. The writing is mostly stream of consciousness type. Most of the time the lyrics come first but almost always an idea for the melody is formed right away.
Marie: Where was the single written?
Teo: Up to the Moon was written while on holiday in London. It differs from all the other writing that was done for Grandmother Corn’s new album so that it came to Teo’s head fully formed with the lyrics, melody & all. Usually when this happens he tends to forget the song right away before writing it down but this time luckily the song stuck for the whole week before he got to his guitar and could make a demo recording of it.
Marie: Were you listening or watching anything in particular quite a bit during the recording and writing process?
Teo: The album The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society was a huge influence for writing the song. During the recording sessions the whole band listened to Elvis Costello’s My Aim Is True album quite a lot. The extremely dry soundscape of the mix was influenced also by The Strokes.
Marie: Is there a perfect scenario to listen to the single? What is the recommended listening experience?
Teo: Probably if you play Up to the Moon first thing in the morning it really does help you get out of the bed. Also we’d like to point out that for the best results you should play the song as loud as possible.
Marie: What would you like your music to inspire people to do?
Teo: If our music inspires other artists on their art then that would be quite amazing.
Marie: Tell me, who or what are your musical influences?
Teo: Big part of our influences come from 60’s British rock music. We are also influenced heavily by funk music and current garage rock scene. Really our goal on the new album was to feature all these influences. To have a melodic song played with a sort of punk energy and still have the band sound as tight and precise as the great funk groups we admire.
Marie: Tell me about your achievements so far as a band, and your plans?
Teo: 2019 has been really a successful year for us. We’ve had three tours in UK and on the last one we played in sold out venues in London and Bristol. On 29th of November we released our new album Don’t Look Back (which includes the single Up to the Moon as well). We had been working on that album for more or less a year so it was really the artistic high point of our career so far to have it out finally. Also the album was given five star review in Finland’s biggest national new paper just a week ago. In January the album will be out on vinyl and we’ll kick off a new tour in England on 14th of February with a show in London.
Marie: What else should we know about you? Any fun facts?
Teo: All of us are really into films. One of our mutual favourites is David Lynch. We do a lot of different stuff together as a band outside music as well. We play sports, go to movies & other people’s concerts etc.
All photos in this article are by Piers Murray Hill