By: Karli Rizzo

GrandyPhotoI sat down with one of Philly’s pioneering original bands, Grandy, where we discussed music, their upcoming album, cheese steaks, women and more. The band- vocalist and guitarist Matt Courchain, lead guitarist Laine Diaczuk, bass guitarist and vocalist Dan McHenry, and drummer Brandon Marsh- has been touring local Philly venues for nearly a year now. Grandy prefers to be known as four guys from Philadelphia playing the music they love. It is this very humble nature paired with musical prowess and stage presence, which draws one into their powerfully unique sound.  Determined to share their music, Grandy proves to be a steadfast presence among the ever-changing original music scene.  “I truly believe in Grandy’s talent, their music and their future-they write from their own experiences in life.” said Grandy’s manager, Heather Mae of HM Promotions.

Out On the Town: How have you improved since your first gig?

MATT: We focus on being as tight as possible, having good stage presence, and the maturity level of our writing has definitely been the biggest change for us. We try not to over think songs but like to fancy them up here and there too.

DAN: My first gig with the band was at the NorthStar Bar in Philly.  We’ve improved tremendously since then, the chemistry both physically and mentally that we’ve built with each other

OOT: Who came up with the name Grandy?

MATT: Grandy was never meant to be the band’s name. I was talking about my grandmother who had passed one day while on the phone with our old bassist/friend Gary. After hearing it he said we should name the band that. We were going to change it a couple times but its short sweet and meaningful.

OOT: What’s the strangest thing that’s happened to you guys during or after a show?

BRANDON: When we played the North Star Bar, they misspelled our name on the website as Grady. The actually band Grady, who had not played a show in years, showed up to North Star thinking they were playing and we had to tell them ourselves that we were playing.

DAN: One time after a Phillies game, some girl came up to me and asked “Are you with Grandy?” which was pretty awesome because that meant someone recognized me.  But it ended up that she only knew me because she wanted my friend who had been at some of our show. Does that count as a groupie?

OOT: Describe your fan base.

LAINE: Sexy women

MATT: Our fan base is just blue-collar people who work and go through the same bull as the rest of us; love, loss, life, happiness, all that jazz. I try to write so people can connect with our music but I also write very personally. I try not to hide anything.

OOT: Philadelphia is notoriously a difficult town to break through musically, what distinguishes Grandy from other local original bands?

MATT: We don’t overdo the guitar solos or have a load of flare. We keep things simple but musically talented. I like the idea of being able to talk to someone for an hour and walk on stage thinking I’m no different from them and vice versa. I like the idea of that.

BRANDON: What we do is add guitars solos, which you don’t find lately, and unique drum patterns, as well as, catchy vocals.

DAN: We pride ourselves in a great stage show and musical precision.  I lose at least five pounds every time we play from all of the energy that I exert.

OOT: What are the challenges Grandy faces, playing in a city like Philadelphia?

LAINE: All the cheese steaks

BRANDON: Obviously, creating a fan base. Playing shows on a Tuesday or Thursday night really doesn’t draw a crowd when most people work in the morning.

DAN: Having another band whose name is just one letter different than ours in the same city.

OOT:  How often are you in the studio rehearsing?

MATT: I rehearse every day. As a band anywhere from one to three times depending on our show schedule that week. We just keep getting more shows thanks to the lovely Heather Mae

DAN: We practice once or twice a week and then hold group calisthenics at least twice a week. We have to keep in shape.

HEATHER MAE: I manage a Rehearsal Studio in N.E. Philly called Branded Sound Studio. It’s a great place and has turned into a little community of multiple bands. Grandy has their own room which they can lock all their stuff in and come and go as they please.

OOT: What is the band working on now?

MATT: We’re discussing more business oriented things right now like merchandise, the album cover, how we want to sell the album, etc.

DAN: We’re waiting on our album to be completed and we’re continually writing new songs.  There’s also a Rubick’s Cube in our practice space that we’ve been trying to solve for at least a month now.  Those things are tough.

OOT: Are the songs based on fiction or reality?

MATT: I try and write as close to me as possible. It’s the only way I see a song working. There are so many bands that just bullshit their way the music, melody, and lyrics. I tend to over think everything, but if my hearts not in it, then I can’t do the song. I can’t lie like that. I connect so much more with songs written from the heart and I want that same connection with fans/friends.

OOT: Describe Grandy’s sound.

DAN: Bands are always out there trying to find the next new sound and then a thousand bands copy that once it’s successful.  I like to think that Grandy is reaching back to the music of the late 90’s and early 00’s when post-hardcore and dare I say “emo” was taking over.  It was the stuff that we grew up with and want to continue to watch thrive instead of all these bands out there these days with their tight jeans, brightly colored t-shirts, and their stupid haircuts.  It’s unfortunate that music has come to that, but Grandy is willing to buck those trends, except for tight jeans because they are quite comfortable, and melt your face off with our brand of rock.

OOT: Any upcoming gigs?

HEATHER MAE: MRoom 9/22, Whiskey Tango 9/25, Bootleggers 10/30 (Halloween show), Freddies Tavern 11/06, Kildares Manayunk 11/19

Check out Grandy on Facebook & Myspace for more information and upcoming shows. www.myspace.com/GrandyMusic and for local Original bands that are looking to play bootleggers, send me an e-mail at www.myspace.com/BootleggersWednesday

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