INTERVIEW: Great State

Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Thanks for having us! Everything’s been great – we’re excited for what this year has to offer.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Arcadia”?

‘Arcadia’ is a head nod to the places, people, and moments that have deeply inspired you throughout your life. It’s the places where time seemingly stood still. It’s the people that make you feel weightless. It’s the moments you know you should cherish.

Did any event in particular inspired you to write this song?

The song wasn’t inspired by any event in particular, but rather a specific scene from Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. There’s an important scene about halfway through the novel where Gatsby meets Daisy in person again after five years. The meeting takes place in Nick Carraway’s house, Gatsby’s neighbor. In that moment, Gatsby’s long held dream is realized, time stands still, and everything is perfect. However, reality comes rushing back when he knocks over the infamous mantle-clock. The moment was over.

“If home is where the heart is then we belong right here; spaces all around us, clocks falling everywhere. If it’s love why should we care?”

The single comes off your new album Gatsby – what’s the story behind the title?

When I first started writing for Great States, I had just finished reading The Great Gatsby and was in this phase of my songwriting where I would take literary elements from the novel and super-impose them onto my own experiences with love and loss, friendship, superficiality, etc. Since Fitzgerald helped me so much throughout the writing for this album, I felt the name was appropriate.

That and I wanted to make up for the lousy book report I wrote back in 9th grade…

How was the recording and writing process?

Gatsby is certified, homegrown indie-DIY. We tracked most of the live instruments (drums, guitars, pianos, etc.) in the basement of the Center for the Arts at the University of New Mexico. A majority of the vocals and instrument over-dubs were done in a makeshift iso-booth in my home studio/office closet. The album was mixed and mastered in Chicago by some really cool dudes. We had a great time making it and we’re really proud of what we were able to accomplish on our own.

How has your constant traveling as a child influenced your music?

It gave me perspective and taught me to cherish the moment. Over the years, I think these traits have consistently kept me growing as a songwriter.

Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics? Are they all based on the book of the same name?

Not all the songs were inspired by the book; some of them stem from my connections with certain regions and towns around the United States. Our innate need for context and sense of place as humans is a huge theme that runs throughout the album. For example, there’s a song on the record called “Cordova, NM” that was wholly inspired by the small town of Cordova in northern New Mexico. Our bassist grew up there as a kid, and the song pays homage to the incredible beauty of that area. “Puget Sound, WA” and “Astoria, OR” are also good examples; both spawn from my deep connection with the Pacific Northwest.

Any plans to hit the road?

Definitely. We’re looking to fill up most of our 2016 with tour dates around the country.

At the moment, we have a couple performances in LA coming up very quickly – January 23rd at the NAMM Show in Anaheim, and January 24th at the Federal Bar in North Hollywood. Then in February we have our CD release show in Albuquerque, followed by a short, westward run back through Tempe/Phoenix, Los Angeles, and San Diego.

Jan 24  The Federal Bar  Los Angeles, CA
Feb 13  The Launchpad   Albuquerque, NM
Feb 16  Yucca Tap Room  Tempe, AZ
Feb 17  World Arts Stage via Periscope  Culver City, CA
Feb 19  The Mint  Los Angeles, CA
Feb 20  Gallagher’s  San Diego, CA

Apr 15 Flipside Lounge  Pocatello, ID

What else is happening next in Great States’ world?

  • Gatsby comes out January 29th, 2016.
  • Tour. Tour.
  • Fun time!

Watch here.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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