Interview by Rogelio Cazares / Photos by Akasha Rabut
As Firefly Music Festival gets closer, we decided to have a little talk with New Orleans duo Generationals, who will perform on Sunday June 21 at the Lawn Stage. Of course we’ll be there, but we wanted to know how they felt days before this happened and ask them some very serious questions about politics. Their latest album ‘Alix‘ was released last year and they still have a couple of shows left. Check out our interview with Ted Joyner and Grant Widmer.
Are you currently where you thought you would be when you released your first album?
T: If I could travel back in time and tell myself that I’d still be getting to do music as a job, I would’ve have flipped out. I feel really really lucky to get to make music. The longer you get to do it, the more you want to accomplish. Like I guess, I get a little greedy. But I definitely often step back and remind myself of how lucky I am to get to do it all.
G: I never really had a 5-year plan or anything. The fact that we’re still here and still getting to put out music at all is surreal to me.
On your lastest album ‘Alix’, you worked with producer Richard Swift for the first time. How was the process of working with him? How did he helped you shape the songs from your album?
T: We KNEW of Swift but had really only met him in person maybe once before we got in the studio with him. So we didn’t know what to expect. But he’s really fun to work with. We brought in demos that were pretty developed so it was really about him helping us round out what was already there. None of the songs really got radically reshaped in the studio. When he heard what we brought in, he was just like, ‘I want to make these songs what they already are. I don’t need to re-write these with you.’ He helped further crystalize what the song ideas were to begin with, I think.
G: He’s such a musical person that he’s always finding ways to make everything better. It’s in his DNA. For that record, he was like the equivalent of hiring Patton Oswalt to make your comedy script better. He tightened all the bolts and added cool things in that I might never have thought of.
In a few days you will be performing at Dover’s Firefly Festival. How do you feel about playing at this festival. Is this your first time in Dover?
T: Can’t wait. Been looking forward to this one. We have friends who live not far from there so hopefully we’ll get to see some of them.
G: Been to Delaware a few times but never performed there, so it’s big. I have some family in Pennsylvania who are coming and I’m just really excited for it. It’s probably the biggest festival we’ve ever done.
Do you plan to hang out at the festival after you perform? Any acts you would like to see?
T: Yeah I’m going to watch Snoop if I can.
G: McCartney. Can’t pass this chance up.
How do fans generally react to your music when you perform on festivals? (especially fans who listen to you for the first time)
T: I think we go over well with first time listeners. We don’t play particularly challenging music. I think its easy enough to get into even if you haven’t heard it before. Especially if you’re outside and having a drink or whatever. But drink responsibly!
G: Our festival vibe is pretty approachable. These are the settings where you’re playing in front of a lot of people who have never heard you before and I welcome that atmosphere. I feel like we’re a pretty easy show to walk up to without having heard our whole catalogue.
What’s next for Generationals? Are you working on new music already?
T: We got off the road in April and we’ve taken a little break, and now we’re starting to pull together some demos to see what the next record will look like. We want to take a little more time with this one. So we don’t know just yet how its going to take shape. Or where we’re going to make it or how. We’re kind of right in the midst of trying to decide that for ourselves.
G: I think we have a board meeting coming up in a week or two to discuss that very thing. We’re always working on something, we just don’t have a set schedule yet.
I heard that the name Generationals came from a CNN coverage program of the presidential elections. Do you care about politics or not so much?
T: I follow politics. Its not a passion or anything. I try to keep reasonably well informed. Our music isn’t political. But we care about issues.
G: I ‘m not a bog CNN guy, I feel like cable news in general is corrosive, but yes, thats probably where we first consciously registered the word “generational” so that’s true. I follow politics, I read a lot of blogs and what have you. I stay pretty up on events.
If Generationals had the power of choosing the next president…who would you choose?
T: Amy Schumer.
G: Larry David. Schumer/David ’16.
What do you enjoy the most? Writing, recording, or performing?
T: I’ve always liked writing and recording more. But I’ve grown to enjoy touring and performing way more than I used to. Its probably more of a tie now. They’re also such different processes its hard to compare. Writing and recording are much more fun, for way less work. But for all the effort thats involved in touring, and the sort of grind that it can sometimes become, the pay off getting to play your songs in front of people is pretty huge. Hard to beat that.
G: Recording is really fun if you are confident in what you’re doing and you know you’ve got the goods. So, performing.
Can you tell us a band you would love to tour with?
T: Pearl Jam.
G: The reconstituted Nirvana with Lorde standing in for Kurt, from the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame induction. They would be opening for us.