Every Monday we will be bringing you interviews with unsigned UK or Ireland artists for Independent Music Monday. Recently we caught up with Dan from unsigned band Grafton Ash to find out more…
Who is in the band, how did you meet, where are you from and how did you come up with the band name?
Dan Roberts (Vocals, Guitar) and Dan Blake (Vocals, Percussion) met in middle school in the Midlands. We became good mates through our mutual love of music at such a young age. We'd perform together in the music room growing up; nothing too serious back then, but after high school and college we reconnected and decided to start writing together!
We toyed with the name of the band for so long, never really happy with what we would come up with. Eventually we took the two street names we grew up on as kids and merged them together, Grafton Ash; it's pretty unique, also the handles were available on social media!
As we started recording, we soon realised we wanted a bigger sound than we could produce as a duo. So we roped in Stephen Ashford (Guitar); who we also went to school with, but we don't remember him...
Who were your musical influences when you were growing up and who are your influences now?
The 3 of us have had such a varied background of inspirations growing up. Roberts, is definitely an old soul; with James Taylor, Elton John and Jackson Browne all being a massive influence in his writing style. Blake has more of a modern approach, with his focus being very much in the pop genre and crediting Jason Mraz as a songwriting inspiration. Ashford is probably the most adaptable guitarist we've ever worked with. He has such a wide range of inspirations, he can just mould into any genre we try our hand at. He is a big lover of The Rolling Stones, Mumford & Sons and Ben Howard.
Collectively, we are always influenced by the likes of Zac Brown Band, Kodaline, Coldplay, The Killers, John Mayer, Kings of Leon, The Script...
How would you describe your sound?
This is always the trickiest question for us... We have grown so much; coming from a country influenced duo to rocking out with such a demanding electronic sound live. We have always said what we do is Pop, but one day we could walk into the studio with a country ballad, the next day, walk in a record a dance tune. I guess what keeps it all together and gives us the Grafton Ash sound is the powerful harmony driven vocals!
What is your latest release called and what was the influence behind it?
We recently released a single titled ' CIRCUITS'. It's probably our biggest leap in terms of sound into the electronic edge of our music. The track is essentially about mental health, our experience of it and the addictions we all face in modern society. This seemed to really hit home with us when we were writing and we're so happy it was the first release of the year. It's been so well received and a lot of people have been able to relate to it, so that's exactly what we were hoping for.
What’s your local music scene like?
Birmingham has always been great for us. We have a great fan base here and try and play as many shows as we can throughout the year! It has a great range of venues for every level of band and some great open mic type nights to get involved with. We've played the smallest of venues all the way up to the Arena Birmingham and no show, no matter the size, is ever a let down!
What do you have planned for the next 12 months? Any albums or festivals?
No talk of albums yet, but we will have a nice flow of singles being released over the next 12 months. We just want to get as much music out there at a nice consistency to keep us happy! We're currently in the studio writing and recording, so hoping it's not too long until we have the next single out there! Festivals... Yep! We have one announced at the minute, which is Lakefest. We can't wait!
Is there anyone you’d love to collaborate with?
I guess we'll be touching on the inspirations for this one. I know Zac Brown Band, John Mayer, Jason Mraz would all be high up on the list... But, we are currently looking at female artists to collaborate with on a track, so watch this space! In fact, we're really loving Billie Eilish at the minute... anyone got a contact for her?! She's incredible.
Any funny stories surrounding your live performances?
There are a lot of inside jokes that are thrown about from time to time, when we've said something stupid on stage. We don't let mistakes get forgotten easily either, so any bum notes or squeaky vocals always get mentioned! But the funniest thing that has happened live has to be the time we supported Dodie. Blake was half way through the obvious line of "Are we all excited for (the headline act)", when he completely bailed on pronouncing her name. You could then hear her on videos our team filmed where she was sat to the side of stage, saying "they've forgotten my name"... Still makes him cringe. Sorry Dodie!
What is the one thing that you want readers to know about you?
We want you to know that there's tons of new music on the way, with shows to announce soon also! Keep following and supporting us, you all make it worth while!