GRAND CASUAL Watch this space

Esperance rockers Grand Casual have just revealed their new single Spaced, and are celebrating the launch with a regional tour of WA along the state’s famous Coral Coast, with dates in Coral Bay, Exmouth, Monkey Mia, Shark Bay and Dongara through August. BRAYDEN EDWARDS caught up with frontman Kyron Smithson to find out how the trio were broadening their horizons both musically and lyrically on the track, and why they can’t wait to take it on the road.

Congrats on the release of your new single Spaced this month. Do you remember when you first came up with the tune and how was it different then to what we’re hearing today?

Spaced was written in June and July 2020. I recall it having a lounge bar, jazz type of vibe when it first came to life. Matt had been jamming with Joe’s old man, who plays guitar in a classic jazz style. Casual drums and some fresh chord progressions allowed me to add those effortless vocals. The track is a bit of a trip in that regard.

From that place it took on new dimensions when we headed into the studio with Andy Lawson, the guy has such an ability for sculpting lush soundscapes, and that’s exactly where the song headed, evolving to have this low fi atmospheric feel to it. Elements that I feel really added to this vibe were a change in a snare for the recording, Andy opting for drum hits that lose tightness, kind of spilling over to fill in space.

I also love the guitar effect used in the outro, a slicer effect I believe Matt called it. I remember asking him about it in the studio, to which he replied “I’ve used it in the jam room many times though you guys didn’t seem to like it.” Must have been the wrong end of the process I replied with a chuckle.

Were you deliberately going for a different kind of sound on this track, or did it reveal itself to you more naturally than that?

We rarely do anything deliberately, and up to this point, there has been little cohesion in genre regarding our releases. I think as a group were yet to decide whether that is entirely positive. Spaced grew organically, leaving us with a result the three of us are absolutely stoked with.

And how about lyrically? Did you also feel you were writing about things you hadn’t necessarily focused on before?

I have to agree here, lyrically it was terrain I was yet to tread. Generally, lyrics come very late into the writing process, I tend to write melodies first then allow the overall tone of the song to decide what it will be about. I wrote the lyrics for Spaced as the song was coming together, and they changed very little from that first writing to the finished product.

It was absolutely inspired by the break-in life that the pandemic required. I work in the music industry on the day to day, which can be a very mentally demanding job. A forced stop saw me drawn between procrastination, uncertainty and reflection, and the lyrics for Spaced sprung naturally from this state.

You’re celebrating the release with a tour across WA’s Coral Coast, what was it that made you want to take these songs to that corner of the state? It seems like a nice time of year for a trip up north!

A number of people had told us that Grand Casual would blow the roof off in Exmouth (our kind of crowd they say). Really we required no further motivation. We locked in our show at Froth Craft first and then built the tour around that, let the good times roll.

Being based in Esperance you’re no strangers to covering some ground to play a few shows. What’s the furthest you’ve ever driven for a gig? And what have been the highlights of being on the road together so far?

We’ve seen plenty of road time, though to be fair the vast majority of our gigs have been between the Goldfields, South West, and Metro. Our upcoming tour to the Midwest will see our furthest road trip to perform when we hit Froth Craft on Friday, August 6th. With everything I’ve heard about the venue I’ve gotta say I’m damn excited for that one.

Highlights for me generally swing to notable live shows, like Indi Bar in October 2020, Karnivool Support in October 2020, and Nannup Music Festival Tigerville set are all right up there. Grand Casual TV was a feature of our Nannup 2021 adventure. Joe bailed up multiple artists and punters running some interviews then cutting the footage to general hilarity. We hope to reinstate GC TV for the upcoming tour, shall be a good bit of fun.

What’s next for Grand Casual for the rest of year and beyond? Any more live shows or new music we can look forward to?

We have just released a show in Esperance with our good friends Car Park Social, Pat Chow and Freehand, called Saturday Night Jive at The Yacht Club. Last year the lineup featured C Social, Grand Casual, The Floors and The Little Lord Street Band. I’m loving that this one may become a yearly event.

We’re also just starting to work on a weekend of shows to take in Perth, Bunbury and Margaret River with the goal of a rowdy weekend away. It’s been a while since we have played a metro show, so we’re keen to get back amongst the city folk. We’re also recording a track for WAM’s “Demos from” series with the next project featuring artists from the Ngaanyatjarra Lands and Esperance, and along with that we have two fresh tracks set to release. Our work ethic is far from casual, expect that and more from us in the second half of 2021.