Philadelphia punk rock upstarts Good Graces are a very young group just beginning to cut their teeth in the sadomasochistic world of music. Everyone starts at the beginning, but some groups just have a bit more going for them out of the gate than the others.
After dropping a super solid eponymous 5 song EP, the four-piece, who reminds me of several wildly popular current indie-punk groups making waves these days, are looking to blast into 2013 with a burst of crunchy melodies and shredded vocals, and hopefully a record deal to come.
I got in touch with guitarist Justin Dehel to talk about the band’s formation, what they’ve managed to get themselves into thus far, and what their hopes are for the upcoming year.
G- Hi there and thank you very much for taking the time to speak with Live High Five! Introduce the members in the group… Who is everyone, what do they play, and where does everyone come from?
J- My name is Justin I play guitar. Aaron plays guitar and sings, Frankie plays drums, and Rob plays bass. We are all from Philadelphia.
G- How long has Good Graces been around and when did you first get started? Do you remember the moment that you really felt the group “click?”
J- Aaron and I played some shows in other bands and we always discussed how awesome a band would be if we did it. In the fall of 2011, we finally got some ideas together. This is the first band Aaron has sang for… As soon as I heard his voice, I knew we were onto something.
G- Do you currently have, or are you working on, any releases right now? When will you be heading back to the studio or on the road? Anything currently in the works?
J- We have five songs we are sitting on and are looking for a label to put them out. We recorded with Will Yip (Title Fight, Circa Survive). His time is limited these days, so we booked some time in the Spring to record our new ideas.
As far as the road goes, we are trying to work something out to visit Europe in late March… Since we book everything ourselves, we’re also trying to get some weekends going anywhere we can in the near future.
G- Can you tell us a bit about your tunes? Where did you find the inspiration to write your new material?
J- When we set out on this band, we just wanted to write songs that we would like and would listen to if we stumbled upon it. As far as lyrics go, we usually trade lines or ideas about things that have occurred in our lives thus far.
G- Do you have a favorite song you have ever written? Why?
J- My favorite song… is “Get Confident, Stupid.” It’s really fun to play… Short and to the point.
G- What is your writing process like, and who in the band typically comes up new music? Do you have a primary songwriter, or do you write music more organically through jamming during rehearsals?
J- Aaron is a machine. We usually have a few ideas that were constantly working on, sometimes we won’t have anything cooking that were too excited about. Then, out of nowhere, Aaron comes around with 2-3 songs already.
G- Can you give us a few examples of any bands or artists in particular that influence your style? Who do you typically like to listen to, and are there any acts you think we should know about?
J- We get compared to a lot of bands in this genre, which is certainly fair. Hot Water Music, Grade & bands of that ilk are some of my favorite bands. I’m all over the place with my music taste, but lately its been a lot of The Weakerthans, The Lawrence Arms, and Meek Mill.
We are from Philly and get to see and be friends with a lot of super talented bands like Heartwell, Restorations, Secret Plot To Destroy The Entire Universe, Rock Bottom and With Life In Mind.
G- Are there any bands or artists that you hope to share a bill with in the future?
J- I know they don’t play out often, but if we got to play with Kid Dynamite, I think my life would be complete.
G- What is the craziest or most memorable show that you have played to date? Where was it and what was it like?
J- As far as crazy, we are still working on getting people to hear us, so we haven’t had any crazy reactions yet. We are playing the Union Transfer this week and we’re all really stoked about it. It’s easily the nicest venue Philadelphia has ever seen. R5 does an awesome job with shows, and (are) now running this venue.
The most memorable show we’ve played thus far was over the summer with Kill Verona/Little League. They’re a band that is probably under the radar for most people outside of the city, but were a band that we would always go see. It was awesome to have things come full circle and be able to share a stage with them. Plus, they are all awesome dudes.
G- Lastly, what advice can you give some of the young, up and coming bands everywhere who want to make it in music, on the road, and as a professional musician?
J- It’s very hard to make it in this industry. There is a lot of hard work and butting of heads that you have to get through to make it to the other side. The main goal of our band is to write the best material we can and hope that people feel the songs and see where we are coming from. Most of all we want to enjoy the journey of where this band takes us.