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Adam Granduciel

The War on Drugs

"I want to make sure that every time we get to experience that power and that feeling... that you're playing something on guitar that is new or feels explosive, and important. It's trying to channel all of the stuff you've loved, been influenced by, and trying to find something new."

Transcript

Adam G.:
Guitar playing is just like, there's no rules. There's no limits to what you can do and sounds you can make and ways to keep trying to find new sounds, you know?

Adam G.:
All the albums that turned you on to guitar playing and music when you're seven, eight, nine, 13, 14 years old. Anytime you pick up a guitar, like electric guitar, acoustic guitar, you just get to kind of channel all that love for all the different bands and artists that inspire you, you know?

Adam G.:
The first time ever playing electric guitar, I knew I needed one. I needed to feel that feeling again. My parents finally took me to the local music shop. There was like a Harmony. I forget what it's called, I thought it was Bobkat, but it's a two gold foil offset body. It was $99. I knew that was the guitar, but then we were trying to find something else, maybe something with a cheaper or whatever. Came back maybe a month later and it was still there. So they were like, "All right, let's get it." So it was that and then just some Marshall Solid State, 10 inch speaker amp, and that's all I needed. I don't think there's been a day that's gone by I haven't played guitar since.

Adam G.:
I didn't know if I wanted to write songs or get into recording, or do whatever. I just knew I just wanted to play the guitar again, you know? Then, the first time I played with a drummer or another bass player... You know, my friend got a bass. I was like, "Oh man, I can't wait until we can jam again on that E minor chord." It's like, hours of just playing two chords, the only two chords I knew.

Adam G.:
I didn't have really any interest in doing much beyond just playing guitar. For the first maybe seven or eight years that I played, I got a guitar and I was just obsessed with playing it and learning how to play, and just playing for myself, and like listening to music all the time. When I got my first digital 8-track, when I was like 20 and that's kind of when I started maybe writing, or not even writing as much as just putting some ideas down and then playing over those ideas. But I never played guitar so that I could be in a band. My love and interest of the guitar just kind of kept evolving over time, you know? And then eventually I got more into writing and recording and having fully formed ideas. I always just want to remain inspired by the guitar because I just feel like it's a lifetime of possibilities, you know?

Adam G.:
I think really from the beginning I probably have been playing Ernie Balls. Because I mean it's like a bright pink pack, you know? I was like, "Grab those strings." And I didn't know anything about tens or elevens or nines or eights or anything. I just, whatever was on that guitar I used and then I think I probably bought a pack and put them on. I don't even know if I knew how to put them on. That's just part of the whole learning processes, is getting your guitar and learning how it works.

Adam G.:
I always used elevens and I don't even really know why. I think maybe the way I play is like a little bit more conducive to a thicker gauge. It just felt like that was the size that made the most sense. It just sounded rich and I don't really do a ton of bending, you know? And I like to get kind of heavy sometimes. So it was the right gauge for me. But I've played guitars with nines and that's like a super fun thing, totally different thing.

Adam G.:
Being in the studio with other people has become for me, the most exciting thing. I love being in there by myself too and writing by myself in the studio, and having the time to just experiment. But I feel like once I have those blueprints of a song, getting in there with my friends is great. You just can't even try to control like where a song will go. You can control maybe the vibe, or wanting people to play it as if it's the first time, and not overthink the parts. Usually you just put the right people together and it can go anywhere. That's the most exciting part.

Adam G.:
I really enjoy making the records in the way that's a pretty loose organic way of writing and composing. Kind of experimenting on your way to the finished product, that writing in the studio and not feeling bound by like any right or wrong way to make a recording. But then once it comes time to tour or rehearse, it's just like, here's the blueprint of what we're going to do. Like there's a few loose ideas and this is the arrangement, but we're never really consciously trying to recreate or make it too different than what it is, you know? It's kind of, we just have the sound of the six of us is that moment. It doesn't have to be the same as on the record, but the sound that the six of us make, re-interpreting I think the way we make records is kind of where we've ended up. The goal is to try to find a way to like get in the studio and maybe write and make a record together in a way that it feels the most natural, you know?

Adam G.:
The fun part about being in the studio and overdubbing isn't any sort of quest for anything perfect. It's because it's fun. It's fun to keep uncovering new sounds and new layers of a song, or new little melodies that happen, or interplay between two instruments.

Adam G.:
You only get so many chances to be in the studio for a month with an amazing engineer in a great studio and all this cool gear. You know, it should be a fun process. I love being in the studio. It's your time. It's like your little idea and you kind of get to mangle it, any way you want.

Adam G.:
With the guitar, it's just every night on a show, everything's different and you just try to like make it all fit and find that special little moment. It's just like this continual kind of search for that feeling when all the guys on stage are in that same moment, and like make a little tweak to your board or your playing, or technique, or your sound or anything and it just like opens up new doors. And the song is kind of just the thing that you're trying to make new every night. It's kind of, your jumping off point.

Adam G.:
Back in the day when I started playing, the only way I would get to play with other people is if Jeff would call me and invite me over to play basketball. Because then I'd be like, "Oh well that's cool. I'll play basketball and then we'll probably end up jamming later." So for the record, I love playing basketball with Jeff, and I love jamming with him. It was like the only thing I wanted to do was get in that room with Jeff on drums and his dad on bass, and feel that energy and the power.

Adam G.:
Now it's like, I get to do that know 150, 200 times a year. I don't really take that for granted. So I want to like make sure every time you get to experience that power and that feeling of your best friends in your band that, you're playing something on the guitar that is new, or feels explosive and important. You know what I mean? Night to night or day to day, just picking up the guitar, it's trying to channel all the stuff you've loved and been influenced by. And then trying to find something new in there, every day.

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