Grand Ultra are back! Dave speaks to guitarist Justin Larner about what it’s like to be back together after a four year haitus…
Dave: Thanks for giving up your time to speak to us, how you doing today?
Justin: Im doing great thanks. I’ve got a day off work so it’s nice to catch up on stuff.
You’ve come back from a 4 year hiatus, what made the band come back together and how did it happen?
Me and Gaz (drummer) never really lost contact and intially tried to continue with new projects after the hiatus. It didn’t amount to anything and then last year we felt the time was right to try again. Our singer (Joe Hill) was ready to try again but initially it was going to be a new band with a new bass player. After we had written a few songs they sounded exactly like what the old Grand Ultra would have sounded like if we had carried on. We got in contact with the bass player (Stu Wildey) and he was up for it as well so we started writing a new full 10 track album.
You brought your debut album out in the summer ‘Here We Are.’ What’s the response been like?
Everyone who’s heard it have been very positive. We had a track picked up by BBC introducing and Classic Rock magazine. We are a fully independant band and admittedly the promotion has been late and rushed but you live and you learn. We are all very proud of how it has come out and Im sure it will be as good and album in the years to come as i feel it is now.
What was it like writing and recording for ‘Here We Are’ with such a time period apart?
It felt we’d never been apart. We were all 4 years older with more experience and a better knowledge of the industry than we had before so things were if anyting a bit easier.
What was your process for writing songs?
A lot of the songs we wrote all together in the rehearsal room where I would bring some guitar parts in and Gaz would put his drums on it and we’d discuss each part as we went along seeing what felt right for all of us to go to next. The Lyrics and melodies were developed as we went along or added after and some as late as in the studio. There were no style limits so everything was on the table, even a little jazz style guitar part that became the basis for ‘No Friend of Mine’.
You include a wide range of influences how would you describe yourselves to people who haven’t of you?
This is probably the most difficult question for me to answer but I can only sum it up by saying ‘hard rock/metal’. Some people say straight up rock and roll, some say 80’s style metal. I think it’s probably a good things we can’t be pidgeon holed so easily as that means we are making something new.
You have got a few shows lined up from November- What can we expect from your live shows?
Live music played to the best of our ability. Songs from the new album, a few songs from our early period and a few choice covers from the golden eras of rock music (the 70’s and 80’s). we are looking to make our shows big as possible bearing in mind we’re not playing the arenas…yet.
What do you outside of performing?
We all work full time jobs to support the band in various factories and retail outlets. The usual things like haging out with friends, spending time with family, going to gigs and writing new music. Not very rock and roll in the traditional sense but it’s true. We’re just real people like everyone else.
Is Grand Ultra here to stay, or was this a one off reunion?
The plan is to stay. Writing is already underway for album number 2 and if you like ‘Here We Are’ then you should look forward to what’s coming next.
Is there anything else you would like to say to our readers?
Just that it’s more important than ever to support your live music scene and that people that make it happen. Take a chance on seeing a new band. If you like them buy some merch. Buy a drink even if you feel it’s too expensive. Venues are stuggling and even the one we launched our album in (The Greyhound – Beeston, Nottingham) has announced it is going to close down. There’s nothing more exciting than discovering new music so keep an open mind and look for it.
You can buy the new album ‘Here we are’ from http://grandultra.bigcartel.com/