Grady Strange has announced his debut full-length album, Getting Stranger, which is set for release on July 21st via Perpetual Doom. As part of the announcement, he’s answered a few questions with us shared a video for his new track “Karma’s A Gun,” premiering now on Indie88.
“Karma’s A Gun” is a gritty tune with catchy, grainy guitars and captivating, wailing vocals. The accompanying clip is inspired by Goodfellas and The Sopranos, following Strange as he takes some passionate phone calls, makes some plans at a restaurant, and even gets in fights with a meatball sub in hand.
“The song is about feeling helplessly frustrated with the system,” Strange explains. “It was recorded in my kitchen to a 4 track tape machine that I got secondhand from the owner of CBGBs for $15 at a garage sale. The video is heavily inspired by Goodfellas and The Sopranos, complete with meatball subs and a full mobster ‘hit’ scene.”
Watch the video for “Karma’s A Gun” and check out our interview with Grady Strange below.
Indie88: How do you think your sound has changed since your recent EP ‘Not Very Strange At All?’ Do you find yourself exploring similar themes?
My last EP was recorded by my friend Joel Jerome in a studio in his garage. So I was focusing solely on the performance and playing everything live with my drummer. Whereas I recorded and performed the whole new record by myself onto a 4 track tape machine and GarageBand at home. So that not only changes the sounds I’m getting but the process of recording for me. I just trusted Joel to get good sounds on the EP and only worried about my playing, and for the record I had to work really hard to find my own unique sounds. It also forced me to record every instrument separate and take my time, so I ended up focusing on the production for much longer. Months instead of days. I think the process made the songs sound more unique to my style, since I had to do it alone and got to spend more time with them. The themes and topics are similar. I’m never forcing myself to explore a certain new theme. It’s more so split up by the years I was writing the songs in. The EP reminds me of 2018 and 2019. And the album reminds me of how I was feeling in 2020. Some new topics and some showing a new perspective on an old topic.
Indie88: I love that the video is inspired by ‘The Sopranos’ and ‘Goodfellas,’ can you talk a little bit more about how you came up with the video?
Yes! I grew up with a very Italian grandpa who cooked a lot of big family meals, and he had a famous meatball. Delicious. His name was Fred DeCicco which I shouted out in the video. My family are all surfers and art lovers but dipped just a single toe into the world of guidos and guidettes because of our patriarch and his roots. After being gone from Jersey for a decade, I lost touch with that east coast Italian pride, but then in quarantine I watched the Sopranos and then rewatched all the classics like Goodfellas. When we finished I felt a big void in my life, and it was right around the time I was brainstorming some video ideas. This song was written about the system, but the heavy vengeful feeling of it fit well with a mobster storyline so I just ran with it. I wanted the styling and aesthetics of the Sopranos in the 90s in Jersey because it’s so nostalgic for me, but I wanted the direction and narrating aspect of Goodfellas because of how fun it is and how much it stands out. I talked to my friends like Ben Peterson who did the stunt scene and Kinsey D’Aquila who’s family owns the deli, and we bounced ideas and just did it.
Indie88: There’s a real gritty, retro sound on ‘Karma’s A Gun,’ are there some specific artists that you draw inspiration from?
Sonically I pull from everything from The Kinks to The B-52s to Beat Happening and more. All kinds of shit. I get really inspired by current artists who record themselves too. That makes me want to go get cool sounds in my room. This song specifically was inspired by some Black Sabbath and probably Ty Segall. Most of the sound is just thanks to the cassette recorder I use. It gets the sounds I want that we’re so hard to find before.
Indie88: Did you find that the pandemic affected your writing and recording process at all? If so, how?
The pandemic just shut off some outside distractions that usually stop me from spending a full sunny day inside recording. It made me follow through on some ideas because I had the time and needed something to do.
Indie88: What can we expect from the forthcoming album?
The album’s got a little bit a this, a little bit a that, a whole lot of me just trying my best to express myself and not let comparisons and doubt and my evil screen get in the way!