Meet von Grey, four sisters making beautiful music. We chatted with Annika (violin, banjo, guitar, keys) about what it’s like to do what you love most with the people you love most and why they’ve been dubbed “Mumford & Daughters.” Find out what the buzz is all about and keep an eye out for their EP, Awakening, debuting January 21!
How did you and your sisters get started in music? When was it that you decided you wanted to start a band?
It was kind of our parents’ idea to develop brain development and mathematical skills, so that’s why we started playing classical music originally, but we loved it and played together and, you know, our goal was actually originally to be a classical quartet. Our parents taught us to appreciate music and we were eager to be able to play music and I think eventually it was a little closer to what we did listen to so probably four years ago we decided to kind of trade the classical for guitar or keyboards and other stuff. It’s been a slow progression but we love it.
Being in a band with your three sisters, is there ever a time that there’s some sibling rivalry or you argue; or do things stay relatively peaceful?
I mean we are sisters so obviously I think like every other group of siblings, regardless of whether or not they’re in a band, I mean we fight sometimes, but we’re also trying to make this a professional career so we’re treating it like a job… so we put all that stuff aside. Because fighting over a pair of boots is not quite as important as putting on a good show.
Ok, good! Do you guys write all of your own music? Is there one of you who writes more, or is it really collaborative?
I think we all listen to pretty much the same music and we all want to create the same kind of music so when it comes down to creative vision, it’s a democratic process. But Fiona and I, who are the two middle sisters in the band, write all of the music, so we perform mostly originals but if we do a cover song it’s usually just a cover we love and we think the audience will like.
What artists influenced you? Do you all have similar tastes? We all really love The Talking Heads, Stevie Wonder, Crowded House and stuff so there are a couple artists that are like staples for us and then these days we also listen to more alternative music…And I love the more contemporary, especially in the electronic world. Because that’s something that we’re kinda trying too—we’re not trying to be like a dance band or an electronic band but we wanna incorporate some of those elements so we listen to that just for some inspiration.
Tell us a little bit about your new album.
It’s not really a change in our sound, it’s more of a progression in what we’ve been doing. This one’s a little more synthetic instrumentally, but song wise, I mean, we tried to make it really personal songs and there’s not that many relationship songs on it. It’s more just kind of introverted, you know, thinking of ourselves, self reflective songs on it… we wanted to do something a little more upbeat and uplifting.
Do you have a favorite song on the album?
“My Reflection” which is the last song on the track listing, just because it does incorporate some of the sound I was talking about and lyrically it’s inspired by myself .
What’s your favorite part or being on tour?
I think that my favorite part, and I think the four of us have this in common, is the shows and getting to play in front of different audiences… a lot of them come from different demographics or if we play like a college town each university has its own kind of attitude so it’s really interesting to kind of see how it changes, you know? And it’s also nice to be able to travel and to get to know the city because I don’t know if I’d have the opportunity to see so much of the country.
Besides the new album, what’s next for the band?
Just trying to continue to grow as musicians and songwriters—I mean we’re pretty young so I think that we’ve worked really hard to make sure we can play our instruments and we’re all really confident in what we’re doing. But we still have a lot of room to grow creatively, but also just to evolve as people and in our careers and in our lives… to continue to make music that is fun and inspiring to us and hopefully meet people along the way that connect to it as well— that’s the main goal.
Most likely to be running late: probably me. I’m not always the most organized…
Most likely to be wearing her headphones constantly: Petra, the youngest one— she listens to music all the time.
Night Owl: that would be me again
Neatest/most organized: Fiona. She does all the tour managing stuff for us.
Least organized: Probably me again.
Jokester/prankster: Petra, I think… she likes to mess with us.
Serious one: Kathryn
Takes the longest to get ready: a tie between Kathryn and Petra. They tend to hold us up a little bit doing the hair stuff.