Grand Vapids Collect Their Anxiety to Create Music

When life feels shitty, do what Grand Vapids does. Embrace the darkness and make killer tunes.

The Athens, GA emo-garage quartet plays hazed out melodies and heartfelt lyrics that grew from real pain. Guitarist McKendrick Bearden was going through difficult depression while frontman Austin Harris was struggling after a breakup. Instead of letting the hard times bring them down, they used it to bring the band up and created their latest release Eat The Shadow.

Grand Vapids, “Glassing Out”

On Eat The Shadow, Grand Vapids uses harrowing guitar melodies to create a dark musical path that offers glimpses of light. Songs like “Radiant Black” veer into ritualistic vibes with chanting vocals and hypnotic drum beats. On others, the band churns through slow rhythms with guitar, synth and drums to create a bleak, yet hopeful atmosphere.

Read the entire interview with Grand Vapids below and check out their newest album Eat Your Shadow.

BTR: So Grand Vapids, where’d that come from?

AH: McKendrick came up with the name. Maybe it has a meaning or perhaps it just sounds good.

BTR: I hear a lot of different genres in here like grunge, garage, emo and, of course, rock—how do you describe your sound?

AH: That’s always a difficult question because everyone wants to shy away from categorizing their sound. I think we sound like a band who is distilling their influences and shedding the collective anxiety and setbacks of the past couple of years.

BTR: How do you think the band has evolved since its inception and how do you think it’ll develop in the future?

AH: The band has gone through a couple of line-up changes between our first record, Guarantees, and our most recent record, Eat the Shadow. I think we’ve gotten more comfortable with change and we’ve made an effort to challenge ourselves musically. There needs to be some element of chaos and uncertainty in order to continue to grow and develop as a band. I think we will continue to explore those ideas and I’m excited to find out what that looks like and see what we create.

BTR: Tell me about this most recent release—what’s your ideal response from your listeners?

McKendrick Bearden (MB): Well we recorded several iterations before we landed on the ones you now hear. I think the songs elicit a more immediate response compared to our first record. I just want people to feel eagerness and honesty.

BTR: What kind of life experience went into this album inspiration-wise and creative process-wise?

MB: A couple of us went through break ups while our original bassist left the band to pursue another project. I was in the midst of a spiraling depression and felt like I couldn’t write strong material so I ended up focusing on playing the best that I could to compliment Austin’s songs.

AH: We spent a lot of time demoing and recording different versions of these songs. The goal was to make a record that retained the excitement of the initial idea of the song and that felt immediate and kinetic.

BTR: What should we keep an eye out for in the future of Grand Vapids?

MB: Probably touring as much as we can and the beginnings of a new record.