JP had a chance to chat with G0! Magazine leading up to our gig at the Dogfish Head Brewery in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware on September 7. The article is included below.
Brooklyn-based bluegrass trio JP and the Gilberts burst onto the scene three years ago, bashing out air-tight and whiskey-strong songs about the essential American experience.
Frontman JP Gilbert answered a few questions for Go! Magazine ahead of their upcoming stop at Dogfish Head in Rehoboth on Sept. 7.
GM: Bluegrass is pretty big along the Eastern Shore; what’s it like being a bluegrass band in Brooklyn?
JP: The bluegrass scene in Brooklyn is surprisingly vibrant, and we’re happy to be a part of it. Bluegrass is a thing that we do, and we love to do it, and there are a lot of people in our community who do it incredibly well. We also do a wide variety of other things; music of the 1960s, old rock ‘n’ roll and psychedelia, are all very important to us.
GM: How did the members of the group get together?
JP: In a lot of ways, Brooklyn can be an extremely small town; everybody is connected to everyone else, and we met each other through mutual acquaintances; none of us came together specifically to play bluegrass or roots music of any kind. Alex and I met while playing in an avant math rock band called Abacus, which is unfortunately no longer together. Lily and I initially bonded over a shared love of circa-1980s heavy metal.
GM: Could you talk a little about the new record?
JP: For whatever reason, before we were even a proper band in a lot of ways, we were asked to do a record with the production team at SMT studios in Manhattan. These guys had just finished albums by Vampire Weekend, Sleigh Bells and Cults, and it was very flattering to be invited to work with them.
“Introducing…” is a snapshot of what, in retrospect, was a difficult but exciting time for all of us. I was going through a horrible divorce and I was drinking heavily, taking a lot of sleeping pills and smoking too much. It was a terrible time, but it was amazing to make this record in the middle of it.
GM: How is the group different on a live stage as opposed to inside a studio?
JP: We recorded the album live with six people, but three of them have since left the band. Now we travel as a trio — just Alex, Lily and myself. Each person in the band has had to stretch a bit to make this happen. We feel like we’ve found our own sound through doing this — a leaner, more psychedelic take on the old Americana and bluegrass tunes.
GM: What are you working on next?
JP: We’re really digging into the more cosmic side of Americana, but not so much the peace and love stuff that comes along with it — I mean, our new album will be called “All Your Dreams Can Go To Hell.” We’ll be playing a fair amount of the music from “Introducing…” at Dogfish, but be prepared for a preview of things to come.