Having dusted themselves off from the haunted Victorian Coach-house in which they recorded last year’s Vitamin Easy EP, musical nomads Michael A Grammar have journeyed to the darkest depths of East Midlands’ underground to record Random Vision - the ferocious second installment in their dramatic series of 12” EP releases.
“Besides spending time searching for loopholes in immigration laws, suffering from insomnia and finishing degrees, we've spent the majority of our lives in a blacked out basement in Nottingham writing and recording this E.P.” tell the band of their kinetic energy. “It's been a ridiculous year!”
Michael A Grammar's Vitamin Easy melted minds, ears and hearts with its blissed-out, cavernous anthems and quickly lead to live appearances at The Great Escape, Dot To Dot festival, shows for Vice magazine, and a feature on Mary Ann Hobbs’ XFM Podcast. Initially formed around the duo consisting of childhood pals Frankie Mockett (Guitar, Vocals), and Joel Sayers (Guitar, Vocals) the band, now incorporating Daniel Ondieki (Bass) and John Davies (Drums) is set to shake its listeners to their very cores and truly establish Michael A Grammar as a fierce, fully-fledged axe-wielding unit with the release of Random Vision.
“Living together as a full band has given the sound of the new songs a less introverted, more live feel,” they say, giving a reason for one or two necessary recording modifications of their new dwellings; “We spent one night lobbing soundproofing from the 5th storey window of a derelict warehouse studio we once recorded in and squeezed it into our Ford KA before driving the little foam pit home and gluing it all to the walls of our basement,” the band reveal. “We were then able to record night and day.”
From the explosion of ‘Upstairs Downstairs’ anthemic chorus to the driving melody of 8-minute meandering closer ‘The Way You Move' Random Vision unveils its psychedelic sense of wonder. Recalling Boards of Canada’s mind-ensconcing atmospherics, The Beta Band had they been chowing down on Ritalin, or Broadcast (whose song ‘Michael A Grammar’ gives the band their name), the contrasts and strength of this band’s songwriting process is crystal clear.
“There isn’t a specific recipe we whip out to make the perfect broth,” they say. “Sometimes the songs stem from a single idea, or Joel or Frank will present a song which is then re-worked to embody all of our tastes. The difficult thing is, working as blind cooks in a kitchen with only your ears to taste; it's hard to know when too much thyme's gone in before you spoil supper.”
To truly articulate the sound in their heads, Michael A Grammar continue producing and recording all their music themselves without the need for an external producer. Frank adopts the mixing engineer role whilst Joel, Daniel, and John tune the sound to their collective ideas. From playing an analogue radio through guitar pick-ups wired through delay and reverb pedals, to positioning microphones around their new home capturing the strangest sounds they could find, all Random Vision’s recordings have been pushed together propelling the band beyond that of a straightforward guitar group, hurtling them towards a bright and busy future.
“We've been writing the third E.P and practicing our live set for future gigs. We've set up a new place to record so have been experimenting with new software and methods of recording.”
Clearly, wherever Michael A Grammar lay their licks, they never feel more at home. To call this standard shoegaze would be unfounded; British guitar music is set for a rebirth with its head held high looking up at the stars.