Keeping The Thread – The Grand Gestures interview


As, hopefully you already know, the third Grand Gestures album ‘Third’ is officially released this Friday 19th December. It’s a worthy addition to the Grand Gestures canon and, having been fortunate enough to get a promo of the record, it’s was reviewed on the blog a few days ago.

Ahead of the record’s release, TGG main man Jan Burnett kindly gave up his time to discuss aspects of the new record and also take a look back at his musical year.

Rather than being a radical departure from the past albums Jan feels that ‘Third’ builds on the previous albums.

“I wanted to continue to explore creating moods and atmospheres, often chopping away rather a lot from the original piece.

‘Third’ once again adds to the range of singers who have contributed to Grand Gestures albums and Jan admits that it took a little while to pluck up the courage to add a particular Dundonian musical legend to the roster.

“I’ve been chatting to Gary Clark for a while, but only for this album did I feel I could ask him. I see the records as evolving where there is a thread, but it’s also changing. That goes for the music as well. Some of the music for ‘Third’ was recorded around the time of the debut, but didn’t quite fit, and in my mind, that keeps the thread.”

The different singers have always been integral to the Grand Gestures experience but that seemed to have been acknowledged more on this record. Not so, says Jan.

“I always have done so, it’s very much a 50/50 thing when it comes to the song writing. I think you’re noticing what comes up on your computer screen or CD player screen, which is down to the information typed in to the CD at the mastering stage.”

Jan always seems to be on the lookout for new singers for the Grand Gestures. If time, mortality and money were no object, he has a clear idea of who would appear on his dream Grand Gestures LP.

“Neil Tennant, Kylie and Chuck D. I’m sure they are all available and would love to record in my bathroom.”

It’s no coincidence that the three LPs have been recorded and released in under 3 years.

“I definitely pushed myself, in terms of time, but in a good way. Making a point of getting things done.

“I can’t not make music, but, and I think this is similar to writing, it comes in waves. The thing to do is recognize when the wave has arrived, and get it done, because there will be other times when you don’t have the notion, similar to writers block.”

It’s not an unheard of time to release a record in the week before Christmas but it does seems a little counter intuitive given that much of the country’s attention is focussed on end of year lists.

“Yep, I know, I find it quite funny, in a queer way. In the scale of things, whatever the time of year, The Grand Gestures is small fry, and would get lost anyhow. I was keen to have it in the third year, as there are plans for a release in 2015.

“There is also something happening on Christmas Day 2014, and there is a single for Valentines 2015, so it all kind of ties in.

“You’ll find us on a couple of nice playlists via Spotify over Christmas. Whatever you may think about Spotify, I see it as a nice advert and exposure. The week between Christmas and New Year is key for streaming because of new gadgets, so if there was ever a good time to be on those type of platforms, it’s this time of year.”

‘Third’ has been billed as the end of the trilogy but Jan has future plans for the Grand Gestures.

“There is a Happy Holidays album for next year. The most depressing Christmas record you’ve ever heard. I’m also compiling the remixes for 2016.

“There may, or may not, be a show in 2015. I’d like to, but it’s sorting the logistics, as I want it to be special.”

‘Third’ is out this Friday and you can get it here or, doubtless in select record stores.


In conclusion Jan looked back on 2014:

Your Own Music
What’s the one thing that went wrong in 2014 you’d like to fix?
Scratching our new bath with a microphone. you did ask.

What you gonna be doing next year?
Completing the next record by The Grand Gestures and doing something with Spare Snare (tease), it’s the 20th anniversary of the debut album.

Your own musical highlight of the year?
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo. I cried three times.

Favourite performance of the year?
Prince, Glasgow Hydro

3 LPs you’ve listened to the most in 2014?
Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds live at KCRW.
Bob Dylan, Complete basement tapes (at last!)
Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Inside The Pleasuredome, (beautiful box set reissue)

Best discovery in 2014?
That Idlewild have made a new record, and one of them is on my new record.

Who should we be looking out for in 2015?
The Calamity Horse album is out 2015, produced by someone rather well known. It’s going to be lovely.

Jan Burnett portrait by Graeme Ogston.

One Comment

  1. celie byrne says:

    Reblogged this on Celie Byrne.

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