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INTERVIEW: ANTI RECORDING ARTIST HIGH PULP

Updated: Dec 12, 2022



ANTI recording artist HIGH PULP will be opening up for JARED MATSON at MOTR on Saturday May 7th in support of a national tour that kicked off in the Pacific Northwest environs of Seattle, WA. This is where bandleader, drummer and label owner Bobby Granfelt resides and also where Granfelt has grown and curated quite the, “quasi-artists residency-label-musical collective-community” that revolves around his band HIGH PULP. A musical outfit, which brandishes it’s own fusion of influences, to create something dynamic, groove oriented and entirely original.


DISCLAIMER: Bobby and your humble narrator go “way back.” His local DIY non-profit record label BIG BLDG RCRDS was instrumental in releasing a number of local, indie artist's tunes, including a musical project of my own (WESTERN HAUNTS, Google it kids 😉). So it only felt right, to sit down with Bobby and pick is brains about his awesome band, their tour and the band’s expectations for their first visit to Cincinnati…


INHAILER: Bobby, we met in Seattle via BIG BLDG RCRDS and a music festival you helped to curate called BIG BLDG BASH, which is still one of the best grassroots, community driven music events I’ve ever been a part of. Was that your first foray into music community building?


BOBBY: Community and music have really, always been hand in hand for me. A handful of us in the band grew up in the greater Seattle DIY/all ages scene which was really based on making friends with other bands, going to each other’s shows, and building something together from the ground up. BBR/BBB was an extension of that mentality and it showed me what can happen when you pool your resources and work together.


INHAILER: OK, so tell me, is HIGH PULP best categorized as an Artist Collective?? Band?? Family?? How does High Pulp work and talk to me about how Seattle based music venue The Royal Room has played a role in the band and your community building?


BOBBY: Family. It works like a family. We love each other like a family, we fight like a family, we are honest with each other like a family. It’s arduous at times, but it’s a bend and don’t break mentality. We don’t always take the path of least resistance, and I think that is how we’re able to find new territory. We will follow a rabbit-hole idea for hours, and then decide it wasn’t a good idea and throw it away. It’s hard to create that sort of ego-less space if you’re not a family,if you don’t have trust in the process. The Royal Room for us is home, ground zero. It’s where we played our first show. It’s where we held a residency for years. We found inspiration in seeing cats like Dave King and Tim Berne, Sput Searight and Tigran Hamasayan. We made friendships there that last to this day.


JAKE: Is HIGH PULP a quote-unquote “Seattle” band? How would you characterize your audience reception locally vs nationally? Do you feel like HIGH PULP “fits” in Seattle? Is there really such a thing as a “Seattle music scene” or is it more nebulous?


BOBBY: Hell yeah we’re a Seattle band. We are gonna rep Seattle any and everywhere we go. That being said, it’s our own take on Seattle. It’s part punk/DIY but also, like I said above, Columbia City (Seattle neighborhood) and The Royal Room. It’s inspiration from Shabazz Palaces, Lake Washington, and Musashis. The Hummingbird, East Street, and Alki. You know what I mean? It’s our own flavor, it’s not what you expect. Because of that, to be honest, it was a bit of grind to catch on in Seattle. We had to play smart and be intentional, and even then, it feels like we don’t fit in exactly. We’ve learned to embrace that though, it’s sort of freeing to be on an island. The people that are riding for us are there because they like what we’re doing, not because it’s a place to see and be seen. I like that energy. They’re here for the art.



INHAILER: Talk about ANTI. Your relationship, it’s inception and their support. How have things changed, or, have they changed at all since signing with the label?


BOBBY: ANTI has opened things up for us a lot. We knew we had something that, if given the opportunity to get a wider reach, it could grow. Since getting with the label we’ve seen our audience growing and we just want to keep taking it as far as we can. It’s been a blessing working with a team of people that have all this experience, and it’s allowed us to focus more on the art and less on the business stuff.


INHAILER: OK, so now you’re on a pretty extensive national tour. What’s been different about touring right now? How does HIGH PULP tour and in a pandemic no less?


BOBBY: We tour 9 deep, in a King County, (WA) short bus (lol). It’s close quarters, but again, we’re a family. Touring feels pretty similar to the way it was before the pandemic.


INHAILER: What’s playing in the tour van, I mean, bus?


BOBBY: A mixture of games - Metroid Dread. Pokémon Diamond. Magic The Gathering. Breath of the Wild. AND music - Miles Davis Second Quintet, Nipsey Hustle, Bach, Talking Heads, Monk, Wayne Shorter, Stereolab, Vince Staples, Guided By Voices, Pink Siifu, Sam Gendel, Aphex Twin, Galcher Lustwerk, KeiyaA… List goes on.


INHAILER: New single. I get MAJOR Tortoise positive vibes. Any resonance there? Other influences? How has the band’s sound progressed since it’s earliest releases?


BOBBY: It’s so funny you mention that, we’ve been listening to TNT a lot lately. That being said, we didn’t really listen to them much before everyone kept mentioning them to us. Jeff Parker is an inspiration on many levels and any comparison is taken with a lot of humility.


Our sound has progressed over the years in a natural way. There was never a conscious “let’s change our sound” moment, but rather a “oh this feels good, let’s see where this goes”. Pursuit of Ends was entirely recorded during the pandemic, and all the songs were done remote. Previously we had always written and recorded as a full band, in the same room. Doing things remotely allowed us to get a whole new perspective on our music and to be incredibly intentional with our compositions and our takes.



INHAILER: What do you know about Cincinnati?


BOBBY: We don’t know anything! I heard it’s a cool cross between the Midwest and the South though? Sounds cool. I know Ken Griffey Jr got traded from the Mariners to the Reds and I’m still sad about it.


INHAILER: What do you wanna know?


BOBBY: Best record store, best restaurant, best jazz jam.


INHAILER: MOTR isn’t a huge stage/venue. Can you speak to the BIG band SMALL stage logistical dilemma?


BOBBY: Big band small stage is just back to BIG BLDG BASH (Seattle based DIY music festival)! Growing up in the DIY world we would see bands just playing on the floor all the time. That stuff was cool to me. It’s an attitude, to sorta be like “ok whatever, we’re not here for the stage or the looks or anything, we’re here to play music.” Flexibility and improvisation are foundational parts of our music, so we can take that mentality to every other aspect of being in the band, and even to our lives in general.


INHAILER: What should audiences expect when going to see HIGH PULP live?


BOBBY: If you come see us live, you’ll see a full stage of musicians having a conversation. You’ll see us being vulnerable - chasing ideas and trying to find the freedom in the music. That energy hopefully bounces off of us, hits the crowd, bounces off of them, comes back to us, back and forth and back and forth.


In addition to catching HIGH PULP live at MOTR on Saturday May 7th, you can also hear tracks off of their latest release PURSUIT OF ENDS (OUT NOW on ANTI) spinning at INHAILER.COM on WEEKNIGHTS with Jake W-TH 7-11PM and on John Shiel’s THE TRUTH PARADE on Sunday nights.

More details on everything HIGH PULP at https://www.anti.com/artists/high-pulp/

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