Music, Featured

26th November 2023

Thalia’s Grace Interview

We did this interview in the basement of EBGB’s before the band’s set opening for Hollowbody on the 17th of November 2023. Thalia’s Grace are an all-girl band based right here in Liverpool releasing alternative rock inspired by Big Theif, Mitski and Wolf Alice. Their music features soft vocals backed by distorted guitar, harsher drums and basslines.

Let’s start with where the name comes from and how you ended up with the classical imagery in your work.

Lauren — Oh yeah, we should have googled it before we picked it.

Katie — We kind of chose the name, then chose the meaning afterwards.

Gracia — What we wanted to portray was all about femininity. We thought it would be a nice tie to a Greek goddess who is all about comedy and the arts. We thought it would be a nice tie to womanhood and more so really an old figure of womanhood.

Katie — The gods used to also call on the muses as well for inspiration.
Reese — (Jokingly) Yeah, and obviously we were just called on by the Gods to play music.

In terms of the artwork, have you committed to the classical imagery or are you going to switch it up?

Lauren — I think naturally we’ve leant into it because we all like nature as well.

Reese — We are kind of insane though and, I think, our imagery definitely changes with each song. 

Gracia — I think we do keep a figurehead with each single. For the first two singles, we had a statue figure as the artwork. Then we went into it being us on the cover not to tie ourselves into it, but to tie it to us.

Katie — Also I think with our single artwork we don’t want to be recognisable like the statue represents us but obviously wasn’t us.

Who are your biggest musical inspirations for your sound, and I guess also style or stage presence to make this question a little less generic?

Gracia — We’ve all got inspirations for our parts, but then I guess a few overarching ones as a band like Wolf Alice and Mitski. I guess overall just strong female artists, especially on the stage presence side of it. For drums, I would say I’m really inspired by Kings of Leon. I think their parts fit really nicely into the rest of the music. 

Katie — I do just think Wolf Alice. Guitar parts not so much but lyrically. Guitar-wise I would say just a mixture of what I listen to really. I kind of listen to a lot of acoustic stuff which isn’t really what I play, so actually I’m not sure where that fits in. 

Lauren — That’s fascinating because I think I’d say Big Thief and Angie McMahon. I don’t know, when you listen to us next to Big Thief, I don’t think you’d necessarily make a connection. Maybe with the song Love Love Love if you’ve heard that. But I also really like PJ Harvey.

Reese — You know what, I’d say my biggest inspiration both playing and writing would be Katie from Thalia’s Grace. I joined as a very new bassist and Katie’s classically trained and listens to all these rock influences, so my style of playing has come from Katie. That being said…

Katie — (Sarcastically) Aw no, come on, keep going!

Reese — Aside from Katie as wonderful as she is, I would say Mitski and just her performance style, how theatrical it is. I’m also a K-pop fan, with how much energy they have. There’s also a big difference in our music and performance, I think. Like we have Animal from The Muppets going absolutely crazy on the drums and I do not stand still. Then we have the most ethereal vocalist.

Lauren — I have realised watching videos of us, I’ve completely based how I perform off how PJ Harvey performs. Like very moody. 

Reese — So yeah, we have a complete divide between absolutely crazy and ethereal.

Gracia — Yeah, I think we have quite heavy drum and bass parts and pretty epic guitar lines. Then your vocals aren’t really, they’re definitely more haunting. So that’s represented in how we perform. 

This might be a harder question, but what’s everyone’s favourite song to perform, and what’s your favourite that you’ve released?

Lauren — I love it if you think It’s too late, I think the release of that. I think it’s my favourite release. To perform I’d say either Held or Comfort partly because of the audience response as well. Recently we’ve had such a lovely response from the audience. It’s nice to play something we wrote so long ago. Yet it’s still got that special place.

Gracia — I think Comfort is my favourite to perform it does hurt my hand, but it’s more challenging. I feel like you get such a buzz that it’s just going crazy. The production quality of Comfort is exactly what we wanted, which we’ve evolved through our previous releases. It really clicked on this, and we knew how we wanted to sound. 

Katie — I think recording-wise definitely Comfort I knew exactly how I wanted it to sound, especially the bridge in the last chorus. Live I think Keep Me Warm which is a new one, it just goes from quite floaty to really heavy quite quickly.

Reese — My favourite release is Held because it’s warm. I’ve recently re-kindled with it as a situationship/break-up song. It’s nice to find meaning and warmth through a song your friends wrote. It’s a bit embarrassing at the same time because I’m like damn but then oh damn that’s Lauren.

Katie — I think Held is also not written about that, it’s written about parental love.

Lauren — Yeah, like when I wrote it, it didn’t come from a specific situation. But it’s just so cool… People are hearing what we made and relate to what we wrote.

Reese — It was also my first song with the band, so it’s really special. My favourite live is Comfort as well, it’s just so high energy and most of the basslines we came up with on the day of recording. And it still develops every gig and there’s so much energy, I just love it.

Photo Credit: Flora Day

I feel like we need to address the elephant in the room, which is a new song that you guys released yesterday, The Flight. Talk to me about what writing/recording the song was like.

Lauren — So when we originally wrote this song. I remember Katie said we can’t do this, it’s too country. Then I was like wait a minute, see if you like it, and she waited a minute. Then it slowly worked its way into the set, and one day we just decided to play.

Katie — I think it’s a weird one meanings-wise, I don’t think any of us really know the meaning of it. Well, maybe Lauren knows what it’s about, she did write it.

LaurenYeah, I don’t really know what it’s about.

Gracia — Katie spilling soup?

Lauren — I remember because we started writing it in Gracia and Katie’s old kitchen. Originally, we were writing a song about Mabel’s story from the Netflix series ‘The House’. Then we decided we couldn’t do that, and then the flight. I think we used the chord pattern from that song. Katie spilt soup everywhere.

Katie — That’s such a fake story, I didn’t! Lauren was the one who made loads of mess in the kitchen and I said ‘I’ve never made this much mess in my life’ then that made it into the song.

Reese — You spilt the soup!?! 

Lauren — No, no, no I didn’t!

Reese — All this release cycle, she’s been saying that Katie spilt the soup. But you spilt it??

Gracia — That’s one of the major lines in it, ‘I’ve never made so much mess in my life’. So there’s not a super deep backstory to it, but it’s inspired by one of the nicest nights we’ve had as a band. Spending time together and making a silly moment fit into the maybe more serious elements of our music.

Reese —  I remember when Katie and Lauren brought it to rehearsal, normally they bring stuff, and we all develop it. The day they brought this one in was also the day they asked me to be in the band. Looking back it feels really sentimental, I’m actually really sentimental about every song. 

Lauren — The Flight and Comfort compared to Fairy Lights and Held are really different. Not just with production, but I think also with our style of playing. Like, I don’t think we’d write a song like Fairy Lights any more.

Katie — I think we just like higher energy stuff now because we never play it live anymore it just brings the energy down so quickly. 

Gracia — I do think as a pair with Held it works really nicely, it just doesn’t reflect what we want as a band anymore.

Lauren — It’s funny because Held was originally one of our heavier songs when we first started gigging now it’s obviously the softest one in the set.

I needed to include a Liverpool-based question, what do you love about performing in Liverpool?

Gracia —  I love the venue’s EBGBs we’ve performed 2 sold-out shows here that Reese put on, and it’s just a really special place.

Katie — A lot of nice bands, everyone’s just really lovely and looks out for each other. We’ve never played with a Band we don’t get on with.

Lauren — I’d say the scene as well, we’re lucky to be involved in such a big scene and a nice scene. Everyone’s just really supportive of each other, and no one’s really arrogant or competitive. 

Gracia — I think we’re also really lucky to have Where are the Girl bands?, I’m not sure if other places have so many people championing female music. I think it really evens the playing field and creates a network and women supporting women which is so important.

Lauren —  There’s just so much female talent in Liverpool not just musicians but producers, promoters, photographers you know. So many of the photographers we’ve worked with have been women. I think we would really love to do a full project with female producers and stuff, but that’s only 2% of all producers.

Gracia — It’s nice to have that network and that dialogue as well because I think sometimes they don’t understand the experience, and you don’t get the same outcome. Like, I’ve been asked what it’s like being a female drummer and from the right person it can be interesting, but sometimes it’s just really frustrating because female musicians are just musicians.

Katie — I mean, we had to work hard to find a female bassist and went through two men before we got Reese. They were great, but just didn’t work.

Gracia —  I think our band represents feminity, and there was a bit of discord about what it was we wanted every member to understand that.

Reese — I think we’re such an anomaly being an all-female band and not just having one member that’s a woman. We think it shouldn’t be that way like we shouldn’t be an anomaly. Sorry back to your question I love the history of music in Liverpool one of my favourite bands has performed here Japanese Breakfast and then we’re performing here as well so it’s so cool.

Photo Credit: Flora Day

So my favourite song of yours is Held, what is it like writing and performing songs that are so personal?

Lauren —  When I first wrote held it was originally on piano, sometimes I find it an instrument that’s hard to not make melancholy. When I put it on guitar that’s when we got the second verse, it was actually different to start with. When we play it I feel quite distant because I wrote it three or four years ago. But it’s personal in a different way now.

Katie — I mean, you wrote it before we were together, so you really wrote it for you.

Lauren —  Yeah I guess I mean I wrote it during COVID which was maybe not the nicest time. I don’t know who it’s directed at exactly. It’s a sad song, but I think it’s nice that from that like you said people are connecting with it. Also, everyone feels a bit bad sometimes.

Gracia —  I think it’s really open and if you’re in any sad situation. You can listen to it and relate to it.

Katie — I think we were really careful with that in the promotion, we didn’t want romantic feelings to be the only way you can interpret it.

Reese — It’s more about human experience rather than just romance. But god, it applies to romance. 

Katie — I think that’s the same with all our songs, we don’t want them to be explicitly about a person or situation. We want everyone to be able to relate and apply their own situations.

What’s been your favourite gig so far as a band?

Gracia —  The most recent Halloween gig here has to be my favourite just loads of people, and we sold it out which I didn’t think was going to happen not being rude. When we did on the night I was so proud of us. Some people singing our songs as well was just an out-of-body experience.

Katie — Mine was The Arks it was the first time we performed at Future Yard which is a lovely venue with lovely people and food actually so go eat there. We loved it and really got along with them, and they really support us now. I think it’s the best we’ve ever played, and we played comfort at three million miles an hour. I think Gracia and Reese came off bleeding. The energy was just there that night.

Reese —  I’m going to cheat and choose two gigs. It was the week in May when we did our headline we did it, and it was just beautiful and people really wanted to be there some people even had I heart Thalia’s Grace signs which was cool. Then in the same week, we got the opportunity to perform in Philharmonic music rooms. We had a wonderful strings player. We went from really chaotic high energy to really peaceful, it was such a beautiful moment.

Lauren — You can hear Oceanless in the background now. I think the Zara Smile‘s headline at Arts Bar Baltic. We weren’t expecting too many people we knew to show up, but it was pretty busy, it was just the right vibe. We’ve played a few gigs where there’s no one there, but they’ve still been really fun. 

What do you see next for Thalia’s Grace?

Gracia —  We’ve got another recording and another song coming out in due course. We’ve all got other stuff going on, but it’s such an integral part of all our lives, it’s a nice anchor for me to come back to when our schedules line up and make something we consider beautiful. That didn’t really answer your question!

Lauren  — I mean it wasn’t that serious to start with, just messing about in a practice room, so now every next step is kind of crazy. Just keep going and keep trying going forward.

Reese —  I think our next step is growing a fanbase and continuing to connect with people, which is very new to us. Like people adding our songs to a playlist and like even just you (Flora) knowing of Held, it’s so surreal, yeah just growing more.

Katie — I think we want to do more shows outside Liverpool. We’ve spoken to some promoters about gigs across the country, that’s the most important thing right now. Then also just releasing more stuff that’s really essential in growing, and it’s how people hear our music. 

This is a silly question to finish up, but if you could have any person dead or alive come to your show, who would it be?

Reese — I’ve got one for Alive that would be Dave Grohl immediately, he’s just so supportive of female artists, and he’s just a musician I adore. Dead would be — stick with me here — my grandad because he was very supportive of me pursuing music. He came to see me as a kid at the Cavern Club, and he would love this band, so I’d love to show him so much.

Gracia — Weirdly, I would say, Taylor Hawkins I’ve seen him twice, once when I was really little and once a few years ago, obviously he’s recently passed away. I think it would be amazing to get a drummer I really admire their opinion on my parts, and I would love some real input. 

Katie — I don’t know if I would want someone I really admire, I’d get really nervous. 

Lauren — I think… I still can’t decide. Adrianne Lenker, Ray Davies from The Kinks or Hilma Af Klint. I think with Adrianne Lenker most of my songwriting is inspired by her. Then Hilma Af Klint just to be like yeah that’s cool, I don’t know. 

Katie —  Can I change my answer actually because if anyone’s seen the film Confidence Man I’d want them there they’d bring the best energy.

Lauren – You know what scrap my answer Bob from Bob’s Burgers I just want to see how he’d react or Linda Belcher (Bob’s Burgers character), I think she’d love us. 

Listen to Thalia’s Grace here and follow their Instagram for more information about gigs and more here.

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