Last Days of Summer with Nashville's The Lonely Biscuits
Interview and Photography by Olivia Kenney
Ah, the Jersey Shore, magic to some- confusion to most. With Asbury Park sprucing up a bit, we thought it'd be a good time to catch The Lonely Biscuits at The Saint before the summer came to a heartbreaking close.
Born at Belmont University, The Lonely Biscuits are a groovy indie-rock trio with a fresh new EP, The San Francisco EP, and a thing for shaved ice. With 90's music in their roots and a good sense of humor- we interviewed the band during their brief indulgence of beach culture while head banging to the overflow of Switchfoot happening simultaneously on the Stone Pony summer stage.
POND: Who are you and where are you right at this very moment?
GRADY: I’m Grady and I’m typing at my kitchen table in Music City, USA. Nick is in the other room. Sam is in Canada??
POND: Describe The Lonely Biscuits (TLB) in 3 words that start with the letter "A".
G:An awkward attempt.
POND: What did you eat for breakfast 2 days ago?
G:A banana? Unless that was yesterday. Maybe a bagel. Try not to dwell on the past.
POND: Where’s the weirdest place you’ve ever slept?
G:In a green room basement in Virginia. Our buddy Robbie, who used to play with us, woke up with a dead rat snuggled up against him. Smelled good. We also slept at our flight attendant’s house in Colorado once but she wasn’t there. She just felt bad for us. Thanks Stacey.
POND: Favorite past time that isn’t playing music, writing music, being a musician, etc.
G:The whole band bonds a lot over pinball and listening to podcasts in the van.
Grady, Sam, Nick outside The Saint.
POND: Does TLB have an official anniversary, and if so, when is it?
G:Sam and I started going steady when we met at school, so sometime in August. Nick joined in January. Neither of them have kissed me yet, so I’m not sure if it’s that serious. We could break up at any point.
POND: Do you feel like we’re playing a weird version of Mad Libs?
POND: Cool me too.
POND: When was the last time you called your mom?
POND: What’s your go-to gas station snack?
G:If I’m feelin’ healthy, then a Cliff Bar. If I’m feelin’ bad, then a Tootsie Roll or Swedish Fish.
Grady serving up shaved ice from his family's spot, Betty's Icebox
POND: Favorite and most iconic live show you’ve attended and where.
G: Either getting to see Modest Mouse for the first time, because we were side stage and the frickn' sun was setting on the frickn' beach and it’s frickn' Modest Mouse. Or the time I saw The White Stripes when I was little and tried to climb a garbage can to see better. The security guy brought me up to some roped off balcony to see and it was cool.
POND: A musician you look up to the most that you could call on the phone right now.
G:Probably Johny of Okey Dokey. They’re killing it.
POND: You get a full time residency at Dollywood for 2.5 months playing cover songs at a restaurant with major Cracker Barrel vibes. Do you take it? (My judgement relies mainly on the answer to this question)
G: Dolly seems like a good hang, but she wouldn’t be there and Cracker Barrel sucks so much. Place makes me super sad. So, no.
POND: Favorite pre show beverage
G:Is it lit? Yes - Tecate with a lil' lime. No - water.
POND: Nashville is a pretty hot spot for music- being a musician sounds glam, but have you ever played for an empty room, and if so how does it feel?
G: Yeah we played to a moderately empty one last week. You get little thought bursts mid song like “Wow, I’m stupid” and “I wish my one friend from high school came to that other, more crowded show last week and not this one.” But empty shows also make you wanna get weirder on stage, so then you end up feeling fab and maybe even more glam at the end than you would after a packed show.
POND: Who is your dream collab?
G: David Byrne would be very cool.
Nick, Grady, Sam outside a pizza place on Asbury Boardwalk
POND: Do you think that there is a compromise between making music you want to make, and making music people want to hear?
G: We definitely used to try to cater more to what we thought would catch on and be successful. We used to put more forced structure around what we were writing and I think that’s partly why a lot of our older stuff didn’t stick with me for long.
[Now] we just write and record the ideas that get us the most excited, and it ends up sounding like us. But also, I think I’m naturally really attracted to hooks and catchy sounding things, so we’re usually able to take whatever we wrote and loved in our house, and record it without losing the feeling and charm we had when we first birthed the idea. I think everyone who writes subconsciously is trying to please and connect with an audience, but we don’t have to compromise as much as some other artists probably do.
POND: Do you feel like the music, art, and culture that exists outside of your genre helps influence you to make the decisions and work that you make?
G: Absolutely. We all pull different little pieces of all different kinds of artists and add them into who we are. Like for me, I remember seeing Tyler, The Creator and the way he portrays himself on stage and in his interviews, and instantly taking some of his honest craziness and becoming more open with who I am while performing. And then when I started reading a ton of Kurt Vonnegut, it changed the way I wrote and made me shine more light on the quirky, strange lyrics or thoughts that I have. If you’re only looking inside your genre and at people who are similar to you, your craft is going to become typical and boring really fast. I just get really inspired by anything that I think is great, whether it’s from a musician, a surfer, skater, or a homeless dude with cool style. I take what I can from it and add it to who I am.
POND: Speaking of, give me three things that couldn’t be any less like TLB and tell me why they’re important to you.
G: Cookies - because they’re a lot different than biscuits. Important, because they usually are delicious. The ocean - because we’re based in the middle of the country. Important, because I grew up next to one and I get special tingly feelings when I’m near it. The “cash me ousside, how bow dah” girl - because she promotes violence while we promote unity and friendship. Important, because it is.
POND: POND comes down to being a group effort, friends supporting friends who are pushing themselves creatively- Do you think TLB rides on the vibes of its friends and close creative circle
G: Yes, especially recently after we got off tour with The Weeks. We hadn’t been hanging around in the Nashville community as much before the tour, I guess because we were just caught up doing our own thing, but then being around other musicians who were motivated and in a similar place as us, that got me really psyched. It just reminded me how many crazy talented artists were living in my neighborhood, all wanting to hangout and bounce ideas off of each other. I’m actually starting a community art zine where I’ll feature all of my friends poetry and art, mainly other musicians but also just people who are doing cool things. I wanna make it a quarterly magazine type thing and have an art show with all of our friends every time we release a new one. So anyways, yeah I think surrounding yourself with other young, creative people is the most productive and inspiring thing you could do for your brain.