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Interview: 2020 Must-Know - Grumpy

Interview: 2020 Must-Know - Grumpy

Grumpy is the self-declared "musical (internet) soap box" of Nashville-based singer-songwriter Mason Schmitt, who, on the debut album 'Loser', finds humour in the mundane and her own imperfections; always striving for self-growth and wanting listeners to "connect with my stories and be able to feel through them".

MUST-LISTEN: 'Davy Jones', 'You Don't Like Dogs', 'Trying'.
YOU WILL LIKE, IF YOU LIKE: Snail Mail, Soccer Mommy, Frankie Cosmos, boygenius, Big Thief, Best Coast… and tenderly serenading your dog when you’re both feeling a little sleepy.

COUP DE MAIN: What was running through your mind while writing 'Davy Jones'?
GRUMPY:
‘Davy Jones’ came out of feeling like I am wasting too much of my life on useless and unchallenging media. Even when I’m writing a song and it feels effortless, and I’m really on a roll, I am still actively fighting the urge to slip into the wastoid internet void on Instagram and, dare I say, TikTok. I’ve never had a Twitter though. I would get one but I’m just sooo busy being an intellectual that there’s no time. I’d like credit for that please.

CDM: I love that you thank listeners for listening to your album in 'In-Between Song'. Where did the idea for this interlude come from?
GRUMPY:
'In-Between Song' simply is a thank you to anyone who listens! The listener doesn’t need me; I need the listener. No one is begging me to create and release music, the world would go on without my music, so how dare I be anything but grateful?

CDM: How does your songwriting process work?
GRUMPY:
First, I put on my very favourite hat and take my shoes OFF. That keeps the ideas in my brain and the stink off my toes. Then I get ONE toaster strudel on a YELLOW plate... Not really, I write my songs in a pretty regular way, I have a silly thought or a couple chords that get me excited and pray that I stay focused long enough to poop a nice little song.

CDM: Do you write your lyrics specifically for the songs, or do you write poems or prose and then evolve them into song-form?
GRUMPY:
I write lyrics for my songs. Journaling helps but I only get around to that about once a year. When writing lyrics I try not to write anything that I wouldn’t say or think naturally. My friend, Evan, taught me to "write how I speak" and that ended up being so valuable to me. I have since tried to push that to the extreme, refraining from anything too lofty or poetic and instead writing what is true to my voice. Sometimes I wonder, "Can I really say 'fart'? Can I really talk about Instagram and slime videos?" But when I catch myself asking if I’m allowed to say something in a song, I’ve conditioned myself to always say yes. But the lyrics don’t always pour out. For me, they’re the hardest part. Though, for someone who talks as much as I do, it’s odd that I struggle so often with coming up with lyrics. Recently I was complaining to my friend, Adam, that I couldn’t come up with any lyrics, and he said, "Damn, that’s crazy. I feel like you always got something to say." That made me laugh.

CDM: Lyrically, what's your favourite song that you’ve written?
GRUMPY:
My manager, George, would tell me to choose a song off our new album, 'Loser'. George is really smart and probably the most valuable person on my team, and he’s usually right. George is also really supportive of me and says things like, "I’m not the boss, you’re the boss," encouraging me to make my own choices. So the truth is, I have so many new songs whose lyrics I’m really proud of and eager to share. But my choice from 'Loser' is 'Jeepers Creepers' because it’s satisfying every time I sing it. I am proud of any song where I get to be sassy because, in real life, I’m a lot more considerate. But in songwriting, I’m ruthless.

CDM: What do you think is the difference between a good song and a great song?
GRUMPY:
Truth and effort.

CDM: At what age did you write your very first song ever, and what was it about?
GRUMPY:
I was fourteen and it was about a boy. All of my songs back then were love songs except for this one that was about a dad leaving his children and them begging him to stay, which is so embarrassing and transparently pandering because I have great and present parents. There’s actually still a video of it up on YouTube and it's humiliating.

CDM: What do you hope for people to take away from listening to your music?
GRUMPY:
Like any writer, I want the listener to connect with my stories and be able to feel through them. But I also just want people to think I’m awesome and give me attention.

CDM: If G.R.U.M.P.Y. were an acronym, what would each letter stand for?
GRUMPY:
Giddy up Randy! Uncle Mel’s Packin’ Yams!

CDM: If dogs aren't the number one priority in someone's life, is that a dealbreaker for you?
GRUMPY:
How crazy would my life be if dogs were the NUMBER ONE priority. Don’t get me wrong, I love my dog with a burning fury that hath no rival, but damn, I need to take care of myself too. So, if there’s one thing I love about our drummer and my soon-to-be-husband, Austin, it’s that he loves our dog and he’s got his priorities straight.

CDM: What's your favourite thing about your dog?
GRUMPY:
Her shape.

CDM: What’s on your bucket-list?
GRUMPY:
With Grumpy, I’ve got an enormous list of places we want to play, people we want to tour with, goofy merch we want to make, etc. But, personally, I just want to become a homeowner. I’m talking BACK yard, BIG windows, ROOM for drums, GAS stove, WORKING toilet, the whole nine yards.

CDM: If you could steal one thing without consequence what would it be?
GRUMPY:
The Mona Lisa. She’s been through ENOUGH and it’s time to come home. I’ll take care of you, Lisa.

CDM: If you were a country, what would be your national anthem?
GRUMPY:
It goes like this: 'ba da dum dum lalalala ba dum dum boom tsss sha sha fafafafa'.

CDM: What are your top five necessities for isolation/quarantine/lockdown?
GRUMPY:

Flour for baking :)
Rope.
Duct tape.
That thing that cuts a perfect circle in glass.
An alibi.

CDM: You’re one of our 'must-know’ artist picks for 2020… who are yours?
GRUMPY:
My two favourite artists are Lomelda and 100 gecs. But I’m also listening to Sidney Gish, 2nd Grade, Great Grandpa, Bill Wurtz, Ginger Root, Alexander, Jodi, Half Waif, Blue Ranger, Pinegrove, Liza Anne, Josh Gilligan, Personal Trainer, Angelo De Augustine, Dreamer Boy, Indigo De Souza, Will Orchard, and Tummyache.

Listen to the album 'Loser' below:

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