Hello, I’m Grant.
I’ve been a passionate musician and poet for about 13 years now and have found deep pleasure in abstract and lucid painting. The following is a loose summary of how I ended up the way I am today.
The birth of my creative fervour came at 11 years old, when I would sneak out of bed in the early hours of the morning and watch horror films on the TV with the volume on 1%. Films like Evil Dead, Se7en and Hellraiser left me feeling very hollow but excited and immediately sparked my desire to write songs; my first song being a folk ballad about the ending of Se7en.
I found it very strange that I was drawn to writing music with an acoustic guitar, as I mostly listened to heavy metal (Mastodon/Megadeth) and hard rock (Queens Of The Stone Age/Coheed & Cambria), but realised it was grounded in the fact that I found the lyrics and the way the chords framed the mood of the lyrics to be more important than writing a huge ‘riff’ and I was never attracted to being clad in leather chaps outside of the bedroom.
This led to me to become greatly interested in singer-songwriters, especially those grounded in Americana and Southern Roots music rather than Rock’s blues foundation. Artists like Iron & Wine, Neutral Milk Hotel, Fleet Foxes, Van Morrison, Jonathan Wilson, Neil Young, Bob Dylan and outsider artists like Abner Jay or Daniel Johnston provided the palatte that I would build my own style upon.
Around this time I released my first solo record ‘Cold Home & The Family Bones‘ (http://grantkfennell.bandcamp.com/) through Loom Studio and The Orchard. The record came out just after my 20th birthday and earned some attention from BBC 6Music and I enjoyed a summer of playing music festivals and local venues. However, I struggled to raise money to plan a full tour and produce merchandise and ultimately felt that the approach to the release was very amateur and unorganised.
I am incredibly proud of the music on that short album, it was intensely personal and I learned a limitless amount from both the successes and the failures of its release.
During this whole period I wrote poems daily, I would often go back and read them, finding the ones written when I was 14 to be the most painful to read, but also the most grounding. I wrote about loneliness and I wrote about death.
I felt that my fight with the concept of death plunged me into a very dark depression that I wrestled for the majority of my teenage life, but ultimately my refusal to suppress my fear of death created a strong core for me to build my beliefs and opinions upon. I found that I hated death because I loved life so deeply, I love people and music and creation of any kind, I love advancing culture and fashion and sex, I love having friends and I love having people that don’t like me as well. Death takes all of that away, and I still hate it for that, but I also appreciate the value that death places on all the things I love, without my internal confrontation with death I would never have felt so in love with everything.
I felt myself change while I was 22 years old, my sadness began to leave me and I felt that I could live happily with death looming. During this period I began listening to very long songs, especially progressive rock bands like Pink Floyd, Yes, Jethro Tull, King Crimson and Mike Oldfield. It was also around this time that I started the mighty Cottonwoolf (cottonwoolf.com). Suddenly I noticed I had accidentally metamorphosised into a ‘dude’ from the 70s, but luckily I caught myself before It consumed me entirely*.
I decided that I loved all music and began asking my friends (and the internet) to tell me what music they thought was good, and I mean ‘the real thing’ good, the stuff that pushes the boundries. I let myself drown in it for a while until I knew how to breathe underwater… and now I dig it all**: Jazz (Bill Evans, Ornette Coleman), Blues (Muddy Waters, Howlin Wolf’), Hip Hop (J-Dilla, MF Doom), Electronica (Nicolas Jaar, James Holden), Avant-Garde (Captain Beefheart), Classical (Vivaldi, Debussy) and the Jazz-Fusion side of Progressive rock (Zappa, Mahavishnu Orchestra).
I also began drawing and painting during this period, and my writing output quadrupled, My new plateau of open-minded-ness helped me form a strong definition for my Approach to Creativity: Begin creating without a plan and see where it takes you, stop thinking and start doing, follow your gut, take risks, live within the first seconds of your thoughts, try it, even that weird idea you just had, spit on it, open it, break it, kiss it, cover it up...
Don’t be a square and get in touch with your mojo.
Which takes us up to ‘now’ (whenever that is.).
This is my blog about that now and all the nows that will follow after this now.
So now you know,
Follow my site (or bookmark the blog) and see how I feel,
*For a while I wore double denim.
**I still have a slight 70s lexicon.