From the outskirts of a Texas city, Grace Gardner weaves a sultry dream of sounds and bring it to the rest of the world with her debut EP, Peach. With her intricate, melancholy vocals against an intricate backdrops of fleeing fiddle twangs and resounding acoustic, she carries a sense of hope and light that brush against your cheeks like a soft breeze. Gardner’s music recalls a Billie Eilish’ melancholy intimacy and Lana Del Rey’s nostalgia, however, without the heaviness. Instead, her sadness is like a feathery touch that breathes through her songs. While the EP chronicles frustration in relationships, society and even herself, the singer-songwriter touches you without getting under your skin.
“Deny Me” drops you right into the middle of an entangled story, in the resounding regeneration of a sonic palette. “I get this twisted and sickening feeling I’m gonna marry you. It sits like a rock in my stomach, a drop off, a summit.” Traceless drum against a guitarscape that is soft and damp like the leafy forest floor. “Deny Me” is an intricate opening with epic feelings.
Parcel” feels like an escape between road trips and dancing naked in a forest. Gardner’s own creation of atmospheric sonic is liberating and more than ever, endearing. Compare to “Deny Me,” “Parcel” has a powerful, booming in the undertone that is brewing underneath her vocals and dynamic drums. A kind of angst with so much energy, yet unexploded, holding against the upbeat, sunshine palette.
“Acrobatics” is airy and quiet, but it amplifies the thoughts and feelings that sometimes escape under our noses. Warm, floral and bubbling, but close to the heart. In a world where everything is either big or bigger, her microscopic approach with sounds and her organic, earthy tone is hard to find. “Designated Driver” draws to the blend of an effortless 80s’ rock aesthetic and singer-songwriter genre with a hint of the night light of New Orleans. Complex, flavorful, but again, so intricate and light.
Written by Katrina Yang
Press Q&A with Grace Gardner
Q (Luna Collective): How would you say being surrounded by New Orleans jazz during your early adulthood affected your overall sound?
Grace Gardner: I moved there when I was 18 and I left when I was 22, so I lived there for just four years. I went to school for two of those years and then dropped out and [was] just kind of living there, but experiencing Mardi Gras, where there’s so much big-band music, it really led me to value expanding my songs past being just one-track vocal, one-track guitar, because I love music that is like that.
I think some of my songs do end up staying that way, and I started developing an ear — like, horns can be present here, strings could be present here, and loud percussion makes sense here. It helped me be able to kind of anatomically identify things that I can add to my songs. And I found so much joy in that way of making music. It made me want to create forever and ever.
Q (Luna Collective): My next question is inspired by your Spotify profile. Say you were able to record a video message for your wired earbud–listening middle school self. What would you say to her from where you’re sitting now?
Gardner: That is actually really funny because y’all know, like, the bug collector trend? Where it’s like … the videos are little kids. Yeah, I heard about my 6th grade YouTube channel, and it was really hard to watch. I had dreams of being a famous guitar player and it made me cry. So I’d be like, “Girl, you wouldn’t believe it, but we’re gonna do this thing.” I loved music all through elementary school, middle school, high school, college. It was always my biggest passion, and nobody was surprised that I left pre-med and started pursuing it. I had grown up with it and somehow convinced myself to do something else, so I would tell her to stick to music and not get distracted because it brings you joy. And the alternative, not doing music, sucks. And holding back to try to suppress that passion will only take you farther away from yourself. So practice hard every day and keep going.
1824: You said that you’ve known this EP title for more than a year, but what made you choose it?
Gardner: So I grew up in rural Texas, a few hours away [from] Fredericksburg, which is this town outside of Austin and San Antonio — they’re famous for peaches. I was raised to think these peaches were like the pods and nectar from God. They’re amazing, and so peaches were always my favorite fruit. I would wait every spring and summer and we would go down there, and they were a central part of my childhood. Then later on, they started showing up in movies as a symbol that some bad stuff was about to go down. There was stuff that happened with my ex and, yeah, I wanted to name it that.
Backward Noise: What was the process like of creating your new EP and do you have a favorite moment of the process of making the EP?”
Gardner: The process honestly was pretty solitary I wanna say – I was producing it all from my desk, where I’m looking at y’all right now – and I had friends send in some instruments and it was remotely most of the time – actually all of the time, if I had anyone doing guest instruments they would do it in another city and email it to me. It was hard to kind of like to do it alone mostly because of the feelings contained in it, kind of just tough to process alone without other collaborators to work through them with you. And so I’m looking forward to having more in-person collaborations for my album. But, my favorite part of creating Peach was there was a last-minute inclusion called “Acrobatics” and me and my friend were kind of just messing around when we had like no inspiration and I started ranting about something I was feeling about not having closure with somebody and a whole like situationship type of thing like mental gymnastics, yadda, yadda, yadda. And it was three days before my EP was due and we hammered it out – wrote, produced, and mixed, everything in like 8 hours and dropped that on the EP. I think making that was probably my favorite memory.
1824: Finally, what can fans expect from your music in the future beyond the EP or with the EP?
Gardner: Of course. So the EP is four songs, two of which have been released. And after the EP comes out, we are hoping to make more music videos, which is exciting. But we haven’t decided which songs. We’ll see. If y’all have any input, let me know — hit my DMs — but we’ve been working really hard already on my album. I have, like, 50 songs written ready to go. I just need to get them produced and do all of that stuff. It can be a really time-consuming process when I’m just doing it from my little Mac laptop. But I was really hoping to get an album out around this summer and fall.
Backward Noise: Do you have any tips for any aspiring artists?
Gardner: Absolutely I do. When I was so outta place… I felt like I didn’t have traction or a certain success on TikTok, (etc.) however an artist defines success for them – how I defined for myself I didn’t feel like I was getting it. I made music a central part of my life. I made it my 9-5 too. I was a teacher at the School of Rock for a really long time. So, I made my main money there. I also studied music in school before I left school. I was gigging all the time, I was practicing all the time. I kind of just made it my whole life. I felt so comfortable with that because I knew I wasn’t going to burn out on it. That part was a really reassuring feeling to me. I literally just did nothing but music. I will say there are sometimes I did that to a fault. So, I don’t recommend going to such an extreme where you’re ignoring your family, friends, loved ones, etc. – like body needs. Don’t go that far. But I never stopped practicing. I was always writing, always playing. I was really always doing everything.
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