By McCray Sutherlin
Generationals is a dynamic two-piece out of New
Orleans that has received praise over the years for their entrancingly tropical sound and their sought-after live performances. Comprised of Ted
Joyner and Grant Widmer, Generationals’ sound is full of catchy hooks and cheerful melodies, supplying their own unique style of “guitar pop” and transforming it into something more. We had a chance to catch up with Joyner to chat about their new album, drones, and their time here at LSU.
DIG: So your new album Alix is named after the street in New Orleans?
Ted Joyner: Yeah. We sort of liked the spelling of the name. We like to choose words for records. For us it’s not necessarily what they mean but how it looks graphically. It’s an interesting way to spell that name. Whenever I see it I think of that neighborhood our friends lived in. Kind of like a pieces of sort of a memory. Something that’s hard to articulate.
DIG: What part of New Orleans did you guys grow up in?
TJ: I grew up on Napoleon Avenue and Grant grew up in Lake Vista. But now Grant lives in mid-city, and I live in the Quarter. It’s fun coming home, it’s crazy during Mardi Gras, but it’s fun. There’s always something going on. You get used to ever-present chaos.
DIG: What do you think about drones?
TJ: Like armed, unmanned aircrafts?
DIG: Yeah. Like armed, unmanned aircrafts.
TJ: Could be a cause for concern…Brings to mind sort of scary visions of the future…or present…really? I just don’t know…I think technology can make the world better, but in other ways it seems a little less clear if it’ll be better. The first time I saw one we were in Germany at a festival at night and I was just hanging out. All the sudden someone sends this drone up for aerial footage. It was floating right in front of the stage and then the band was like, “Looks like the Americans have joined us!”
DIG: What did growing up in New Orleans do for your sound and development as musicians?
TJ: It’s great. New Orleans is so synonymous with music history and culture. I group up listening to The Meters a lot. When I was learning to play guitar I learned a lot of Meters stuff. It was great. Music is everywhere, all the time. I don’t think I ever planned to have a career in music. I wanted one but I didn’t know if it was feasible. I think growing up here is one of the reasons I started playing guitar at a young age.
DIG: What did you plan on having a career in beforehand?
TJ: I went to school for architecture and that was my plan for a long time. And then music was something that never went away. I was always playing around in bands but never was quite sure of how serious I was taking it. With Generationals, for the first time I wanted to get serious about it.
DIG: It’s impressive how high you got your voice to register on this album. Is that natural or enhanced?
TJ: A lot of the stuff on this record got a higher register and Richard would push me even further. It’s pretty high to play live. Our bass player is a really good singer, and he’s been helping me out. It’s mostly natural voice, not electronically enhanced. It was me exploring some strange falsettos.