Don’t Do It is out now.
Last November, we included a track from San Antonio, Texas-based experimental math rock group Granite Hands in our ‘5 Songs We Loved This Week‘ feature. Since then, the outfit’s debut album Don’t Do It has been on regular rotation in the Overblown offices (aka my front room).
A raw and engaging album of visceral power and intricate musicianship, we were intrigued as to how the effort was conceived. With this in mind, we asked Sorush Ranjbar (who literally plays everything on the album) to take us through the album’s creation. We learned how tardigrades, backpacking, and neo-soul influenced the powerful and engaging record.
Don’t Do It.
This album was born out of my impatience with not writing music because of other stuff going on in my life. I hit this point where I realized that time is only going to keep flying by faster and I don’t have the luxury to wait on it anymore. I didn’t really care that I couldn’t afford studio time or who would listen to it in the first place after such a big financial investment. I decided to teach myself how to make the record from the creation of electronic drums up to tracking bass lines in my apartment with limited resources. I figured that finances were only an excuse and that there had to be another way to make a record on the cheap. Music is obviously the thing that I value the most in this life but for some reason, I never got around to doing it. The general advice I got when I told people I wanted to write a record and play music was “don’t do it” and always thought it was a good choice for an album. Thus, the album was born.
This song is about tardigrades AKA “ water bears.” I named the song after I wrote it, but I always had a fascination with these little things. They are resilient in the face of the most unforgiving conditions and they can be inspiration to all of us.
I wrote this song after coming back to Texas from an extended backpacking trip across the middle east and southern Europe in 2015. I was inspired by all of the people I met, all of the random bus rides through Serbia, and all of the hairy situations I found myself in including a near stick-up at a sketchy back alley bar in Istanbul’s Taksim Square. Despite there being times when I was sleeping in hostels in random towns far away from everything and everyone I knew and some dude’s farts would wake me up at 4 am, I really felt like I was in a dreamboat sailing across a big ocean called life. That’s where that song name came from.
I moved to the Bay Area to work at a cool start-up company in 2016. Of course, I was met with shock at the cost of living; my rent was at least 3X higher than it has ever been in my life. I was living in this one apartment with no central heating and during the winter of 2016, it was like 43 degrees in my town. Not too cold realistically speaking, but it was also 43 degrees in my apartment. I tried fighting the cold with an electric plug-in heater, but the son of a bitch would trip my apartment’s electricity and cause a blackout every time I turned it on. One night, I decided to stay up and piece together some riffs I wrote 10 years ago and make a song out of it while being cold as hell. That is how Icicle Man was born.
4Oscar the Great
Portions of this song, namely the ending, were some of the first ideas I ever wrote on the guitar when I was about 14 or so. I had this problem with tying these random outlier riffs I would write over the course of the years together to make a cohesive song. Anyways, this song was named after a cool photographer in my hometown of San Antonio who really loved his craft. His passion for what he did was contagious enough for me to name a song after him.
This song was on my first EP eventhorizon I released back in 2015. I felt like I didn’t do it enough justice the first time and that I needed to bring a more tweaked/emotional version of it on the full length. I wrote this song back in 2010 and it was named after the tone of a single-coil Stratocaster thru a clean Fender amp.
This song was also on my first EP eventhorizon but I felt like bringing it back again. I made this song in high school back when I was obsessed with Final Fantasy 7. “Haste” was one of the magic commands you can cast in the game and it was my favourite cause it allowed me to kill Sephiroth, that SOB.
This was one of the songs on the record that I wrote within the last month of releasing the record. It was named after the amazing “S-Town” podcast by Brian Reed. I was driving from California back to Texas and listening to the podcast the whole way and it really inspired this song.
8Don’t Do It
I tried to step out of my normal composition process by recording a song from the drums up. Freckley Thing was the result of this and it was written late 2015. The song was heavily inspired by jazz and neo-soul. The song title came from the fact that freckles are awesome and people who have freckles are always cool.
This was the last song on “Don’t Do It” that I wrote when I was stuck in a gloomy place personally. The high of being in my early-twenties was over and I felt like I was up against this clock that ticked faster exponentially with every second. I started to deal with the deaths of people I grew up with. I began to face the fact that I spent a lot of time with people I didn’t care about, doing things that I didn’t care about. My view on life started to change when I realized that the clock is ticking. I ended the record with “The Trench” because it best reflects where I am at now.
Find Granite Hands on Facebook.