The best thing to be battered up and cooked hot is GRLwood, a Kentucky duo blistering with soaring hooks and a dripping punk aesthetic. Their first single released this year, “Bisexual,” was a ravaging tune that centered around a booming hook. Today, New Noise Magazine is pleased to be bringing a few more singles (making a total of five released) with “Im Yer Dad” & “Wet.” The group is made up of queerdos Rej Forester and Karen Ledford, swinging through the belt states with their own distinctand raw musical talent.
The duo also took a moment to sit down with our team and openly discuss some of the focal points that scream through the depths of their upcoming release, Daddy. sonaBLAST! Records is heading the release, seeing the light of day sometime soon. But now, take a listen to some more of the fiery passion and progressivism that burns in GRLwood’s blood and rings out in their lyrics with this exclusive premiere and discussion. These two don’t hold anything back, and that’s why their music is going to burn a memorable line into your head.
How important is the community surrounding you and how do they help you continue to keep creating new art?
K– Community is absolutely everything. Louisville has an exploding music scene right now and I feel very honored to be a part of it. If I’m not playing a show, my favorite thing to do is go out and see all of the other Louisville bands. There is definitely a sense of solidarity at the local shows. A lot of people have GRLwood’s back and that seriously means the world to me. To be able to create for a living and have people stand behind it is a high like I’ve never felt before. So yes, community is very important to me. Our supporters make me want to push the limits of my music abilities and far beyond.
R – I wrote GRLwood songs as a self expression of my experience. To see so many people also identify with those experiences really shakes me and makes me realize that GRLwood is fatally growing well beyond just my self expression and doodling on guitar. Everyshow, the community grows and reminds me that there are many of us, and not everyone is the same, but we are all resonating with the experiences detailed in our songs. GRLwood used to just be for me, but now it’s for other people who need it, and that feels good, if it helps someone feel not alone.
Alongside that, the D.I.Y. community was one of the first places where LGBTQIA was made prominent to my life, how does it feel to continue making an impact that makes the rest of the world aware?
K – LGBTQIA folk are underrepresented in media so it is important to create art that carries a piece of them in it. It is not that we are trying to be spokespeople for LGBTQIA but our songs reflect experiences that we are familiar with. Those experiences just so happen to be that of angry, lesbian, genderfuck feminists. If people can relate…great. If people are confused and can not relate…then that is also great. Art is subjective and this is just one perspective of 100 trillion possibilities. You are not supposed to always understand or like it.
R – D.I.Y. is how I’ve always done things. Sadly, the body I was born into, and how I sometimes present it, has its drawbacks in most conventional and traditional fields, add some genderqueer sprinkles, and people generally can’t tell what they are looking at, which is fertile land for disrespect, not being taken seriously, or people just don’t want to work with you, because you aren’t obviously a trophy to be fucked or fought. so D.I.Y. has always been the best route for me in my experiences. D.I.Y. is usually full of alternative people and has always been a collection of weirdos, which is usually a lot safer to navigate being a small queerdo, like myself.
And I know that approaching a monstrously huge career in music can be very daunting and scary for anyone to look at, especially in a D.I.Y. sense, and I want people to look at GRLwood and say “hey, holy shit, they’re doing it! I can do it to!”
If someone ever has questions about how to go about it and how we are doing it, I’m more than happy to provide advice for other DIYers.
How does GRLwood create music? Is there a refined process or does it happen rather spontaneously?
K – Often times, Rej and I just jam out and record on our phones whatever we make. Afterwards, we go back and listen to the recordings to pick out what we would like to work on. It is a very natural approach given that improv pushes the brain to spontaneously reflect whatever is on the mind. Other than that, Rej has a million and one songs that she has stored in her head. I wonder how many she has up in there….
R – I wish I could provide some methodical genius sandwich method in which represents how we carefully piece together deep meanings about life. But we don’t.
Every song begins as an improv. Lyrics are also improved, and if we like the improv, we record it on our phone and go back to further build upon it. Like Karen said, it’s a very natural approach as because it is all coming from the top of my head, the lyrics some out as very honest, and abrasive ideas that may not be for everyone.
Tell us about the motif and thematic meanings behind “Bisexual” (a song previously released).
K and R– so, bisexuality gets a lot of bulshit from all sides of the spectrum, and that’s what the song, Bisexual is about. Bi-sexual is a very loaded song, like “I’m yer dad” and “vaccines made me gay” it wears a character, and is satirical.
I think it’s very obvious for the listener to hear a feminine voice sing things like “I have a big dick” and understand the punch line, however, if I play a starving gay who is angry at the fact that a bisexual person won’t fuck me because I am gay, it makes some people’s eyes cross. And that’s okay. Being critical about stigma within a minority group is very sensitive ground for all parties. some people who identify as bisexual bump to the song because they understand the character and relate to the experience, and some people are very angry about it and say it’s biphobic and problematic, which is good because yes, it IS problematic. And that’s the point of it. If it pisses you off, you get it, if you can bump to it, you understand it. Regardless of which you feel it enacts, the goal of all of our songs is to start a discussion, and it’s okay if we are painted as the enemy if it means that it gets people more aware of this fucked up stigma.
What are some of your favorite moments on the upcoming release, Daddy?
K – It is really hard to pick some of my favorite moments on Daddy. Each song holds a different memory and all of them I cherish. Creating an album with Rej has been one of the most interesting things I have ever done. I love our jam sessions and the excitement between Rej and I when we create something new. We’d run around the room eating pizza and slapping each other in the face. That’s pretty special, ya know?
R -the structure that producing this album has created on us has forced us to make a surge of a whole other album worth of material and it feels really good to have this much good with someone you work very well with. So by the time Daddy is released, we will likely be looking to record another demo/EP/etc.
Any last words or other details?
K -Daddy is an album that will piss you off, make you laugh, make you dance, and who knows, maybe even make you cry. Hope ya like it. If not, burn it in the streets or throw it in your trash can (recycle tho plz).
R – If the album daddy makes people uneasy, wait till you hear the next one. It only gets harsher. Daddy is going to be gentle in comparison to subject matter of the next one.
Photo by Jordan Lanham