At 22, Annika Von Grey is already somewhat of a seasoned veteran of the music scene. Having been classically trained and performing since she was 5, Annika and her sisters found success through their project Von Grey, at a young age. Playing on Letterman, Conan, while touring extensively in their youth has taught them the good and bad about the business. “Your emotions are a commodity,” she explains “it can make you question your decisions and become so comfortable with your artistic identity . . . to keep up with trends . . . there is a weight on your shoulders to express yourself for profit.” Growing up in Atlanta, the girls were homeschooled and “tethered” to each other through their budding musical endeavors. With In Bloom: Acoustic, the group revisits some of their older tracks while delivering a few new ones.
“During the process, I moved to Manhattan . . . in a way it was good to get space. The distance made us more dedicated as a sisterhood and a band.” The album is a creative step away from the identity they built when the group was young. They are in a sense, breaking away and heading to a more unknown direction – one in which they are in charge. “This EP is an experiment in evolution . . . In Bloom is vulnerable, it’s the first time we produced and engineered . . . it’s a very personal and terrifying DIY process. You’re the only judge in the studio . . . have to live with the lyrics as naked children.”
I asked if the songs took on new meaning or if the emotions on the rerecorded tracks still rang true. “Hypothetically you would think we outgrew the emotions but they are songs about uncertainty. “Poison in the Water” we wrote right before the election . . . we were like ‘fuck, we’re terrified for what’s coming’ . . . still relevant. The songs are still about humanity. Melodramatic manic humanity.”
If the album is a rebirth, then we are right to be excited about the future. Tracks like “6am” have incredible vulnerability and bite to them, while the band has never sounded as personal and musically intentional as they do on this EP. Their songwriting process shines through as well. Preferring to right the melody first, Annika feels the melody is “inherently emotional. With “Plans”, the sentiment came through in the melody first.” The emotion behind the music is what drives the songwriting for her. “I needed to be kicked in the ass . . . to be shaken up. Moving locations fucked up every comfort we had . . . it was emotionally charged . . . eight months of panic, at least for me. Recently I’ve had a renaissance of music that is supercharged with emotion.”
For her, the best tracks come from these periods of uncertainty and pain. “When shit sucks, it’s like you need to expel it from your body. When you’re content, you don’t express and sort of get comfortable. When you’re angry, you write twenty songs a month to expel it from your body.”
After touring aggressively for many years, the act is strategically picking shows that make sense. “We’re not rushing . . . I am neurotic and I want the tracks to be perfect. We are dipping our toes back into the pool . . . don’t want it ever to be a chore.”
You can download and stream the new EP In Bloom: Acoustic on all services. Von Grey will be touring later in the year.