An evolving musical path
Alex Grantham, second from right, and his band, Low Hanging Lights.
Paris-born musician Alex Grantham is always changing.
“I like to be in a constant state of change or else I lose my mind,” Grantham said.
When Brant News last checked in with Grantham in 2010, the Toronto-based musician had just released his debut solo album, When I Was a Boy, and was embarking on a solo career.
Within a month, the 26-year-old musician had changed course.
“Right around the time I put that album out, I tried to start getting a band together and a friend of mine from Paris, Ian Boos, had moved to Toronto and contacted me,” Grantham said. “He heard I was playing music and asked if I wanted to get together and jam, so we did that and it worked out pretty good.”
Grantham provides vocals and guitar alongside Boos on vocals and bass, Dillon Spencer on keyboard, trumpet and vocals and Aaron Bennett on drums. Their alternative-folk-rock band is called Low Hanging Lights.
“I guess I was having a hard time finding an audience for the solo stuff and what I realized being in Toronto is that there doesn’t seem to be a big audience for solo acoustic performers,” Grantham said. “I thought, 'why don’t we make this a little more accessible and get drums and bass in there and do that kind of thing?' It’s been working. It’s so much easier to get people excited.”
Working in Toronto with a fellow Parisian has also helped make things work.
“It’s really awesome,” Grantham said of working with Boos. “The cool thing about people from Paris is there is really a warmth about them and a feeling of trust and openness and it’s really nice.
"We have this sense that we have each other’s backs and it motivates me. We are in this big city now and we are both small town kids and we feel like we are taking on this big challenge together.”
In December 2011, the band released its first EP, Small Talk, and is hoping to get back in the studio to record a second set of songs soon.
Recently, they recorded two songs for Southern Souls, a website that captures unique performances of underground bands from southern Ontario. They’ve also been performing in Toronto, Guelph, Kingston, Brantford and Owen Sound.
During the past two years, Low Hanging Lights has established itself as a group of musicians that isn’t your typical indie band.
“A lot of times when you go see an indie rock band, they show up and they stand there and perform their songs and they are usually dressed in flannel shirts and indie rock glasses and standard attire," Grantham said. "I usually find myself really bored watching it.
“I really just want to be in a band that tries to do something different. When we play live shows we try and make it a bit theatrical. We try and do simple little different things like telling stories between our songs.”
Grantham himself can’t be counted on to keep to just one look for his band's performances.
“One day I look like a folky songwriter and the next I look like Charlie Chaplin and the next I look like a 1990s alternative slacker guy,” he said. “But it’s fun to change.”
Visit www.lowhanginglights.com for more information.