1883 Magazine

Frankenmuth, the small town in the North American state of Michigan is rural, picturesque and currently untouched. However, Greta Van Fleet are soon going to bring the area to the attention of a much wider audience. The emerging rock band is made up of brothers Jake, Josh and Sam Kiszka, with Danny Wagner on drums.

They’re steadily making a name for themselves with a syncretic sound which samples a range of styles including metal, pop, blues and grunge. It’s more than likely that you’ve heard the band’s Black Smoke Rising EP, which topped the Billboard Rock Chart in September, but you may not yet know much about the band themselves. Luckily for everyone, in September we were able to sit down with Danny from the band to discuss musical beginnings, growing up in a small town and what we can expect next from Greta Van Fleet…

How do you like London? Are you excited for your show tonight at the Black Heart Camden?

Very, very excited. Any time I’m offered the chance to go overseas, it’s definitely exciting because it’s a whole new feeling, you know. You’re playing in front of a whole different crowd, it’s just a great trip. How many 18 year olds get to say that they come to London to play a show?!

How would you describe your sound?

Um, good question! So, I guess the best way to describe the sound is to go into everyone’s influences first. So, growing up I was mainly a folk inspired person, Jake was very classic rock, Josh loved world music, and Sam is very jazz, even some folk too. So when you mix that all together it kind of comes into a collaboration of all those different sounds but I think our band sound is mainly Blues influence which is where we all share the same influence. It’s very bluesy, folky, there’s even some soul in there. It’s just a lot of very raw music genres which are put together. I think it’s a very fresh sound.

So who is your biggest Blues inspirations?

I think we share a lot of collective Blues influences and it goes all the way back to even Robert Johnson and some of the originals like Howlin’ Wolf, all of those guys. It’s so interesting to us how all this progressed to the British Invasion with Cream and The Who taking over the Blues scene with their own style and we thought this was very cool. And you’ve got [Jimi] Hendrix and [Led} Zeppelin, and some of the American bands too. All different types of Blues, just to name a few artists.

How did you form as a band, you sound like a very close-knit group?

Well yeah, the other three guys are brothers so they all met at birth, roughly! We all grew up in a very small town though. I mean, we all went to the same school, so we all kind of knew one another, well, I knew them. We only became properly friends at the end of middle school and we realised we all played instruments. They had been, just as a hobby, playing a lot of music together with some friends. I filled in at one of the shows they were doing, they had a previous drummer who couldn’t make it to the show but I had practised with them enough to know all the songs they played. The show went great and they decided that it might make sense to supplement me in from there. Growing up in a small town we all just played as much music as we could and them when things started happening we decided to make it a point in our lives for this to become a career.

How would you describe this new EP?

At the time we were in a pinch and we had to get music out there to the people. So what we did, we had a look at the material we already had started in the studio and we gathered a bunch of songs that date back to five years ago, when the band started, and even the song Black Smoke Rising which was written in the last year, which is more contemporary. We kind of put the EP together to showcase the last five years which people may have missed. We were, at the time, just having fun and we still are! I think the EP captures are maturity in writing songs.

Have you got anything big coming up on the horizon? 

We are working as hard as we can in the studio, as often as we can to try to get another EP out and released soon. We’re touring in the United States all of October and when we come back in November we’ll be back in the studio to try and get a full-length album out by end of the year as well.

Greta Van Fleet’s double EP ‘From The Fires’ is out November 10th. For their latest news head to www.gretavanfleet.com

Interview Megan Wallace

Photography Alexandru Luchita

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