High Fives with … Molly Grue

We chat to Krista D about her soft-rock/indie-pop side project Molly Grue.

After returning to music after a 10-year hiatus, Krista D decided to divide her songwriting catalogue into three and separate it by genre. A release of EP’s with selected old material and new material is in the works as well.

Molly Grue is the project where Krista focuses on soft rock/indie pop songs that deal with fairly dark subject matter, based on personal experiences and stories that people have shared with me.

The project’s name sake is a character from the 80’s dark and twisty childrens movie The Last Unicorn.

All sound pretty good, doesn’t it? We wanted to get to know the band a bit more so we sat down and chatted to Krista D about all things music.

How did you get into music in the first place?

I believe my first song was written at 13 and started recording around 15 or 16. Recording in the studio was initiated by my father and it was due to the time that he had been playing guitar in the living room, and he just kept strumming the same chord run, over and over, and so I jotted out lyrics, sang the melody for him and my sentiment was basically like: ‘there!, now it’s a song’. Maybe I was just doing it so he’d stop repeating the same chords- I can’t even remember the why or intent of it. Regardless, that was my first song and he encouraged me to write enough for an album. That first song ended up becoming the most requested song on a community radio station and even made it into rotation on a few other stations as well. I probably never would have gotten into music otherwise.

If you had to describe your sound in 3 words, what would they be?

For the Molly Grue project I would say the sound is: sorrowful, introspective and personal.

When on tour, what’s the ONE thing you always need to have with you?

A prescription for valium- not a fan of flying.

What was your favourite ever ‘on stage’ moment?

When I took the stage flanked by store mannequins. (Krista D project) I was so irritated with not being able to find live session musicians that I resorted to doing the show karaoke-style. The mannequins wore my band merch and I hung instruments on them; I even taped drumsticks to the ‘drummers’ hands. Easiest sound check, ever.

How would you describe your songwriting process? Do you have any rituals?

No, not really, it’s all fairly random. The way I work is probably a bit different than a professional songwriter; songs basically just show up in my head, uninvited. The melody and words almost always come together and I also tend to write melody lines for instruments that I have no ability to play. A song pretty much has to want to happen and repeat in my head for days, driving me half nuts, before I’ll consider going into the studio to record it. The recording process is just very expensive, so I’m limited. Only the most persistent songs are allowed to be born.

What has been your biggest challenge as a singer/songwriter?

Marketing myself and selling my songs. I have tremendous difficulty with that. I understand that music is a business, and you either find a way to play the game or you just get out, but, yeah… I still can’t wrap my head around the whole branding and promoting thing. How do you take intensely personal songs about your life and treat them as if you’re just advertising a brand of soda? *But* if you can’t figure out a way to invite people to care about who you are and what you’re creating – you can’t buy groceries. I know that I’ll probably figure it out eventually, but currently that’s my biggest challenge.

Stories from the road- what’s the funniest thing that ever happened to you on tour?

Once, when I was on a small tour, a random guy, who was at one of my performances, took a liking to my Krista D project and decided to squire me around to various places in the city insisting to various bouncers and building personnel that I was a big act. This enabled me to jump long line-ups, get into VIP sections and I was even able to get into a movie, for free, by posing for a picture with the manager. On a small scale, and with no budget, he was trying to show me a bit of how you market and ‘make’ an artist.

It was fascinating to see how people responded to him simply pitching me as a star. Now- this was quite a few years ago; before everyone had Google in their pockets, otherwise he would have been outed pretty quickly, but that experience definitely led me to reevaluate everything. I had to think: are all of the the people who are “stars” in the music industry worthy of that status? Or do they just have teams of people like him working on their behalf.

What was the first album you ever owned?

I can’t actually recall- but the first song I have memory of is Eye of the Tiger by Survivor.