Listen to Austin 360 Radio

SXSW Band of the Day: Grand Analog

Deborah Sengupta

Editor’s note: This article was originally published February 12, 2014

From: Toronto, Canada



Could share a bill with: Jurassic 5, Dam-Funk, De La Soul

About the band: A five man collective of avid record collectors and self-described “beat junkies,” the band’s love of the past is no secret, it’s written into their name. They produce ridiculously catchy sing-along, rock your spirit hip-hop grooves. We hit the band up for a brief chat about their throwback sound, feel-good vibes and their city’s hip-hop superstar.

Austin360: The name Grand Analog invokes nostalgia but thematically, a fair amount of your music seems to be about moving forward. How does your band balance the pulls of present, past and future in your music?

Vocalist and founder Odario Williams: I’m amazed by the amount of people that ask me what the word “analog” means! As a band, our mandate has always been to express our music through “all things classic … because it’s the classics that stand the test of time.” Musically, I like to subtly touch on sounds that were never broke and therefore never need fixing. I’ve always wanted our music to be something you can understand and relate to whether you are a fan of hip-hop or not. But in the same breath, hip-hop fans will also catch the little musical nuances we’ve done to salute the culture.

What’s the hip-hop scene in Toronto like? Is it obnoxious to ask about Drake?

(laughs) Well no, I wouldn’t say that’s an obnoxious question because Drake says the word “Toronto” in his rhymes more often than the rest of our local hip-hop scene combined. I will say this: Toronto loves hip-hop. Truly and deeply. As artists and fans, we don’t simply sit under the generic umbrella of the genre either; we mainly embrace all the little sub-genres hip-hop has to offer as well. I’m sure we’ve created a handful of sub-genres ourselves. You see, Toronto’s rap scene doesn’t have “a particular sound” so to say. I find that to be a gift and a curse. But there are many styles of hip-hop to choose from in my town. No matter what your flavor is you’ll find it.

The song ‘Howl Like Wolves’ has such a great feel-good vibe. What’s the story behind that song?

Thanks, that was my intention exactly! To write a feel good song. A friend once told me to “write the song you want to listen to.” So I did just that. The actual story behind it is based around survival and accomplishment. And I mean survival of any kind. And the simplest of accomplishments, like getting out of the house on a lazy unmotivated day. The idea of the song is to think about all that you’ve been through in life and instead of patting yourself on the back, tilt your head back and howl like the beast you are. Go ahead, try it. It feels great.