April/May 2017

by Stu Edwards

Fresh Talent: Cheshire Grimm

by Stu Edwards

Fresh Talent: Cheshire Grimm

Hamilton grunge/pop trio-turned-duo Cheshire Grimm are no strangers to adapting to challenges. With a new EP just landed and guitarist Lora Thompson now based in Melbourne, while bass playing vocalist Kat Waswo is still in Hamilton, the pair have plenty to deal with.

Despite the evident logistical challenges both enthusiasm and productivity seem to have been at a high point for their band.

“When we do get together, we clear our schedules and we are really productive,” Thompson explains.

One upside of having a trans-Tasman membership is that Cheshire Grimm has made solid inroads into the Australian live scene. The Melbourne scene offers an abundance of venues to play, most within an hour’s drive of Thompson’s home.

Excitement about the new EP, ‘Rain Or Shine’, is evident. Pre-production at Hamilton’s Mordecai Records helped craft the songs into a final form that exudes a new level of confidence and polish. The five tracks were recorded at Roundhead Studios in Auckland, under the watchful eyes of engineer Paul Lawrence and experienced producer Ben King. Utilising the studio’s natural ambience as well as the pure sound of a Rickenbacker bass and Orange guitar amps, is all part of the planning that went into the final product.

“We were very lucky with this one. Getting into Roundhead for the first time and working with Ben King was really good for us,” Thompson enthuses.

The EP shimmers with class and confidence, and highlights the growth of the band’s sound since their formation in mid 2012. With their roots in ’90s grunge, Cheshire Grimm’s enthusiasm to tour has paid dividends resulting in live bills with a range of bands, and this is evident in the band’s invigorated recording performance.

“We’ve been lucky to be on festivals with bands such as Ladi 6, Kora and MC Tali. We also performed with Brendon Thomas & The Vibes who were really original sounding,” Thompson elaborates. “We’ve steered away from the straight grunge sound and gone for a more psychedelic sound.”

Vocalist and lyricist Kat Waswo’s pregnancy with her second child in 2013 was compounded with her having to undergo reconstructive surgery on her wrist, and drummer Dan Yarranton’s resignation.

“We have been through many auditions for drummers and trained three bassists to fill in during 2016. It’s been incredibly exhausting, but through the hard times it’s also been amazingly rewarding,” Waswo reflects on the band’s recent challenges.

Drummer Sam Holdom from Auckland band Skinny Hobos and local Hamilton bass player Dan Reese have been welcomed into the group as live performing members. The road out of the Waikato has been far from straight, but Waswo and Thompson’s approach to their band is nothing short of passionate and professional.

“We are not a gimmick, we are just doing our thing,” Waswo states before Lora Thompson closes with, “Don’t give up, females can do anything!”