Cheap Girls: On the Rise and Ready For the World

Troll the internet for bands and you’ll stumble upon a million and one waiting, hoping to be discovered and signed. Cheap Girls is no longer one of them. For they just inked a deal with Rise Records and are currently in the studio with Tom Gabel (Against Me) slaving away for their LP that’s slated for Spring. And in-between recording, recording and well…recording their LP that’s bound to be a cornucopia of audioliciousness (yes, I made up a word, so sue me), Cheap Girls’ bass man Ian Graham took a quick break to let us into the Cheap Girls’ world.

Kendra Beltran: First off, major congrats on signing with Rise Records! What did you do to celebrate? Little Chuck E. Cheese maybe? I know that’s how I would’ve done it.

Ian Graham: Thanks so much! We signed our papers at a little restaurant here in Lansing that we all like quite a bit. It’s called the Soup Spoon Cafe. Definitely check it out if you’re in town.

Kendra: Now we all have to wait till Spring of next year before we get some new music. How much have you all got done for that LP so far?

Ian: I think we have a total of 13 that we’re going to go track. There’s a song that we’re going to try a couple different versions of because we’re not really sure which way we see it right now. At first, we had the idea of doing somewhere around 18-20 but we just kind of chose to do the ones we like the best.

Kendra: If you had to pick a television show that you’d want this new record to sound like, which would it be and why?

: Wow, interesting! Never thought about that one. We’re all pretty big fans of the TV show Get A Life with Chris Elliott, but I’m not necessarily sure that there’s any real correlation there.

Kendra: But going from the small screen to reality, do you think where a band’s from has a lot to do with their sound and lyrics? I’m thinking the whole East/West thing in Rap and even when it comes to Lansing, MI. Another band from your hood, Fireworks, puts a lot of their locale in their music. So is that something Cheap Girls draw inspiration from as well?

Ian: Absolutely. I think there’s always a feeling of day-to-day in our songs. Lyrically, the songs are fairly observational so there’s definitely traces of that.

Kendra: You have a lot of sound elements in your sound, so when  you headed into the studio with Against Me’s Tom Gabel,  were you kind of scared he’d take one genre over the other or was all input welcome because he’s well, Tom Gabel?

Ian: Well, we’ve spent the last six months or so working on these songs with Tom. Just tearing things apart, putting things together, and so on. I’d say there isn’t necessarily a change in the band’s sound due to his involvement. We’ve simply just shifted some of the songs around structurally, focused on what we all see to be the core of the song and really see what the best route to take is. Tom is definitely on the same page as the three of us as far as what’s best for this record and always wants to hear what the band is going to do instinctively before we really get into what suits the song best. Also, we’ve done it on a song-by-song basis, really just taking them each on their own.

Kendra: Okay, so I’m a girl anatomically but otherwise I’m really an eight year old boy who loves mud and dinos, but I have to ask for the biological parts of me, were you ever worried about the negative connotations that’d go along with your band’s name?

Ian: Not really. It’s just a band name. Never thought too hard on that one.

Kendra: You’ve got a few dates lined up, but they’re pretty spread out. How do you fill the space between?

Ian: We go to our jobs at home; we’re always playing together in Ben’s basement, working on songs. Things like that. We’ll also be resting up a bit before we begin all of the touring that surrounds the album coming out.

Kendra: And for the finally, you note Gin Blossoms as having an influence and I heard a little Counting Crows in your music, and because this is Golden Mixtape. I was wondering if I asked you to make me a mixtape of your top five songs from 90’s college radio, what would you send over?

Ian: Here’s ten:
The Posies “Solar Sister
The Jayhawks “Blue
R.E.M. “Man on the Moon
Uncle Tupelo “New Madrid
Mudhoney “Poisoned Water
Green Day “Uptight
Wilco “A Shot in the Arm
Nada Surf “Hyperspace
Superdrag “Sold You An Alibi
Buffalo Tom “Your Stripes

Originally published on Oct 3, 2011

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