Last Friday we reissued the 2003 self-titled EP by Gertrude Ross. Today we have an interview with Melissa Morissey discussing the recording. Check out the interview and stream the EP below.
PFR: First off, who and what is Gertrude Ross? Can you give us a little history of the band and the name?
Melissa: Gertrude Ross was my grandmothers name. She was my favorite relative and the first person in my life that died. My grandmother once sent me a tape recorder as a birthday present. There was a tape inside it and a note instructing me to play the tape. It was my grandmother wishing me a happy birthday. I thought that was the most magical thing. That someone could exist in such a real way through recording. When I started writing songs on my own I decided to name the band Gertrude Ross to pay honor to the idea that people can exist in other ways. The songs were written on guitar and keyboard and later my husband Bryan joined on drums. I wrote the majority of these songs a few weeks after my son was born.
PFR: The overall sound and musical arrangement of Gertrude Ross is pretty radically different from your previous bands, underwater and Rosewater Elizabeth. Do you feel that you purposefully steered away from what those bands had done or was it a natural shift for you as a songwriter?
Melissa: I think the sound and writing that followed my previous projects just happened naturally. I have always been minimal in my approach with songwriting. I rely mostly on working until I find something that resonates with me emotionally.
PFR: Is there a particularly good or bad experience you remember from the recording session for the EP?
Melissa: My favorite part was getting to work with other people on the recording. I spent a lot of time in my on head and needed feedback. I was happy to choose to work with people (Jeremy, Denver, and Bryan) that were very good at adding to the songs without taking over.
PFR: Considering this record was recorded over a decade ago how do you feel about these songs now?
Melissa: I just listened to it again recently and sill feel a deep connection to these songs. There are a couple like "Gertrude Ross", that were written when I was a teenager. Strangely that song is now one of my favorites. I'm very happy that this EP is available for people to hear. I dragged my feet about releasing it for too long. Maybe now I'll get to the other songs I have written for this project but never recorded. I hope so.