Grant Cutler on making music and moving on

If Grant Cutler had it his way, he would probably tell you that there's not really much to know about his music. It's not like he's a big deal, after all, and as I ask him about his project Grant Cutler and the Gorgeous Lords, the conversation flows in and out of what he's working on and what he's working through.

"It's kind of like romanticizing my life and putting it into songs," said Cutler, referring to his debut EP with the Gorgeous Lords (whose members consist of Noah Paster on bass, Matt Scharenbroich on drums, and Scott Johnson on guitar). "It's very personal shit to be singing these songs. It's cathartic."

That need for catharsis is remarkably palpable on the Gorgeous Lords EP, which features four epic and sweeping anthems that are more appropriate for meditation than the dance floor. This will come as a surprise to some Lookbook fans, who may be expecting Cutler's solo debut to sound much like his partner-project with Maggie Morrison. And on that tender subject of Lookbook's indefinite hiatus, Cutler was reflective. "It was just time for a break," he said. "And even in the last month [since the split]... I've gained new perspective. It's good. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Maggie."

While the recent (and well-publicized) breakup of Minneapolis's favorite power-pop duo was unfortunate for everyone, Cutler insists that his continuing work is not out of spite--nor is it new material: "These songs are two years old by now... [they happened] because I was in Lookbook and needed to do something other than electronic dance music. I was working on them while I was in Lookbook."

I asked Cutler what he called this solo work. He called it "drone-pop," which isn't a genre, and even if it were, I'm not sure it's entirely accurate. Grant Cutler and the Gorgeous Lords features a finely crafted and intimate sound, held together by his sturdy baritone vocals. It's like putting an entire orchestra underwater, with the chorus muted by the ocean. Cutler's voice is deeper than sea leagues against this shimmery backdrop, and coupled with the vulnerability of his lyrics, listeners are quietly folded into a world where the lines between sound and experience blur.

All that, and Cutler is cautiously humble about his music. "I'm not sure anyone is going to like it, and there's really no middle ground," he remarked. Regardless, it's apparent that Cutler isn't done contributing his sounds to the scene.  

"I still love making electronic music, and I'm still going to keep doing that, I just don't have a vehicle for it at the moment," Cutler said, when asked about plans for the future. "And I'm still going to be doing this [Grant Cutler and the Gorgeous Lords]... It's nice to be in a dude band, to get to write music and put it together... it feels very simple."

There's some hint of relief in his voice, then resolution as Cutler continues: "I'll make some music in the winter and get that out... just make a bunch of stuff and see what happens." He paused, and a small smile twitched across his face. "Leave some room for the unexpected. You always have to."

Our conversation slows, I'm out of questions, and Cutler has places to go. "That's all I got," he says, shrugging and smiling sheepishly. This is fine, because it just so happens that what he's got is golden.  

Grant Cutler and the Gorgeous Lords have their EP-release show at the Turf Club (Clown Lounge) this Wednesday night at 9PM with Holly Newsom, MAKR, Matt Laterell, and Marvin Devaney. 21+. $5 cover.

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