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The Greeting Committee

Lately, The Greeting Committee has been in a refreshing, liberating state of mind. Their latest singles, whether it is the lighthearted, hopeless romantic “Anything But You,” or the chipper ear-candy that is “Hopscotch,” the theme of the season for the four-piece is carefree and love-drenched.

Currently embarking on a grand-finale tour for both a very fruitful 2022 and their current era for their latest record, Dandelion, the To Feel Alright Again tour has brought The Greeting Committee from one coast to another, putting on the kind of energetic yet intimate live shows that they were known for prior to the pandemic. Beyond the livestream of the sold out Chicago show, the band made sure to include fans at home with a tour diary style video for “Anything But You.”

Consisted of Addie Sartino and Pierce Turcotte, as well as Noah Spencer and Micah Ritchie, The Greeting Committee has been evolving drastically on a whirlwind journey. Keeping a consistent style of genuine, straightforward songwriting with the band’s signature indie rock sound, Sartino and Turcotte got to experiment with a more pop-leaning production with the help of Hippo Campus’s Jake Luppen for “Anything But You.” In Sartino’s own words, “Anything But You” captures just the right feeling of ease and lovesick with a special kind of simplicity.

To celebrate the release of the new single and days ahead of their Chicago livestream, 1883 Magazine caught up with Addie Sartino on everything going on with The Greeting Committee.

 

 

What’s the weather like for you today?

The weather is phenomenal.

 

Are you guys currently on tour or are you taking a short break with Thanksgiving coming up?

We’ve got a short holiday break, so all of us dispersed to different places. Right now I’m in Virginia, Noah’s in Texas, Pierce’s back home in Kansas City. I think Mike is in Kansas City as well.

 

Are you all from Kansas City originally?

Three out of the four of our current lineup are from Kansas City. [From] our old lineup, all four of us went to the same high school.

 

Did you guys start when you were 15 or 16?

Yup.

 

That is so insane. Overall, how’s it been so far? I found an interview of you guys with a radio station at a college a couple years back; but now we have a global livestream of your Chicago show coming up. How’s that experience been?

Oh my gosh, I mean, I can’t even put it into words. I think the best word to use and, I really thought by now I would have a different word, but it’s still “surreal.” That’s the word that comes to mind.

 

The last album you guys released was just from June this year. It’s not that artists don’t usually have more songs they are eager to release, but it’s hard to come up with the theme for the next era. How did you jump into the new two singles so quickly?

There was just so much change that has happened in the past 12 to 13 months for the band that has led to a lot of inspiration for me, and a lot of freedom for Pierce and I. With that freedom came excitement and the opportunity for Pierce and I to delve into the things we’ve always wanted to, but maybe I haven’t been able to. So it was a lot easier than I would have guessed it to be. 

 

That’s what I got from “Hopscotch” and “Anything But You” too. I feel like they have a very similar vibe or feeling attached to it. But I want to hear it from your own words, if you compare the two singles side by side, what’s similar and what’s different for you?

I would say the similarity is that they’re both more pop leaning than any other music we’ve put out previously. That makes sense because Pierce and I were always the two band members who liked pop music more than the others. We had a lot of fun working with Jake Luppen, who produced these tracks alongside Pierce. Pierce has always helped produce the music, but it’s really exciting for me to see him finally get the credit I think he deserves on it. When it comes to adding instrumentals and details, I mean, they’re just both so smart. The way that our manager has described the new music versus the old, she keeps using the word “unleashed.” I really like that because I do feel like we’ve really shed any limitations that could have held us back and and in certain ways, helped us as well, but we’re really excited to be exactly where we are right now.

 

 

That’s amazing for you guys. Hippo Campus has been longtime friends and collaborators for a while, but is this first time that Jake got hands on with the singles and collaborated with Pierce?

No. So we did our 2019 EP, I’m Afraid I’m Not Angry, with Jake Luppen and Caleb Hinz, and Caleb works with the Hippo Campus guys very closely. But I would say Jake probably got to have his hand a bit more in it this time than he did previously, because the room of people shrunk from six people to three people. I think there’s something really nice about that. Both Pierce and I trust Jake a lot and learn a lot from him. So it was, again, this sort of freedom that we got, even from the last time we worked together.

 

Got it. Love that. What’s your personal favourite things, or musical moments off of both “Hopscotch” and “Anything But You?”

Oh, I love that question. Pierce’s guitar part in “Hopscotch” is just great. And the intro, I think it’s super catchy and fun. I really love the bridge of “Hopscotch,” I think my vocal delivery, and my lyrics are probably some of my favourites we’ve ever had. And the subtleties around that to build the moment [and to make it] feel that way, are so layered and hidden. It’s one of those things where if you really broke apart the song and solo each moment, you would see why and how it creates the sort of tension and then breaks it. 

I would say “Anything But You” just feels good. The chorus came so quickly for me when I heard the guitar part for it. And that song was a little bit more difficult for Pierce and I to write, just because I had such a specific vision for it. But I also had this trust in Jake, where I knew once we got to Minneapolis to work with him, he would have it. I’ve worked on other projects with Jake, whereas for Pierce, this was his second time working with Jake. I was like, No, just trust me, we’ll figure it out when we get there. I know that was uncomfortable for Pierce, but I think also very fun for him to get to explore that once we got there. So I would say just the chorus of that song. It just gets stuck in my head so easily.

 

It’s just so catchy. And it makes so much sense in a very simple way.

Yeah, I think I used to try to make songs so complicated, because I thought that’s what indie music was. Sometimes that’s super fun, like I think “Hopscotch” is a bit more of a challenging listen compared to “Anything But You;” but I realized there’s something really beautiful with the simplicity of love and joy and happiness. I hope that’s what people get out of “Anything But You.”

 

I was going to say, my favourite thing to “Hopscotch” was how your vocal ended up sounding like it flows on top of everything else, in a very clear and simple way that I really enjoy. 

Thank you! Yeah, I mean, that’s pop production, which is what Jake really loves to do. We kind of get to go back and forth, almost discussing, disagreeing, arguing in a healthy productive way. It’s like I’m going to Jake because he’s gonna pull it in the pop direction, and then we’re gonna go to Caleb, who mixed the track, and Caleb is gonna put some dirt on it. It’s this very fun juxtaposition. 

 

 

That is so cool that there’s this balance, and obviously downsizing seems to be very helpful so far for you guys.

Yeah, I think that(‘s for) Pierce and I AND Jake. Honestly not even just the writing room, I should say all of it. Pierce and I are very much so a duo. It’s so nice to know each other so well after so many years and to acknowledge, Hey, you’re really good at all of this stuff and I’m good at this stuff. Let’s just trust each other to take care of what we’re good at. And it really does fit like a puzzle piece.

 

And now it’s just everything coming together. So that’s the bigger puzzle piece, I’m guessing?

Yeah, it feels really exciting. I feel like we’re getting a chance to have this fresh start while also holding on to all of the accomplishments we’ve made over the past eight or nine years, which feels very lucky.

 

This is a good transition for me to ask, why is this tour called To Feel Alright Again? Is it also because of those same feelings?

So that’s a lyric from “Ten,” which is the last song on the Dandelion record. I think it’s the same way that the Dandelion record is the story of grief, but with this sort of optimistic ending. I would argue that that’s the life experience Pierce and I have lived over the past 13 months, so it stuck out, it made sense. “Ten” is also a song that only Pierce and I wrote on that record, so it’s sort of to honor us and reflect on the accomplishments that we’ve gotten to make together, where we’ve come and all that we’ve withstood. So I think that made sense, and knowing that this is probably the last tour where we get to live in the Dandelion world because it’s time to keep moving forward.

 

Well, how’s the tour been? It’s a little pattern I’ve picked up, for a lot of artists, they become a lot more active when it comes to writing on tour post-pandemic. Has the tour been creatively helpful? Or like creatively fueling?

Yeah! Seeing the perception of “Hopscotch” live has been so fun, it pops off way more than Pierce and I thought it would, so that’s really great. I think that gives us a sense of confidence to keep coining in the direction that we’ve been wanting to go. Another thing that I appreciate that we share as a similarity is that we really enjoy not letting music be this heavy weight blanket on us. We really try to go have fun in life and do things that inspire us separately from music, and then bring that into the room when it’s time to write. Neither of us are gonna shut down ideas if they pop up, but we have January dedicated to not doing anything creative, simply so that we can replenish our reception to being inspired. And I think that’s really nice that we’ll get to do that. And honestly, because we’ll be forced into that break, I bet we’ll both be really, really ready come February 1 To write together.

 

 

Particularly from this tour so far, has there been a moment or a memory that you feel like, this is what keeps the inspiration going?

Oh, absolutely. Our San Francisco show on this tour. The crowd was my description of a perfect crowd. Oh, they were, yeah, they were so energetic. They were giving as much energy to us as we were to them. It felt very reciprocated. It felt very friendly. Almost familial, and I made sure to tell them multiple times on the show, like thank you, this will fuel me. Because it can get difficult, especially with us growing the fanbase, new crowd members might not know that this is a really interactive, energetic show, whereas people that have been to our shows multiple times get the gist. So we’re trying to create a space that’s welcoming to new people, but also matches the crowd and the crew that we’ve assembled. And in San Francisco, I think everybody got the memo as they walked in the door. It was very, very great. I really needed it. And I told them that I was sick, I really needed a pick-me-up and they were picking me up. So that sticks out to me very much.

 

I do want to talk about the Chicago show too because it’s going to be livestreamed. And I think live streaming a show is such a new experience for artists or fans, everybody alike. Are you guys nervous? Or are you just treating it as just another show?

You know what, I guess I had never really thought about it, because we have never done one. So I don’t even know what that feeling is going to be like until that day. I’m really thankful it’s the Chicago show, because Chicago was always very good to us. And that’s a sold out show, we’re really grateful for that. There’s this gift of touring and playing shows where it’s like, if you mess up, you move on; also if you mess up, the energy in the room can kind of cover it sometimes. For livestreams, that’s not the case. I think I like that pressure, though. Most of the time we like having an added element to make it an underdog experience, but we will arise to the occasion, so I’m gonna look at it that way.

 

Anything else that you’re looking forward to before this year ends? Or is there any goals that you want to just put it out there for the next year?

Yeah, I’m really excited for “Anything But You” to come out. I feel very proud of that song and excited by it, so hopefully the perception is received well. More new music on the way, Pierce and I plan to put our heads down and hopefully come out the other side with an album. I think continuing to grow our fan base is always a priority of ours. We just want to really take advantage of this fresh start we’ve been given and let people know how grateful we are for it.

 

This is my last question. I think what makes TGC special is that a lot of the love songs are probably a lot of fans’ favourite love songs. So I want to ask you, for “Anything But You,” does it remind you of any of your personal favourite love songs?

Oh, yes, I want to pull up the playlist… I know that I was thinking about Coin when we were making that song. They do such a good job with indie pop love songs. “I think I Met You In A Dream” from their latest record is so good, and that was the song I listened to a lot on the February tour, when I was daydreaming about the person I wrote this song about, so it’s very fun to come full circle. What else do we have here… Oh, “Ode to a Conversation Stuck in Your Throat” by Del Water Gap.

 

My god, I love that song.

It’s so good. Yeah, that one comes to mind as well. And then “Anybody Else” by spill tab. I really love spill tab. I think those are the three songs that I had in mind when I was writing this one with Pierce.

 

Interview Gomi Zhou

Photography Sophia Ragomo

 

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