60s/70s inspired rock band Greta Van Fleet (Josh Kiszka, Jake Kiszka, Sam Kiszka and Daniel Wagner) really have made an impression to the rock music scene capturing all the legends attention such as Robert Plant who describes the lead, Josh as a “beautiful little singer”. I had the lovely opportunity to exclusively catch up with Sam, the bassist and keyboardist for the band before their massive gig at the Electric Ball Room in Camden- In Sam’s own words, “we walked in and the venue smells of beer and cigarettes, which is refreshing!”
So why ‘Greta Van Fleet’, how did you come up with that name?
It actually came from an elderly woman, it was one of those last minute decisions that you didn’t know would affect your life so much, band names are weird and they’re really difficult to come by a good one, her name was actually Gretna but we took the ‘n’ out.
The writing process for songs, what is this like?
As far as writing goes, we all contribute- I think that’s what special about it. When artists get too caught up in a formula or whatever, that’s when things often go wrong. So I’m glad we all have the drive to wanna write things, we tend to have this obsession with meaning in song writing, it’s a great dynamic with the brothers. We are all like-minded and have the same kind of vision of where we wanna go, you know what we wanna do.
Can you tell us a bit about your new album, where did you get the inspiration from?
This is a pretty big deal for us because it’s going to be our first actual full length debut album and you only get one of those. It was kind of strange when we went into the studio with all these songs and we all kind of decided like ‘these songs aren’t good enough!’ so we wrote new ones, it was kinda just spur of the moment you know, in the studio.
While complimenting the album and comparing it to rock music from the 1960s/1970s rock era with a hint of indie music to which Sam’s response was…
“That was actually quite nice, a quite nice way to put it! I like that one a lot more than what we usually get. That’s the stuff we grew up on (1960s/70s music).”
What’s your favourite song to preform live?
Every night we change things up, so no two nights are the same. With Rock ‘n’ Roll you can just jam things making it different every single night, a lot of people forget that you as a musician can change things, from night to night performances. People also forget that music is a very powerful form of expression.
If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be and why?
There’s a band from New Jersey named Lewis Del Mar, and they’re a really badass group of dudes, they have a very interesting sound. They are great live and that’s something that’s important to us, they’re great from a studio recording sound to a live performance.
I can see from photos and music videos that your style is as important as your music making, so is there a piece of clothing that you can’t live without something that makes it to your everyday wardrobe wear?
My red bell bottoms, it’s very important to any performance, at the beginning of every performance when I’m getting dressed I have to say to myself “Sam you wore them the last three nights, you can’t wear them again tonight!” It’s one of those addictive pieces of clothing; you can’t really get tired of it.
Who would you say inspired you guys back in the day?
The Beatles, we look at Paul McCartney. We are talking about a guy that has like 60-65 years in the industry, his work is fresh and he’s recycling himself and making himself newer. It’s so important you know, it’s something people don’t do anymore. People don’t reinvent, just staying the same. We also like Paul Simon, those are a couple of musicians we look up to- the guys who have that ear for true melody and the people who are always doing their own thing and doing new things is really important like I mentioned before because a lot of people stick with the sound, they’re like “this works, we’re gonna keep on doing whatever this formula is.” I think that’s when music is boring!