Flavorwire Premiere: Grand Vapids’ “Losing” Finds Inspiration in Ralph Ellison’s ‘Invisible Man’


Athens, Georgia’s Grand Vapids are a throwback to indie rock’s not-so-distant past. I hear multiple musical scenes in the corners of their songs, from mid-career Wilco to Elephant 6 band Beulah to Built to Spill to Kurt Vile. If you’ve kept up with guitar music over the last decade or two, you’ll likely find something to enjoy within Grand Vapids’ music. And if you’ve made the transition from going to school to working for a living (so most of us here, I’d say), then you’ll probably relate to Grand Vapids’ “Losing,” which Flavorwire is pleased to premiere below.

“I wrote ‘Losing’ in about an hour one evening right after moving to Athens with [bandmate] McKendrick [Bearden] a few years ago,” singer/guitarist Austin Harris tells Flavorwire. “We had just graduated from college and were living in a new town, and I was feeling somewhat isolated and out of place. I remember writing the song while I was in the middle of reading Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison. There’s a line in the novel that says, ‘Perhaps to lose a sense of where you are implies the danger of losing a sense of who you are.’ That really stuck with me, being in the middle of that post-collegiate phase were you feel aimless. I was thinking a lot about identity and expectations, and where you are and what you are becoming — if anything — and it was overwhelming.”

“I hate sounding angsty or sentimental, but the song is about being dissatisfied and failing to realize all those expectations you have for yourself after graduating, and looking at the expectations other people have of you and trying to reconcile that with what you want out of your life. And ‘Losing’ is also a love song of sorts.”

The band recorded their debut album, Guarantees, “in bits and pieces over the course of about a year” at Athens’ Chase Park Transduction with engineer and producer Drew Vandenberg (Deerhunter, Of Montreal). The quartet self-financed the record, and it’ll be out January 20th on Mumblecore.