Heralded “one of American independent music’s few truly inspired technicians” by WIRE magazine and included among NPR’s “100 Composers under 40, ” Rachel Grimes is a pianist, composer, and arranger based in Kentucky. She is widely recognized as the composer and pianist in the ground-breaking chamber ensemble Rachel’s, with whom she toured and released six albums including the celebrated Music for Egon Schiele and systems/layers (Quarterstick/Touch and Go). Rachel has toured the US and Europe extensively as a solo pianist, and as a collaborator with chamber ensembles astrïd (Rune Grammofon), Amsterdam Sinfonietta trio, and Orchestra Kandinskij among others. She has shared the stage with many kindred spirits such as Nils Frahm, On Filmore, Shannon Wright, the Frames, Matmos, PJ Harvey, Nina Nastasia, Helen Money, and Dustin O’Halloran, and has performed at some of the world’s most diverse music and art festivals including All Tomorrow’s Parties (curated by Shellac), CrossLinx in Netherlands, Approximation Festival in Germany and Big Ears in Knoxville, TN. She is also a member of Louisville band, King’s Daughters & Sons (Chemikal Underground).
Time is a perspective.
Honey is miraculous.
Loving kindness is always a possibility.
What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
This crazy life. Unexpected, wonderful, heart-breaking.
How and when did you get into making music?
As an infant – received a white toy piano when I was 10 months old. It had rainbow colored keys.
What are your 5 favourite albums of all time?
Ohhh geez – an impossible list.
Gershwin piano rolls
Debussy’s only string quartet
anything Andras Schiff plays
Talk Talk Laughing Stock
Kronos Quartet recording of Kevin Volans Hunting Gathering
What do you associate with Berlin?
Easy going feel, beer on the streets, several friends…
What’s your favourite place in your town?
Right now I really like to go to the Big Four bridge in downtown Louisville – an old railroad bridge now for pedestrians and bicycles.
If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
Even more gardening, cooking, and staring in wonder at the random acts of nature.
What was the last record you bought?
Gavin Bryars “A Change of Light”
Who would you most like to collaborate with?
I would love to make orchestrations for Ella Fitzgerald’s favorite songs designed with her whims and tastes and for the band of her choice.
What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
Rachel’s band performing for school kids in Catania Sicily 1998 – they screamed with delight at every opportunity.
How important is technology to your creative process?
Vital for assembling scores, making recordings and planning and staying in touch with the world.
Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career?
My younger brother is always happy for me and supportive. I am so excited for his continuing journey – great drummer and singer with Seluah. New album out soon.
Our Favourites: First Self-Potrait Series | Every Morning, Birds | The Corner Room
Links: Bandcamp | rachelgrimespiano.com| Facebook | Interview with Rachel Grimes by Digital in Berlin
Picture by Jessie Kriech-Higdon / kriech-higdonphoto.com