Wichita-based singer-songwriter Dusty Grant issues his debut EP, Trapped Here, Saturday at The Elbow Room.
The former heavy metal growler is self-releasing the disc, which he views as a calling card for the extensive tours he does each year.
Grant recently visited the KMUW studios to discuss the project.
What did you learn in the process of making this EP?
I learned a lot about the administrative side of things, making sure that you've got everything uploaded and formatted for digital distribution.
Setting timelines for the release, making sure that you give yourself enough lead time. I cut it close with the CDs; they just showed up. I was hoping to get them here a little bit ahead of now, but the company that manufactured the CDs had a delay. They called it "a snafu." [Laughs.]
There's been quite a learning curve.
Do you have moments where you say, "Hang on here. I'm losing sight of the guitar playing and singing"?
It's been that way the last few weeks especially. Just leading up to the show. When I need to be rehearsing, more than anything else, I've been finding that's the hardest thing to find time for. There are so many avenues if you want to promote things correctly and you want people to know about it, you've got to be grinding on it on the promotion side, too. This week, I've made sure that I've set aside time to run through my set list as many times as I can. This is the time of the week when I become an absolute nervous wreck.
You've mentioned digital formatting and so many things are digital now. But you're pressing up physical product for this. How come?
The CD, the way I look at it, is a calling card. I can bring it and hand to people. If somebody walks up to my merch booth and they don't have the money, I might say, "Hey, sign up for my email list, and I'll give you the CD." I do want people to hear it, and I do want people, if they come to my show and they enjoy what they're hearing, they can have something they can take home with them right then.
Tell me about the recording process.
The recording process taught me a lot about guitar playing for sure. I'm less experienced on the guitar than I am as a singer. I've only been playing guitar for a couple of years. I have to sit down and really drill things, develop hand strength. You might be tracking things for three or four hours at a time, playing the same things over and over and over and if there are positions that you're not conditioned to play it starts to take a toll on you. It's diminishing returns as you're recording.
You went to your family a few years ago and said, "Hey, I'm going to go out and do these solo tours." How has that been?
I've got young kids at home and the most important thing to me is being a good dad and being a good husband. [My wife] realizes that I'm a much happier person when I'm [making music]. We spent some time together when I wasn't doing it and the difference in my demeanor, on a daily basis, when I can play and create something, as opposed to when I can't? She notices the difference. When I'm home I'm a better dad and a better husband because I'm genuinely happier overall.