Quick, just tell me about your music:
Grasser is an indie-pop outfit based in Asbury Park, NJ. Born of cousins Biff Swenson & Nick Gianatiempo in 2016, the band expanded before the recording of their 2019 EP, Later, Registration, when they joined forces with solo artist & long-time friend Dana Yurcisin. Filtering out their early math & emo influences for a more pop-leaning sound, the newly minted trio incorporated elements from each of its member’s backgrounds: Biff’s love for hip-hop & verbose wordplay, Dana’s ear for production & texture, & Nick’s studio chops & guitar heroics. The group’s debut LP, Get Real, Quick!, is slated for a fall 2021 release, aiming to bring the feel-good beach vibes of the Jersey shore to the masses, no badge required.
Okay, fine. Tell me about your life:
Lyricist/percussionist Biff Swenson, multi-instrumentalist Nick Gianatiempo & producer/singer Dana Yurcisin knew each other a long time before coming together in Grasser. Biff & Nick are cousins, and Dana had played in bands in the same scene as the two since his days at Rowan University. There were plenty of shared bills, side-project collaborations & creative works to be proud of between them.
But one degree & two dropouts later, their paths diverged. Dana moved to Maine. Nick got married. Biff stayed the course — music at all costs. He started a handful of locally popular bands in Asbury Park, a town where saying you had a band was like saying you breathe air. While grinding away in an overcrowded scene, he still found time to make music with Nick & Dana when plans allowed. Dana would drive home from Maine to record Biff drum on a solo LP of his. Nick would juggle his newly expanding family with the creation of new side-projects with Biff (Grasser being one of them). The joint efforts were personally fulfilling, but nothing really took off.
After losing his full time video gig in Portland & failing to find a replacement in an anemic job market, Dana moved home to Jersey & set his sights on Asbury Park. But by the time he’d finally regained his footing & was able to relocate, Biff was heading for Philadelphia to pursue another promising band of his. Nick was having his second kid & owned a burgeoning solar business. It wasn’t looking good for a strong reunion.
Then, everything took a shit. Dana was fired from yet another video job. A chance run-in with a fugitive sent Biff fleeing Philly just as he was set to record his debut LP with the band he dropped everything & moved there for. Nick’s business was doing gangbusters (okay, not *everything* took a shit). Things were grim, but over the years these Jersey jerk-offs learned a thing or two about channeling life’s misfortunes into a killer bop.
At last in the same state with the same artistic goals (read: total world domination), they agreed the time had come for a proper LP, to be recorded in the basement of Nick’s home (read: he’s a homeowner). Practically (&, post-COVID outbreak, literally) living together to bring it to life, the trio incorporated elements from each of its member’s backgrounds: Biff’s love for hip-hop & verbose wordplay, Dana’s ear for production & texture, & Nick’s studio chops & guitar heroics.
Depression, suppression, rejection, and elation all come to a head in Get Real, Quick!, a rollercoaster of alternative R&B-inspired rhythms, guitar pedal fuckery, and sassy lyrical affirmations. It’s the sound of childhood friends & family— fighting, fucking-off, playing hard & working harder. It’s the sound of tough lessons. It’s the sound of things falling apart, sure, but it’s also the sound of something finally coming together, albeit in the most unpredictable and fucked-up fashion imaginable. It’s the only way these three would have it.