The TH Interview: Grace Potter, leading lady of Grace Potter and the Nocturnals

grace potter photo
If you haven't heard the name Grace Potter yet, I have no doubt you will in the coming months. A rocker chick straight out of green Vermont, Grace and her band the Nocturnals had their audience to seriously rocking out at Outside Lands a few weeks ago. Their style is American rock with a blend of alt country rock, blues and gospel. Grace's huge voice has been compared to some big names including Janis Joplin and Bonnie Raitt. At only twenty four, her sound is soulful, scratchy, beautiful and bold. I was lucky enough to meet up with her during Outside Lands to get the inside scoop her on eco-chick side. More below the fold.

Treehugger: We saw you had an eco-spot about climate change awhile back...
Grace Potter: Oh yea the one for "when we get a bus it will be biodiesel?"
Treehugger: Yea that one! So are you guys driving a biodiesel bus?
GP: No, because we don't have a bus (Laugh). We have a van. It was a conscious choice because we had the chance to have a tour bus this summer but we decided, first of all, that comfort wasn't as important as bringing music to the people. We decided to go for a van because it was better for the environment. It is a diesel Sprinter. They have the best mpg of any passenger van on the road. We decided that would be a better route for us. It's not in our nature to have a bus. It's not a conscious choice.
Treehugger: Would you consider your band eco-conscious? Has being green been harder as the band has gotten bigger?
GP: I think on a day to day, in your face basis, we see plastic bottles of water everywhere. This is the one place where we work hard to be conscious. We all have our own coffee mugs and avoid the plastic bottles. We're like sherpas bringing our water everywhere. Overall, we're definitely conscious. We're Vermonters. As a Vermonter, I was raised to be eco-conscious. Even in my elementary school we were composting. Being eco-conscious was ingrained in me at an early age.
Treehugger: Do you think Vermont has had an influence on your green awareness?
GP: Absolutely. The nature there takes you over.
Treehugger: How do you feel about Outside Lands being green?
GP: I think its important to bring out the visual consciousness of being green right now. We won't have to do this once green becomes more a part of our lifestyles. It makes me happy to see a festival like this one with an emphasis on biodiesel and solar. I think you have to grow and change. This festival is taking a risk to go green. It's a guinea pig to show the people here and other festivals the importance of going green in our everyday lives.
Treehugger: Do you think eco-consciousness has influenced your music at all? I know you sing a lot about water for example.
GP: Yea, I went through a hydro-phase. Who knows, maybe next I will go through a solar phase. It does but I try not to be uber-nature girl singer. For me, my lyrics are more about soul searching and day to day life. If I could find a way to talk about recycling poetically I probably would.
Treehugger: How do you think your music has evolved with your new album?
GP: I'm more comfortable with my lyrical side of things. I'm not pulling quite so much from other influences. Its more coming from me and how I am seeing and experiencing life. I'm getting more comfortable with being me.
Treehugger: Who would you say your influences are? I know you've been compared to women like Janis Joplin and Bonnie Raitt.
GP: As a woman with a pretty solid sense of self you're going to be compared to other women with a solid sense of self. I've never listened to a Janis Joplin song and thought, "Oh I want to sound like that." It's more about letting things hit you from the outside in. It's more about the genre influence. If its blues, that's Bonnie Raitt, or gospel, Mavis Staples, or an alt country song, Tom Petty or Neil Young. But then I love the more modern rock influence. I love Wilco. I really enjoy the Black Angels. They sing almost post-apocalyptic blues.
Treehugger: What would you tell our readers about going green?
GP: It's not that easy. You have to be aware of it and with yourself every step of the way. It's not an easy lifestyle change but the reward is the seeing your eco-footprint decrease. It's this change you see that keeps you conscious.

Photo Credit: Benjamin Root

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