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The Casket Girls Discuss Fantasy vs. Reality, New Album ‘True Love Kills The Fairy Tale’

Graveface Records

Much like their hometown of Savannah, Georgia, the Casket Girls are rooted in Southern charm and gothic fiction. The group comprises sisters Phaedra and Elsa Greene, as well as their multi-instrumentalist counterpart Ryan Graveface, head of Graveface Records (Xiu Xiu, Serengeti, Dosh). The trio formed when Graveface heard the sisters singing under a tree and was instantly captivated by their macabre but seraphic harmonies.

On Feb. 11, the Casket Girls release ‘True Love Kills the Fairy Tale,’ the follow-up to their 2012 debut, ‘Sleepwalking.’ The record features trippy electronic beats and romantic melodies the Girls claim were written in an acid-like dream state. In gearing up for the ‘True Love’ release, Graveface and Elisa Greene chatted with Diffuser about Savannah’s gothic charm, the relationship between fantasy and reality in their music and the process of writing in a trance.

Can you talk about how you guys discovered music? 

Ryan Graveface: I was really only interested in and relatively good at playing basketball. That was of course until I entered high school and went to training camp and saw the chuds that were involved with such a thing. I bailed and immediately assumed the guitar was the next logical step. Of course, there are plenty of chuds involved with music as well, but they’re somehow more tolerable for me.

Elsa Greene: Phaedra and I grew up without much music in the house. The first record we came across was Bach, and we fell in love. Since we were used to our imaginations entertaining us, we starting making up our own songs, without any instruments or musical accompaniment, at a very young age. We never imagined perusing our passion publicly until we met Ryan.

How did you decide to work together after meeting in a town square under a tree?

RG.: I begged and pleaded and they reluctantly agreed. Apparently I can be quite persuasive.

EG: [Laughs] It’s true. We didn’t want to exploit what we considered precious. But somehow the project got legs and dances now.

And how did the name the Casket Girls come about?

RG: It’s been floating about forever, and after meeting the girls, I knew it made sense to use it for this project.

EG: Yes, Ryan had imagined it existing for some time in some form before our paths had crossed … not knowing yet that we actually grew up in a funeral home.

The band has a lot of the same gothic charms that come to mind when thinking about Savannah. What inspires you guys about the city? 

RG: The town is spooky and weird as hell, and yet the nicest, most supportive and most talented people I’ve ever met exist here.

EG: We are inspired by the seaside in the dark, the Spanish moss in the twilight and the morning locked outside of our bedroom tower window.

On the new record, you let your fans choose via Facebook between ‘Suddenly’ and ‘Holding You Back.’ Why leave it up to the fans?

RG: It just made sense.  We basically wrote two different songs out of one bed of music, and we enjoyed them equally.

EG: Yes, we thought we shouldn’t use both and couldn’t decide.

Can you talk about recording ‘True Love Kills The Fairy Tale’? How was this experience different from recording ‘Sleepwalking’? 

RG: On the musical side of things, mostly everything stemmed from heartbreak and homemade absinthe this time around, so the feelings are perhaps a bit more intense. We also spent a bit more time getting the drum sound right and spent far more time having Andy mix the mess I delivered to him.

EG: Lyrically and melodically, Fay’s and my process was the same but very different. On ‘Sleepwalking,’ we recorded all our initial instincts on our very first listens to the beautiful musical beds Ryan had sent us to rest in a while. And all of the songs came from those initial connections. My sister and I are always practicing, trying to be open to all realities. We consider our dream life just as valid as the waking life. Sadly, I don’t really remember the night we wrote most of the new album, as we were in some kind of in-between state. However, I feel very emotionally connected to it.

I love the imagery in the title track, with contrasts between fantasy and reality. Why did this song become the title? 

EG: I like how the title is open for interpretation, and can support opposite ideas in the great debate. It’s nice to remember that is always true.

Which songs on this album are you more emotionally connected to? Are there some that you are more attached to, for whatever reasons, than others?

RG: ‘Secular Love’ and ‘Perfect Little Soul’ for me.

EG: I have cried every time I have listened to ‘Stone and Rock’ since we recorded it. It makes it hard to practice.

With the album coming out early next year, what are you looking forward the most in 2014?

RG: Touring the world hopefully!

EG: Yes. What he said.

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