Quarantunes with Grant Charney | Music | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Quarantunes with Grant Charney

click to enlarge Quarantunes with Grant Charney
Photo: Zach Bird
Grant Charney
We're stuck at home. Musicians are stuck at home. We're looking for entertainment. Musicians are looking to entertain. So Pittsburgh City Paper is working with Pittsburgh artists and bands to bring you Quarantunes, a series of at-home performances to bring a little enjoyment to your day.

Grant Charney became a solo act almost a year ago and in that short time, the musician has already released two albums on Steel City Death Club Recordings: YO! and People Are Strange.

That prolific output may be due to the running time of Charney's songs, usually clocking in around less than three minutes. The tracks draw influence from Devo, Talking Heads, and Dead Kennedys, with Charney utilizing analog synthesizers, virtual drums, catchy riffs, and quirky lyrics.

Charney relies heavily on visuals in his live set to complement the general weirdness of his songs. To him, his captivating art rock performances are just as important as the music itself. So to get the full experience, today's Quarantunes is a video of YO! The Show from a recent Feb. 1 show at the Mr. Roboto Project. Charney's act is an ever-evolving show featuring audience participation, costumes, props, projections, and more.

Watch the video and find out more about Charney below.

How are you adjusting to your new day-to-day routine?
I’m going to school for Industrial Design at CCAC so all of my studio classes have gone online, which has been a very interesting transition. However, I now have a lot of time to devote to writing and recording more music so that’s been pretty nice. It’s also nice just wearing sweatpants/pajamas.

Name a song that you feel encapsulates our current state.
"Government Flu" by Dead Kennedys. Jello Biafra said he writes a lot of his songs from “behind the guise of evil figures in order to expose them from their own perspective.” Not a direct quote but something along those lines. It’s crazy how in 1982 he managed to nail the 2020 conspiracy theorist.

What's been your favorite way to spend your time at home?
Really just working on music or a related project like that. However, I can get distracted with Animal Crossing very easily.

Tell us about the craziest dream you've had while quarantined.
I don’t really dream much/remember them in the morning and haven’t gotten any since quarantine. But this one time when I was a kid, I had a dream where I was in a lake and looked up and saw a flying saucer super far in the sky but close enough to make it out. Some other stuff happened I don’t really remember but then like five years later, I had a dream. Same lake, same spot, look up in the sky, UFO UP ABOVE, but now the craft is closer to the ground, some other people around noticed it as well. I remember waking up the next morning pretty freaked out.

A FEW YEARS LATER. SAME LAKE. SAME SPOT. LOOK UP. That thing was so close to the ground it took the tops off the trees, there were branches falling everywhere as this thing was floating over us crazy close to the ground. I only remember that one well because it was like the climax to this insane lifelong dream story. In the dream, it was super late at night but I ended up at a GameStop less than like an hour later, turns out across the street the UFO had crashed. I saw it and then I woke up. Haven’t had a dream about it since. Wild, right?

Are you working on any projects right now?
Yes! I’m currently working on an album called Tonic Clonic, which I’m aiming to put it out in late May/early June. I’ve also got some plans in the very near future to upload more videos to YouTube, so I’ve been trying to work on stuff like that.

How can people support your music during this time?
Listen to the music! Consume! Tell your friends! We’ve all got time to spend finding new things. My music is up on Spotify and all the other streaming services as well as all the other bands on Steel City Death Club. The Steel City Death Club Compilation is now live on all those services. We have all the Live at Steel City Death Club videos up there, and I’ve got some music videos/vlogs on my channel so there’s plenty of content there and more to come.