GREGORY ALAN ISAKOV
POTF: You moved from South Africa to the States as a kid. How was your childhood after this big step?
Gregory: My dad got a job in the U.S., so we all moved here. At the time, we didn't really have a lot of money, so we all shared a one-bedroom apartment for awhile, and then we moved to another small house. During that time, my brothers and I got really close and hung out all the time. We played a lot of music together. It was a cool time growing up.
POTF: When did you start playing an instrument or writing songs?
Gregory: I was in high school. I think I was 15 or 16 years old.
POTF: What was the first song you wrote? Have you published it?
Gregory: I actually don't remember the first song I wrote. I think there were a couple of songs I was working on at the same time. They were punk rock songs -- probably both in the key of C. But no, they were never published. Probably should keep those in a dark basement (laughs).
POTF: Do you remember that moment when you realized that you want to be a musician?
Gregory: Well, I've always just played music, but I think the first time I realized that I could play music for a living was when I was living on my friend's farm. I remember thinking about being a musician, and wondering if it was even possible. At the time, I was just doing landscaping jobs, but I was offered a gig up in the mountains. I think the payout was a few hundred dollars, and it occurred to me that was the same amount I would make if I spent several days laying flagstone, so I wondered if I could just play more often and make a living that way. So far it's working out, but I still do a lot of gardening work.
POTF: What is the most meaningful song to you and why?
Gregory: I don't think there's a specific song that is the most meaningful to me. They all feel meaningful in some way. But I do think some of the songs on "This Empty Northern Hemisphere" carry a little more weight -- particularly "Master and a Hound" and "San Francisco," When I wrote them, I had just moved back in with my parents because my dad was sick. I was living in their basement, writing a lot, and things were just hard. A lot of the songs that came out of that time -- the songs on that album -- still feel especially heavy.
POTF: Please finish us this sentence, "I am totally satisfied when, ..."
GREGORY: I finish a song. Finishing a song is hard sometimes. I usually know it's truly finished when everything else I try to do to the song doesn't make it any better. Then it's done.
It's also really satisfying to just see people at our shows. A lot of bands are always trying to play bigger rooms or gain popularity, but last night, for example, we played a show in Wisconsin at a small opera house -- and it wasn't even completely full -- but we were just so excited to see that people came. It's still so crazy to me that people take time out of their day to come and listen to us play music. It's an honor really.
His Album "This Empty Northern Hemisphere" available on Itunes