It is a difficult affair to start to describe the music behind Gregory and the Hawk. For one, the name hides a wee lady called Meredith Godreau. Also, as much as it takes influences from Nick Drake and Liz Phair, as Meredith herself mentions them readily, it has a unique note in that it is Meredith and Meredith only being played through her songs. On her first time playing in the Welsh capital, at the Clwb Ifor Bach also known as the Welsh Club, Meredith agreed to answer a few of our questions…
Cat On The Wall: I’ve heard that the name Gregory and the Hawk came from your brother and his imaginary hawk friend?
Meredith Godreau: Well, Greg is my brother and it’s not exactly his imaginary friend, I think that was an internet spun story! It was just something I made up to go with his name.
COTW: So when did you start making music, what started you on your musical path, did you learn from childhood?
MG: I guess yes, my Mom really likes to sing and always sang in choirs and sang to us when we were little. Her brother played guitar and knew all the covers of kind of folk music stuff. I heard him play and thought it was really cool. I also took some lessons on string instruments and eventually just thought I wanted to teach myself guitar.
COTW: Who were your influences? Who do you like to listen to?
MG: I hate that question! (laughs) I never really know what to focus on! I feel like stuff that I listen to growing up effected me for my whole life kind of without choice so I always feel obligated to mention The Beatles and people I listened to in high school, I was really into Guided By Voices for a while.
COTW: You mention Liz Phair, Nick Drake and PJ Harvey as some of your influences in your promotional material. Are those your main influences or one way to simplify?
MG: I don’t know. PJ Harvey came as an afterthought when I was asking Adam when we were making the album ‘what do you think I should answer to this question?’ because I like a little bit of everything! He was saying that the album maybe sounded like PJ Harvey. I actually didn’t listen to her very much before I knew him so that made me discover her. The other two are totally things I’ve listened to for a while. Nick Drake is someone I really admire.
COTW: How does it make you feel when you see people on youtube doing covers of your songs?
MG: I guess mostly I feel really flattered. When I think about what’s actually happening right now, if I actually thought about it, it would be a little overwhelming to think that I wrote a song that suddenly a bunch of people were playing and even give a shit about! I don’t really think about it, I don’t go there! I try and keep everything down to earth.
COTW: Have you covered songs from other people?
MG: Yes! I did a cover I was really proud of once, it was Björk’s ‘Aeroplane’ and I recorded it thinking I could listen back to it later and relearn what I did because it was in a weird tuning. I listened to it back a couple of times and I was like “wow”, I’m pretty proud of that. That was before my computer died and I lost it forever! I never relearned it again as I don’t think it will be as good, maybe it would be better, who knows!
COTW: Is this your first time playing in Cardiff?
MG: Yes! It’s the first time we’ve ever been to Wales! We just came from Ireland, first time we’ve ever been there too! Then we went to Germany before that, first time there! (laughs)
COTW: How did the tour come about? Was it the audience nagging the record company to bring you over?
MG: In this case it was one guy who really likes our music and wanted to help us out by booking shows. I guess he’s been doing it for a while. His name is Scott Stuart, he has a little business called the Glass Agency. He rode up late one day and said do you want to do 3 weeks? Yes please! (laughs)
COTW: Are there any places you’d like to play?
MG: Well, in a couple of weeks I’m going to Japan and I’ve always wanted to play there. That’s really exciting. So excited to be there and get to play music! It’s awesome!
COTW: What’s your relationship with the fans? Do you get to meet them? Or are you more the shy type?
MG: I do like talking to people but yeah, there is that element too where I’m just like I don’t really understand, I don’t like to over think it or have too much… I don’t like hearing feedback too much because it makes me nervous! I get overwhelmed even when I’m talking to my friends! [Laughs] But it is nice, it’s cool to go to a live show and play and have an intimate sized audience and then get to meet people afterwards.
COTW: Is your name, Godreau, from a French origin?
MG: Well my Dad is Portorican, so it’s from his side of the family. I think it might have something to do with Portorico being in the Caribbean but no I don’t have any direct French relatives that I know.
COTW: Do you have any advice that you’d give aspiring musicians?
MG: Um… I’m so not in a position to give advice! [Laughs] I feel like I should be way more wise than I am now to give people advice! I guess there’s no real advice aside from liking every part of what you do… just being psyched to do it every day!
COTW: Nice! It sounds like it comes from experience, not something that you’ve planned. You go with the flow.
MG: Yeah it’s true, I feel like the only reason I still play music because it’s the only thing I’ve always wanted to do. I guess I could be doing something else but I didn’t always want to do that!
COTW: So you plan on doing this for a while still?
MG: I hope so, it’s kind of the only thing I know how to do!
Meredith’s album ‘Moenie & Kitchi’ is out now on Fat Cat Records.
Gregory and The Hawk on Myspace