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New Moon Radio: An Interview with Dead Possum Girlfriend

On May 9, 2022, I had the pleasure of interviewing Patrick Glynn of the up-and-coming folk punk band, Dead Possum Girlfriend! After performing alongside them at Unity Fest, a community gathering dedicated to celebrating the unionization of local Starbucks stores, I knew that I had to have them come on the show. The band is self-described as sometimes folk, sometimes punk, and always fun, singing songs from the river.

This interview is taken from New Moon, hosted by Isabella Stevens, on Mondays, 5-7PM.

Isabella Stevens: Patrick, thanks so much for being here with me today.

Patrick Glynn: Thanks for having me!

IS: I’m curious to know, how did your band get together, and how did you all start making music?

PG: Well, Dead Possum Girlfriend really started out as a pandemic project. It was just me, sitting on my porch with an acoustic guitar, playing the same improv songs multiple times. Then, I started writing some of my own music, and I was able to find the two other members that make up, I would say, the “core” of the band: Patrick, and my other friend, Hayden, who actually works at Starbucks with my wife. We were able to work together, and they added their own specialty flairs to everything, helping to evolve our music into what you hear today.

IS: That’s so awesome! Branching off of that, is there a story behind your band name?

PG: Not really, I wish that I could have a really funny story. But, I think, I was actually just singing a funny song about taxidermy and possums, and I just said that and thought, “Man, this is a great band name!” We just kind of stuck with it.

IS: Sometimes, that’s how the best band names form.

PG: Right!

IS: On another note, how did you become involved with the Richmond music scene and what has your experience there been like?

PG: So, for this band, the performance at The National was our first real show, because this project was really born of the pandemic. We really haven’t dived into the local music scene really yet. But we’re hoping to, and we have a couple of shows lined up in the Richmond area, so, we’ll see how that goes.

IS: Great, that’s so exciting! Any shows that you want to shout out?

PG: Not quite yet, they’re all still in the works, but hopefully soon!

IS: Awesome. I’m curious, what does your creative process look like, and how have you gone about writing your songs so far?

PG: So, the band is kind of in a transitional area. I had, I’d say, 5-7 songs by myself before I even had the other two members of the project. So right now, we’ve been kind of focusing on those songs. Since then, our writing process has kind of been... well, our guitar player, Hayden, is just a killer guitar player. And Patrick is a genius with lyrics as well as percussion, and I can keep a few tunes in my head occasionally, especially with some lyrics, right? So, we kind of just honestly jam and find a rhythm the we like and play around with it. I’m mostly, you know, our “studio man.” So once we jam, I’ll be looking back at sounds and stuff that we have previously created, like chord progressions, and I’ll record those and start building songs from there.

IS: Yeah! Kind of branching off of that, what’s the recording process look like and how do you go about producing your songs?

PG: So... my process is a little, well extremely, tedious. I actually do it all on an iPad, with just like two mics, a lot of time and effort, and a lot of EQ-ing and mixing. But, I usually just start with an acoustic guitar, and I just strum the chord progression and start adding layers, layers, layers... and next thing you know, you have a song. The only problem with me is like... remember when you would make a painting and people would say “no negative spaces?” Well, the second I hear a negative space in the music, I’m like, “Oh, there should be a tambourine right here,” or something, and next thing you know, you have like 83 tracks. I can’t stand a moment of silence in any of my songs.

IS: It’s kind of nice though; I like songs with a lot of layers like that. It’s really cool to hear!

PG: Yeah, definitely.

IS: Is there any common theme or idea in your music? Or, anything you’re hoping to write about with this new band?

PG: Mostly, my stuff, especially what I write, is just about my life in Richmond. I like to think of Dead Possum Girlfriend as, like, the folk band of Richmond. It kind of has songs about how you would feel about Richmond, places that people have been to... like, my one song, Bitsy’s Rock, is about the journey when you’re walking around the river, all the crazy things you see that I think you only get in a Richmond river. It’s kind of like, music for Richmonders, about Richmonders.

IS: Yeah, I love that! Is there any specific reason why you picked folk punk as a genre to convey that?

PG: Punk played a huge part of my entire life, I’ve played in mostly punk bands for most of my life. And folk, I think, is music for people especially in the working class. Sometimes, folk gets construed as this, like, “high-brow music,” when I think deep down that folk is traditionally music of lower-class people. And that’s what punk is, and I think the merging of them sounds really cool. Acoustic guitars and an angry message works just as well as heavy guitars and screaming.

IS: Yeah, I think that’s really interesting. Have there been any particular influences on your songwriting and the type of music you try to produce?

PG: For my music, Rancid was a huge band growing up for me. I love 90s and 2000s punk, as well as one of my favorite bands of all time, Old Crow Medicine Show, which is kind of a faster, looser side of the bluegrass movement. And then, of course, Bob Dylan. He’s a genius about everything. And I think, although those are all very different sounding types of music, they all convey a similar message. They’re true songs about true people and things.

IS: I love that. What do you think has been your favorite piece you’ve written so far?

PG: Oh, so you’re making me choose between all of my favorite children.

IS: I know, kind of a broad question, but...

PG: I don’t know, the problem I have is that I have made a lot of music for a long time. I have made music in punk bands, in metal bands; I’ve made electronic music for a long time. But really, I think Dead Possum Girlfriend is the truest thing to what I would call “my music” and how I feel.

IS: That’s great! Do you have any releases coming in the future with the band?

PG: Yes, we do have our first album coming out in July. And also, we’re going to be on a folk punk collab with a bunch of people from around the United States as well as with a couple of people from the Netherlands and stuff. It’s helping out the Trans Lifeline charity, and all of the money from it will go to them and help out people in the transgender community.

IS: Wow, that’s really great.

PG: Thank you.

IS: What do you think have been some of the challenges that you’ve faced as an up-and-coming band, so far?

PG: Really, COVID has put a huge dent in all music establishments, for new bands... it’s so hard to get shows nowadays, because all of the bands are looking to play now. You know, especially in Richmond, it’s a very oversaturated place with music. Which, is not a bad thing, but makes it hard starting out. Really, getting shows is a difficult thing and I feel like you have to know people and have a reputation. But, if you don’t have a reputation, it’s hard to get started.

IS: Have you thought about trying to play at the Richmond Folk Festival?

PG: Oh no... maybe one day. I would play anywhere really. I just love playing.

IS: Kind of on the other end of that question, what do you think have been some of your greatest successes as a local artist and what does it mean to you to be a Richmond band?

PG: I think Richmond is a beautiful place for music, arts, nature, life in general. It’s my home and it always has been my home. I’ve enjoyed sharing that with other people. I would say, when we played at Unity Fest, it was a great moment. We played a lot of union songs and hearing people sing and be passionate about it was very cool. Like, we played “Solidarity Forever,” and I don’t think we actually finished the song. We got maybe two verses in and then the crowd just kept singing the chorus, and we just let them do their thing. It was a really cool moment and it was beyond what we were playing, it was a whole thing in itself.

IS: That’s really amazing. I have one more question for you today, what direction do you hope to see the band moving in for the future?

PG: So, adding Hayden and Patrick has really opened up the musical world for me. Our first album has a little bit more of the folk-y side of it, but we’re beginning to play more jazz-y stuff, blues... I’m starting to play the accordion in some of our stuff. So, I think we just want to keep branching out, all three of us. I can get super bored playing the same sounds and the same thing, so I think it’s just going to be a future of trying new things, experimenting, having fun, and continuing to make music.

IS: That’s awesome! Thank you so much again for being here!

PG: Yeah, thanks for having me!

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