Photo: Mickie Winters

Q&A: Louisville dream folk duo Genevva on looking back while staying present with debut album Slip Away

Genevva filters new through old. The dream folk duo is comprised of couple Jenni Cochran and Aaron Craker, formerly of Dr. Vitamin. When looking for a new moniker for their group Frederick the Younger, they looked to Cochran’s grandmother for inspiration.

Slip Away, their first project released as Genevva, originated as a quarantine EP, but the isolation did not inhibit the inspiration, mining the sounds of the 60s, 70s, and classic Hollywood overtures with a custom-made pickaxe. They aren’t so much recreating the wistful folk of Marianne Faithfull on opener “Gone With the Wind” or the countrified saunter of Linda Ronstadt on “Yin Yang” as they are showing how enduring these sounds are and how fresh they can remain when unified through themes of perseverance and togetherness, with Cochran’s vocals upfront and Craker’s arrangements being backdrops that give her words all the more room to travel. It’s not retro; it’s timeless.

Stream Slip Away below, and beneath read our email interview with Genevva.

How did your living space affect the writing and recording of this album?

Aaron and I were staying at my parent’s house for a stretch of 2020 and we had much more space to work in than we did in Louisville. We were used to living and working on top of each other. With two rooms we could work much more comfortably and with more focus. I would be in one room writing the structure, melody, lyrics and progression of a new song and Aaron would be working on a different song, tracking guitar, keys, etc. It was a really fun way to work. Also, recording at home allowed us to really delve deep into the project. We could work on it as much as we wanted and not have to wait until we saved enough money to go into a studio. It allowed for a lot of freedom. On the flip side, it’s hard to know when to stop, ha.

What are some other eras you’d like to capture in your music?

I would love to write some disco music, with those elaborate string parts. It’s out of our element and it would be a big undertaking, but disco just inherently feels good.  Bee Gees helped me get through 2020. I listened to “More than a Woman” at least 200 times.

What determines if a song will be more layered or more stripped-back?

That’s a really good question. I guess once we have our initial melody, we figure out what the BPMs should be, which is probably the thing we struggle with the most. We’ll go back and forth with BPMs for weeks. But once we figure out the right feel for the song, we’ll talk about what parts we imagine for the song. Aaron is the visionary when it comes to part-writing. And that’s probably his favorite part of the process. He’ll work for hours at a time until he finds a synth or guitar sound he likes. Then we’ll drive around at night and listen to what we added to the song that day. It’s really just working with your gut about what sounds right. If anything sticks out too much or we feel like it’s distracting from the vocals, we usually play around with it more. On this album we really wanted the vocals to be front and center.

What do you have planned for your next release?

We’re going to do a live recording of some of our songs from the album this weekend and release it as a live EP. Because we recorded these songs at home by ourselves, we really wanted to do alternate recordings of some of the songs that captured the energy of playing live.

What do you like to do outside of making music?

Aaron and I are very similar – we both like to be out in nature, camping, hiking, taking road trips. We also love comedy. We met in an improv comedy group in Louisville actually. Neither of us have had time to do improv lately but I have a serious itch to jump back in. Improv is a good alternative creative outlet for me and I definitely miss it.

Follow Genevva on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and on their website.