Buttercup proves that minimalist music equals maximum enjoyment on new album, “Grand Marais”

San Antonio-based indie-pop band Buttercup has just released its gorgeously minimalist album, “Grand Marais.” The band’s lead singer/keyboardist/guitarist Erik Sanden sat down with @skopemag to talk about this emotional collection of songs.

@skopemag: Tell us about your new album, “Grand Marais.”

Erik Sanden: This record is so minimal that it kinda scares me—there is so little to hide behind. But it resonates with our audience and is easy to tour. We can transport our whole stage setup on a couple of bicycles. It’s about the power of music to intoxicate, to heal, and bring you back to a memory. The album is all about stripping stuff away until it’s in its rawest form.

@skopemag: What inspired the song “Morrissey for Company”?

Erik Sanden: It’s us wearing our hearts upon our sleeves. I spent a long time in a kind of teenage obsession with The Smiths and Morrissey when I was really sad. The music spoke to me then, and, although I was itching a wound, it was a rare gift. There are those who say sad songs should be avoided, but they are wrong.

@skopemag: What is your favorite song on the album?

Erik Sanden: “I Can’t.” That song made me cry on stage in Seattle—in the best way possible. The song builds to this crazy, pulsing, rhythmic crescendo that I still can’t believe is just an acoustic guitar and a bass.

@skopemag: What made you choose your album title?

Erik Sanden: It represents longing. Grand Marais is a small town in northern Minnesota teetering on the edge of Canada, where my grandfather built a cabin in the woods. It’s beside the coldest, biggest-volume lake in the world. It’s about the furthest point due north from our super-hot hometown of San Antonio, Texas. When I sit on my front porch and gaze north, I’m looking toward GM.

@skopemag: How would you describe your music to people who haven’t heard it before?

Erik Sanden: It’s a melodic patchwork over a series of thought experiments. Or it sorta sounds like The Kinks if they had a child with Andy Kaufman.