Grand Hallway's Tomo Nakayama on the Seattle Sound: "We're Overdue for a Sea Change"

Tomo Nakayama's band, Grand Hallway, is among the 70+ local bands playing SW's Reverb Festival on Oct. 8. Grand Hallway also plays the Columbia City Theatre on Saturday, along with the Maldives, in a benefit show for their friend Mark Giese.
This post is a part of special Reverb Questionnaire series in which we ask local bands to discuss the legacy of the Seattle music explosion of 1991, as well as the class of 2011.

What do you think the legacy of the 1991 grunge explosion is for the Seattle scene?

Grand Hallway's Tomo Nakayama: It really put Seattle on the musical map. I've lived here since I immigrated to the U.S. when I was 8. Seattle's been known as a music town for as long as I can remember, and it's really weird to imagine a time when people thought otherwise. Grunge is a small representation of one very specific moment in history, but it left an indelible mark on people's perceptions of the city People associate Seattle with Nirvana in the same way we associate Minneapolis with the Replacements and Prince.

Do you hear many influences of the sound in today's bands?

Kevin Murphy of the Moondoggies reminds me of Kurt Cobain.

In what ways is your band influenced by the 1991 sound?

Not so much in sound, but in attitude and ethics. We've always had a DIY approach to our music, and that was directly inspired by Nirvana. And even more than the music, the thing I remember most about Kurt Cobain is reading his liner notes to Incesticide where he said "if any of you in any way hate homosexuals, people of different color, or women, leave us the fuck alone!" He popularized the idea of sexual and racial equality that had always existed in the underground, but never in the mainstream conscience of American music, and that made a huge impression on me as a teenager.

How do you describe the Seattle sound today?

There's some cool stuff, but we're overdue for a sea change.

What were you doing on October 8, 1991?

I was in 5th grade, probably doing my homework and watching the Twins and Blue Jays ALCS game on TV.

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