GREYLAG: Brady Swan, Daniel Dixon, Andrew Stonestreet (left to right)
  • Chloe Aftel
  • GREYLAG: Brady Swan, Daniel Dixon, Andrew Stonestreet (left to right)
Portland band Greylag has just been signed to Dead Oceans, the stellar Bloomington/Austin label that's released albums by Nurses, White Hinterland, Brazos, and many others; it's connected to sister labels Secretly Canadian and Jagjaguwar and has one of the finest rosters around. Greylag's wanderlusting, exploratory sound—encompassing folk, rock, and folk-rock, but not easily fitting into any of those categories—is a perfect fit for Dead Oceans, particularly as the band's sound has been expanding since the release of 2012's The Only Way to Kill You EP. Greylag plays at Mississippi Studios this Sunday, July 27; in the meantime, we talked to Daniel Dixon about the exciting news.

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MERCURY: Congrats on the signing! How is the rest of your 2014 going?
Thanks! It’s going great. Summer is a special time in the Northwest and we’re really enjoying ourselves. And finally figuring out the whole label thing has really helped set in order what we’re join to do with the next few months of our lives. So that feels good.

SXSW was pretty crazy this year. Sounds like there were some highs and some lows?
Yeah, crazy for sure. We’ve found that many of the people that romanticize SXSW have never been there themselves, or it’s been a really long time. Over-stimulating sums it up pretty good. The streets are packed with drunk college spring-breakers, it’s usually really hot, and there’s constant blaring music from every direction, and you’re probably sleeping on an air-mattress—if you’re that lucky. But it’s a great place to meet up with old friends from out of town, and a really good way to get your music heard.

The whole night of the crash was just a really bizarre and sad moment. No one knew anything about what happened, and so you get to worrying when you can’t get ahold of your friends during a thing like that.

Is SXSW where you first connected with Dead Oceans? How did the signing come about?
We had talked with them a little before SXSW, but when they found out we were coming to Austin we decided to wait until then to meet up. They liked our show and we had a good feeling about the label and their people, and we just went back home and stayed in touch. It happened a few weeks after that.

Dead Oceans has so many of my favorites: Strand of Oaks, Tallest Man on Earth, Akron/Family, and on and on. Were you familiar with the label as its own entity? I think some people just know it's part of the Secretly triumvirate and not much beyond that. What are your favorite acts on the label?
Well, at that point I didn’t yet know they had any connection with Secretly Canadian or Jagjaguwar, so I couldn’t help but take them on the strength of their own merits. But it’s really great to have the support and resources of all three of the labels… Yeah, we love those guys, and Phosphorescent too!

You have a show coming up this Sunday at Mississippi Studios. I believe you played a Portland show earlier this year, but what should people who haven't seen you since 2012 expect from the show? How has Greylag's sound developed?
Our music has gotten much louder and heavier in the last few years. We feel like we’re really starting to find our identity as a band, and the quality of songwriting and performance is reflecting that. I think we just like what we’re doing now better, and it’s easier to put on a passionate show when you like what you’re doing.

Any more big news this year?
Well, we made a record a few months ago and we’re getting ready to release that soon, hopefully in the fall. And then the plan is to tour as much as possible after that. It’s been a while since we’ve been on the road, so we’re all really excited to get back out there.