There is a segment of the population that seems to possess the powers of Midas – turning all that they touch into gold. For Ted Joyner and Grant Widmer, it all started with the band Eames Era. Joyner, Widmer and three friends pooled their musical minds while attending LSU and quickly found national recognition.
After dissolving that band, Joyner and Widmer moved back to New Orleans and formed Generationals. However, they are far from smug about their continuing fame.
“We didn’t expect to be popular, because we weren’t good at playing New Orleans music,” Widmer said. “We’re still nothing. No one knows who we are here.”
That’s evidently not true. The duo’s single “Yours Forever,” a soft love ballad from their second full-length album, “Actor-Caster,” was featured on Judd Apatow and Lena Dunham’s Golden Globe-winning HBO series “Girls.” Featured on the same soundtrack are the likes of Santigold, Fleet Foxes and Belle & Sebastian.
“When they were putting together the music for ‘Girls,’ the only thing they told us was that it’s an HBO show being produced by Judd Apatow,” Widmer said. “We approved the song thinking it would be a gross-out funny show.”
But taking a big risk yielded a big reward. It took no time for the pair’s career to take off. Since Generationals’ inception in 2009, Widmer and Joyner have released three full-length records and two extended plays. Their music has been featured internationally on the silver screen and in countless advertisements.
Generationals’ newest release, “Heza” is a maturing of their pop rock expression. The music has a sound reminiscent of the “make love, not war” era of the ’60s. You might wonder if the two men were cryogenically preserved then, defrosted now and stumbled upon guitars and synths with which to harmonize sweet sentiments.
The band’s instrumental expertise has progressed since high school, when they “learned just enough guitar to play Beatles songs,” Widmer said.
But their message remains simple: You love someone, you miss them, you mess up, you break up then make up. That explains the reason behind Generationals’ wide appeal. Who can really say they have never ridden the rollercoaster of romantic relationships?
“We try to keep our songs about things that are true and experiences we’ve had in our own lives,” Widmer said. “Conflict in personal relationships is most interesting.”
The duo’s imagination doesn’t end at their music. Each new release and respective tour brings the band an opportunity to design a look for the entire project, adding visual appeal to augment the aural experience.
“We’ve made a couple music videos. We’re putting together visual art and lighting concepts for the tour. We use elements from the album artwork to dress the stage,” Widmer said.
Generationals ignite their North American spring tour in Baton Rouge on April 11 at Mud & Water. They will also perform in Lafayette on May 31, at Downtown Alive! and Artmosphere and the Maison in New Orleans on Jun. 21.
Check out their new album, “Heza,” on Spotify and buy tickets to shows at generationals.com/shows.