Friday 30 August 2013

***GREYSCALE exclusive interview*** and band review

This post's artist is from the July 2013 Mix. This is track #9.

GenresPost-Hardcore / Screamo / Punk / Rock
Related artistsAdaje.
Country: Memphis, USA
Years Active: 2012-present
Song: "Iron Veins"
Album: "A Breathe Of Fresh Air"
Year: 2012
For fans of: Funeral Diner, City Of Caterpillar, L'Antietam, Off Minor, Todos Caeran, Coma
                    Regalia, The Fiction, The Fall Of Troy, D'Amore, (old/good) Hopesfall, Itto,
                    and Deers aka Proper SCREAMO.

Before the interview, let me first talk quickly about GREYSCALE's first EP, 'A Breath Of Fresh Air'.

The band employs some beautiful dynamics with their instrumentation - be it groovin', twinkly or serene. Just listen to the introduction of "The Closer You Get to the Light, the Stronger Your Shadow
Becomes" to get a good idea of this - or "Iron Veins". They generally balance these slow and intricate parts with speedy chaotic parts - but perhaps balance isn't the right word, as they're usually a little more heavy on the hardness.

The vocals jump between two vocalists and range from lower, coarse yelling to very high-pitched screaming. From what I've read, the lyrics are great and very introspective. I find that bands which incorporate the soft/hard dynamic of screamo can choose very poor placement for their vocals. This is not the case with GREYSCALE, as the vocals carry their own beat that still fits with the instrumentals.

You can listen to the band's first EP here. They are releasing a new split with Coma Regalia which you can stream here. It looks like they may have another split coming out soon with Our Weakness, as well. If these guys record a proper LP I'm going to shit myself - as I'm salivating at the direction they're going in.

Scroll down to read my interview with Zo who is one of the guitarists in GREYSCALE and a former Adaje member. It's a great interview with some very honest and entertaining answers.

Can you reveal anything interesting about the other band members?
Zo:  Chance has a tight ass. Barrett is unbearably afraid of homeless people. Sameer has disgusting sleeping habits.

How did you guys meet? How did you get involved in the band together?
Zo: I met Sameer when he was born. That was pretty cool. Chance and I met under pretty strange circumstances involving a girl neither of us are in contact with anymore. We ran into each other a couple years later and became fast friends over people we didn't like, fake screamo bands from 2004, and copious amounts of food consumption. Barrett I met at a show Sameer's and my old band Adaje played at, which was a church. He walked up to me and whispered sweet nothings about our band. It was cute. I've been in love with him ever since. A year later Adaje broke up and we all wanted to start a band together with our friend Taylor calling it a "best friend band". Taylor quit a few months in, but we all remain close to him. Hell yeah.

Can you describe any of your personal (or band) conflicts?

Zo: My only personal conflict is always and always trying to make the most out of this life I've been given. I try to keep my mind and my heart honest and so far it's worked out pretty well. As far as band conflicts go, we hit a rough patch on our last tour, but since then we've all hashed it out and focused on what really matters to us in this band.

What can you tell us about ADAJE? - as I’m aware at least one of your members were in that band. I must say, I love “Caveman Not Cometh”, “Pending”, “KWC” and “Harrowing Sounds From The Ravine”.

Zo: Sameer and I started Adaje in 2006 while I was still in high school and Sameer was in grade school still. From 2006 to 2012 we stayed pretty active as far as touring and putting out releases. The band went from sounding like a metalcore Fear Before the March of Flames, to a post hardcore/emo outfit, and finally ended on our last full length ‘Yore Veils’. A few months later I broke up the band as it was becoming something that I wasn't enjoying and that should always be the basis of being in a band. To help you forget about the bullshit we all deal with and to be an outlet to vent all that. Not add on to a list of problems and stress.

Can you describe what it was like to leave band practice after writing the song “Iron Veins”?  I love that song!

Zo: We were all super stoked on that song as soon as we finished it. But come to think of it, after every song we write we get stoked on it. I think it's been that way since we started a year ago which is good. You want to be stoked and proud of every song you write. All killer no filler.

Do you feel like your new/next material can be likened to something in regards to its significance – such as a thought, idea, feeling or specific purpose? Is this communicated lyrically, instrumentally or thematically? (If this question is too ridiculous, how’s this -> “Can you talk about your new material?”)

Zo: I have more of a role in the instrumental communication of things in the band. Chance writes all the lyrics and is usually behind concepts, artwork, and keeping an eye on the overall aesthetic of the band. Musically, the 4 of us communicate very well. It's gotten even better lately because everyone's been bringing their own ideas to practice to elaborate on. Practices are becoming more of an event rather than fulfilling 2 hours of playing music. As far as new songs go, the 5 songs we recorded earlier this summer played a little bit to our aggressive, slightly more abrasive side. They're faster, tighter and transition smoother than our last batch. But now we just started writing again after we got back from this tour, and there's already a progression into a more full, aesthetically pleasing sound. Think "Iron Chance" but more room to breathe.

Who were your primary influences when you started playing music and who are they now?

Zo: As a guitarist, my first real influence was The Fall Of Troy. I love every aspect of that band's writing and for what they did, they were wildly underrated. Nowadays, I prefer not to think of any certain band when I’m writing to try to come up something new and fresh. Although I’m sure people listen to our songs and think "this sounds like so-and-so", that's fine with me. I'm not trying to write something completely original. Just something completely honest.

What was the first song that you remember covering?

Zo: “The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows” by Brand New

What song would you like to cover?
Zo: "I’m Just a Girl" by No Doubt

What kind of emotions and thoughts occur when people define your band, on purpose or by accident?

Zo:  Most of the time I don't agree with people's interpretations or references to what we sound like, but I'll just be like, "Oh thanks man". It doesn't bother me much because everybody has their own ears and own way of deducting what a band sounds like. However, if somebody came up to me after we play and was like "DUDE LYKE IF KATY PERRY AND MATCHBOX TWENTY COLLABORATED. FUCK YEAH.", I'd be like wtf?

If you had to slap a genre label on GREYSCALE so potential new listeners could get a good idea of your sound without hearing you, what would you label yourselves as?

Zo: Stoner pop

Are there times when you feel like the writing process stagnates? How do you overcome this?
Zo: When the band is writing together, not at all. We all bounce ideas off of each other like it's nothing. When I’m at home trying to get a riff going however, it happens sometimes. When it does, I just put the guitar down and let the idea come to me. Whenever I try to force something out, it ends up getting tossed to the wayside.

Please describe the people, in general, that are associated with the music that you create – whether it be during the process, talking to people at shows, etc.

Zo: I can honestly say the people that we play shows with/for all across the country are the most genuine, nicest, most respectable people I've ever met. We go to their town and they take us in, give us a place to stay, feed us and put on killer shows. When their band rolls through Memphis, we do the exact same thing. This community of DIY punk bands is something so rare and so special, and if you're stupid enough to take it for granted then that is unfortunate.

What pisses you off the most at shows that you attend? Or, to put a more positive spin on that question, what do you think could be done to improve playing shows? (attitudes/people/promoters/bands/etc.)

Zo: What bums me out is that 90% of the time, kids go to shows because their friend's band is playing. They go for that band and could give two shits about the other bands playing. From a musician's perspective, it's insulting. We put a lot into the songs we write, so when we get up and play them at shows, we at least want people to give us their undivided attention for 20 minutes. That's all we ask for. Afterwards you can go right back to ignoring us and talking to your friends who you came there to see. You asked about people, promoters, and bands. The answer is all about the attitude. Good attitudes at shows affect everything about them. The band's energy, the people's energy and how well the show is promoted. Most of the time, it takes being in a touring band to understand what touring bands need. The funny thing is, all we want is a good fucking show.

What are your future touring plans?

Zo: This winter we're heading out west with our friends in the band "Been" featuring members of Alta and Acidic Tree for 11 days. Then next summer we're heading up to Canada (hopefully).

If you could get in a time machine and go back to see any band (NOT show specific) who would you want to see?

Zo: I would've absolutely loved to see City Of Caterpillar. Or These Arms Are Snakes. Both on one show would be the tits.

Do you find it hard to balance objectivity with emotion when listening to/playing/talking about music?

Zo: I used to have a hard time with it because I care so much about music. Like, a lot. So when I would see a band that I didn't like, I'd get pissed off and write them off completely. But then I realized that it backfired and my love for music was being compromised, so I took a step back. I still see and know bands that I don't like, but my passion and love for music outweigh what pisses me off about it, and that allows me to look at things more objectively in that department.

What music that you used to love do you look back on and shake your head at?

Zo:  I had my metalcore phase just like everybody else. Although I still listen to Killswitch Engage and everyone I know hates it. It's awesome.

Besides music, what do you spend your time doing? What are your hobbies?

Zo: Videogames. Comics. Driving like a maniac.

What’s the best thing about being in GREYSCALE?

Zo: The fact that we work just as hard as an active touring band that tours 6 months out of the year but still retain the love for each other and for our music. Once you lose yourself completely from doing what you love, then it's time to take a step back. I can happily say that the 4 of us remain very close and have been having the best time playing in this band the past year.

What’s the most challenging thing about being in GREYSCALE?
Zo: Well like I said earlier, we all bounce ideas off of each other at practice, but sometimes that backfires. Chance and I are pretty opinionated, so we'll clash from time to time, but 5 minutes later we're all good.

What was your first thought when I asked you to do this interview?

Zo: "I hope he doesn't ask us stupid questions."

I don’t drink anymore but I used to, and I have some crazy stories. I’m sure you guys can top me. Do tell.

Zo: I’m sure Chance elaborated on this a little, but on this past tour we had some fun nights. In Champaign, IL however, things just got stupid. We played with Gas Up yr Hearse that night and they took us to a party/place to crash for the night. Chance got some whiskey and Sameer got four loco. Yes I said four loco and am still saying four loco. He would take a shot of whiskey and chase it with that shit. So we're all hanging out, and this beyond drunk dude walks outside and just starts spewing utter nonsense. Chance nicknames him "fuckboy" and kept calling him that. He didn't appreciate and punched chance in the back of the head. Chance then turns around and is like "really?" then pushes the dude off this porch which is like a 5 foot drop. He gets up without a scratch and was like "that was a little aggressive." 5 minutes later Chance is taking a picture with these friends we made and Sameer walks out laughing hysterically and fucks up the whole picture. When everybody left we passed out but before hearing Sameer throw up all over the floor in some dude's room. Good times. Then there was the time where we played sxsw last year with Adaje and Chance got lone star drunk which I believe is 12% alcohol. He didn't know this, got way too drunk, and moshed his dick off to Full of Hell. Chance does not mosh so it pretty much made our night.


2012 - A Breath Of Fresh Air cd (stream/download/purchase here)

2013 - Coma Regalia Split 7" (stream here)

GREYSCALE additional links

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