There’s certain bands in every musical genre that stick out from the crowd and make a sound unique enough to make it their own, while retaining an ever calming presence of the genre they fit into. Entering into the fray on a bigger scale are some dudes from Philadelphia that are collectively known as Grayscale. Making pop punk fun and cool is what these cats do, and with their debut album due out this Friday (2/12/16), everyone will be able to experience the greatness we have had a chance to hear. We were given a chance to interview these guys and spoke with the bands drummer, Nick Veno who had some pretty insightful things to say. Check it out below — and you can read our review of What We’re Missing here.
Kindly introduce yourself, what your role in the band is and something people may or may not be aware of.
What’s up, I’m Nick and I play drums in Grayscale. I broke my front tooth in half pole vaulting in high school.
Grayscale as a band has officially been a band since 2011. What was the idea behind the band and what made you gravitate towards the Alternative/Pop Punk genre of music?
We started jamming together as Grayscale when some of the guys were still in high school. I think it was right before I left for college. Really it was just something fun for us to do on the weekends, so we wrote some songs with the five of us together in both Collin and I’s basements and ended up recording them and putting them out on “Leaving”.
I’d say bands like Basement, Brand New, and Jimmy Eat World were all common ground for us. We all have pretty different musical backgrounds, though. I’ve always been a fan of 90’s grunge rock myself, so bands like Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins really inspired me to play hard and loud, without sacrificing technique or creativity. I also have an appreciation for pop punk as well, so drummers like Travis Barker and Cyrus Bolooki have always been huge influences for me as a drummer. Mike Kennedy of The Wonder Years is another, more modern, drummer who absolutely blows my mind sometimes with the way that he plays. All of these bands and drummers are reasons for me, personally, being attracted to playing Alternative Rock and Pop Punk music.
As a relatively new band, what’s been the hardest obstacle to overcome and what’s been the greatest achievement of your guys’ short career thus far?
It was definitely difficult making the band a priority while I was in school. Collin too. I went to school down in Nashville, Tennessee and Collin was at San Diego State University before transferring to school here in Philly. I graduated last year though and Collin only has a year left so we’re able to accomplish a lot more now that we’re all in the city. I think staying together with the same original lineup for four years now and making it through four years of being away at school was the most difficult obstacle for us to overcome.
I don’t know if we’ve had a single greatest achievement. We’re just looking forward to seeing what the future holds for us with the new record and we plan on working hard to make our name known throughout the scene.
Can you tell us a little about the recording process for your debut album, What We’re Missing? How did it differentiate from the process of recording the EPs?
We went up to Danvers, Massachusetts to record the songs for “What We’re Missing” with Gary Cioffi at Maximum Sound Studio. We entered with a bunch of ideas and demos that we did on our own, but ended up doing a lot of rewriting and restructuring while we were present in the studio with Gary. This was something we hadn’t really experienced prior to recording WWM.
What’s the best way to describe the overall theme and message conveyed with What We’re Missing?
To me, “What We’re Missing” is a collection of our thoughts, feelings, and stories from the past two years. They are easily the most honest and personal songs we’ve ever written or released. This record is meant to help any listener who has gone through or is currently going through a tough time in his or her life. If just one person can find comfort in our music and in our lyrics, then we have accomplished our goal with this record.
You worked with well-known producer Gary Cioffi on the album and you’ll hear about bands who go into the studio with a mindset of a certain sound and they come out with a more refined or different sound and message. Did Gary help shape the album into what it became or was your original vision left intact? What was it like working with him in general?
Gary is basically the sixth member of Grayscale. He’s the band dad. He played such a huge role in helping to craft each idea that we brought to the table into a full, well-rounded song. He’s such a versatile producer/musician too. He helped with everything. Drums, bass, guitars, melodies, lyrics, percussion… It was so important to have someone like him helping us to make this record as good as it possibly could be. He was never afraid to tell us when something sucked and needed to be improved either. He not only helped us to write these songs to the best of our abilities, but he pushed us as musicians to play our parts tighter and to play with more creativity and emotion. I really can’t speak highly enough of his work. Gary rules.
What’s your favorite song off the album, what was the hardest song to write and what’s the song that’s most fun to perform live?
I’m really happy with the way that “Catholic” turned out. I think it has the catchiest hooks, deepest lyrics, and most interesting musicianship all around. I love rehearsing that song at practice too, it gets everyone fired up. I can’t wait to start playing it at shows. I’d say it’s both my favorite and most fun to perform live. The hardest song for us to write may have been “Midwest”. I just remember Dallas and Andy working with Gary for a while trying to come up with a killer lead for the chorus. Gary and Collin worked really hard on the lyrics and vocal melodies too on that song.
Late last year, you guys opened up for Knuckle Puck. What was that like?
Surreal. We had never played in front of an audience like that before. Being the local opening band for the show, we weren’t expecting a crazy amount of people to be there watching us when we went on. The crowd totally blew our expectations away. People were excited from the moment we started. The energy was unbelievable, and it totally translated to us on stage. The more energy they had, the more we played the show with as well, and vice versa. It was an amazing show. And of course, Knuckle Puck, Head North, Seaway, and Sorority Noise were awesome as always.
Shooting for the moon in hypotheticals here, where do you hope to see Grayscale as a band in another 5 years? Backyard birthday parties, local band, world tour, etc?
As the WWE house band. Once we write an entrance theme for Dean Ambrose, I will feel at peace with the world.
If you could plan your dream tour for this year, who would you want to share the stage with most?
If it were up to me, I’d set up a tour with Basement, Balance And Composure, and Turnover. I don’t even care if we were on it, I’d go see those bands play together regardless.
With only a few weeks until the release of What We’re Missing, that’s a pretty big milestone coming up. What else do you have planned for the year that can be freely talked about at the moment?
Not much at the moment, unfortunately. We are looking to hit the road later this year though, so keep your eyes open for that. We also just released our 2016 Winter Merch Collection, which is pretty exciting. New hats, hoodies, and tees for everyone.
Lastly, what would you like to say to everyone who has a chance to read this.
Collin and I will never be defeated in Mario Kart Double Dash.
That wraps it up. Thanks for taking the time to chat with us and can’t wait to see what the future holds for you guys!
Thanks so much! Soundfiction rocks.