Interviewing band’s close to my hometown is one of my favorite things as I love seeing my local scene grow into something spectacular. This time I had the pleasure of interviewing Grayson Ross from Face Value, a Pop Punk/Alt Rock band from Baltimore, Maryland. The band has an upcoming EP entitled, ‘Thick As Thieves’ out June 3rd which you can pre-order on Bandcamp. In the interview we talk about how the band met, what separates them from other Pop Punk/Alt Rock bands, their upcoming EP & more!
Kindly introduce yourself, what your position in the band is, and one random fact someone may or may not know:
Hey humans. My name is Grayson Ross and I play rhythm guitar. An interesting fact about me is that getting haircuts makes me want to fall asleep…the actual act of, not the idea.
Tell us a little about ‘Face Value’, how you met, how you formed, & how you decided on the band name:
Well Alec and Jeremiah have been playing music together for a while before they met my brother (Parker Ross) and I. They went to a party one night back in early 2014 and met Parker through a mutual friend who introduced them because they all liked Blink. They got to talking and Park started playing some bass for a show and then Park told me about it and I stepped in so Park could play lead guitar and everything just kind of fell in place pretty quickly. Then they branded me on my left butt cheek, like a cattle.
What do you think separates you from other band’s in the local Pop Punk/Alt Rock genre?
I don’t want to say I think we have a different sound because everybody does that… I do think we bring something different to the table because Alec and Jeb like that modern pop-punk sound and listen to a lot of those bands (Knuckle Puck, TSSF, State Champs, etc.) while Park and I are more into the effecty, more pop side of things but we grew up worshipping bands like Sum 41, Blink, Good Charlotte, Yellowcard, etc. This new EP definitely has a mix of our influences and I just want people to conjure some explanation of our music on their own, without me saying I think we stand out, even though I think we do a little. Shit, I just couldn’t help myself!
So you guys have an EP coming out soon, on June 3rd titled, ‘Thick As Thieves’, how did you guys settle on a name for the EP?
It’s a lyric in our song, “EFF Sharp”, and we were going over EP titles for a while but this one just stuck out to us. It has a nice sound. I think the literary element is alliteration? “Th” sounds cool. And Park came up with an idea for artwork about a car speeding away or a bank robbery scene… even though that didn’t turn out completely how we thought, the name still sounded cool and fit some aspect of it.
What was it like recording with Paul Leavitt & Will Beasley?
We recorded with Will back last October so it has been a while. Will is a great guy. He’s still pretty young, younger than me actually. When he opened the door, his eyes were super read and glazed. I didn’t know you could get allergies in the fall?
Paul was a very interesting dude for sure. Recording with him was awesome because he pushed us pretty hard. He also wasn’t afraid to be super forward with us, which stings at first but you are thankful for it in the end (he was gentle with the paddle).
Recording is the best part of being in a band, for me. I just love seeing a song come to life and having everybody go through their parts. It’s truly where you show your skill as a musician and it’s a shit load of fun, too. I love watching Alec get anxiety on vocal days!
What do you think the most difficult part during the writing and recording process was?
I think the difficult part is when it gets closer to going into the studio and you have to finalize ideas. I’m the type of person who wants to know everything and be prepared and music is something where you don’t need a lot of structure for it to turn out awesome. Or maybe you do? I don’t know. We started writing in early fall of 2015 and after our acoustic tour into early January, we had about 95% of everything ready. We just make tiny changes in the studio, which is fun to exchange ideas with Paul and bounce stuff off of each other, like his dog or a small child.
Are there any tracks in specific that have a special meaning to you?
Uhm… I think they all are sick. They’re all special in their own way. So cliché, I’m sorry. One that sticks out is “Constellations”. It’s cool because Park and I wrote it a few years ago pretty much but we wrote in 3/4 time and it was more of a rock ballad. Fuck that, we decided to put it into 4/4, speed it up, and layer Alec’s buttery smooth vocals overtop and it turned out awesome as hell. It’s like a mix of rock, punk, pop, and Alec’s soft, flowing hair.
Favorite lyric from any of the 6 songs?
Well, I’m just psyched I got a chance to help write some of the lyrics for this EP. I always thought I sucked at it but once you get into a zone, you can churn out some pretty meaningful words if you try hard enough. I helped out with “Constellations” and “Concrete Steps”. If you hate some of the words in those songs, they’re probably the ones I wrote.
What do you want fans to take from ‘Thick As Thieves’?
We just want people to hear our stuff, and hopefully like it. The songs deal with anxiety, depression, lack of confidence, and sad things like your friends growing apart, people being hypocrites, etc.. Just Kidding (We cover up our negative words with upbeat instrumentation) I hope fans like our style of music because I think it’s a good mix of pop-punk and rock and alternative, something I don’t hear a lot of especially on the radio or mainstream media.
Do you guys have any plans for a music video for one or more of the songs?
Funny you should ask. We actually just finished a video today! We know a great guy who has really helped us out with our previous music videos (Up Late and Car Door). We are releasing one for “EFF Sharp” and planning another but that will be a surprise for you whippersnappers. You can check out our YouTube page or socials for updates on them!
You guys recently played LAUNCH 2016, what was that experience like?
It was a killer time. We played the outdoor stage and I think people were picking up what we were putting down. It was our first music conference but hopefully it won’t be our last. We also put “EFF Sharp” on the conference compilation CD so that was kind of cool. I wonder if any important people heard it? Probably not.
What can fans expect after the release of ‘Thick As Thieves’? More touring possibly?
Well, this summer we’re all super busy so I don’t think we are touring like we did last summer. But we definitely want to do some weekenders and we have a lot of shows around Baltimore. Who knows what’s to come.
Lastly, if you had to pick what would your Top 5 albums of all time be?
Oh man… This is tough. I know this is a weird answer but in no particular order…
- Enema of the State (…duh)
- The Black Parade (MCR)
- Southern Air (Yellowcard, even though every album they’ve put out is like peanut butter and jelly i.e. awesome as fuck),
- Something by the Backstreet Boys, and I don’t know what else… I apologize.
That about wraps it up, thank you for taking time out of your day to speak with us. Is there anything else you’d like to say or announce to the readers?
Keep an eye out on our socials for updates and more music/music videos and come to a show and say hey to us! Alec doesn’t bite, hard.
You can listen to the latest track, ‘EFF Sharp’ from the band’s upcoming EP, ‘Thick As Thieves’ below:
[bandcamp width=350 height=470 album=435716209 size=large bgcol=ffffff linkcol=63b2cc tracklist=false track=3766728440]