An Interview With Grey Star Ghost
With a tasteful and beautifully woven album release, Grey Star Ghost brings singer songwriter and indie-pop together in a cinematic and powerful atmosphere that paints vivid visuals and portrays a massive palette of sounds.
The Earth Still Moves album feels very personal and is interlaced with gorgeous vocal harmonies that come through with a softness that becomes alluring and as the record unravels, you begin to get a feel for the story line.
There is everything from love to existentialism on this release and it comes from the perspective of how things affect us emotionally.
These are relatable songs, and they have the ability to engulf you and kee you afloat.
Tremolo guitars, trumpets, acoustics, synths, and more fill the air and swim around you with a colorful and vibrant calmness that feels warming most of the time.
There is that theatrical aspect to the album that feels like it's a concept record of sorts. Like chapters in a play.
There is a lush soundscape and the whole thing sound and feels alive and breathing.
This was an absolutely beautiful album and it's best soaked in with headphones and some time.
With such an in-depth release, we wanted to have a quick chat with Grey Star Ghost to find out where this all came from.
Here's how it went down.
BuzzSlayers: Okay so let's start things off with the Earth Still Moves album. This record has a very personal feel to it. Where did this album come from?
In the summer of 2020 I moved from Denton, Texas to Albuquerque, New Mexico so my wife could pursue her career here. At the same time the global pandemic was getting worse so between that and being in a new city, there was a lot of isolation. I wrote these songs during that time, and they tell a story of leaving home, finding a new one, the observations of that change, and doing it during the pandemic. So, yes, it comes from personal experience, but hopefully also communicates some universality. BuzzSlayers: I'm certainly hearing some different styles mixed in on this one. Who are some of your biggest musical influences?
Some of my biggest longtime influences that I think come through in these songs are Elliott Smith and Sufjan Stevens. In the past few years, I've also been really influenced by Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus. They're great songwriters for one thing, and then in the studio, they do incredible things with production. I often try to take songs that can work with just vocals and acoustic guitar or piano but make them more complex and dynamic with added parts, and it seems like that's what these artists have done too. BuzzSlayers: The album feels like a concept record. Is that right?
I guess so! I didn't set out to write a concept album, but I did write it during a particular season of my life and in the world, so it does have a common thread throughout it. BuzzSlayers: How did this all start for you?
I've been writing songs almost since I started playing guitar as a young teen. At the beginning, of course, I played covers just as I was learning, but by the time I got the basic chords under my fingers I decided that my offering to the music world was writing my own songs. I've often said that there are a million better guitarists than me and another million better singers, but nobody else can write the songs that are in my head. I was in multiple bands in high school, but one main one where we played a lot of my songs and recorded an EP. This was before Spotify, Bandcamp, etc. if you can remember a time like that, so the EP is on my phone and the other band members have CD copies, but it's not really available to the public. Several years after that I formed a band in Denton, Texas with my friends and we called ourselves Grey Star Ghost. I had been in a really productive creative space for a few years, and we played almost exclusively original songs I had written. In the summer of 2019, we recorded our first album, Silence Found, which was released in January 2020. BuzzSlayers: Do you do any live performances?
I've just started doing some open mic type settings solo recently. With having moved to a new city in the past year and a half and with the pandemic, it's been challenging to get things going on that front, but it's one of my goals in 2022 - to perform live regularly...pandemic willing. BuzzSlayers: What kind of things inspire you to write?
To date I've mostly written from personal experiences. The writing of the first album, Silence Found, was largely therapeutic as I had gone through a really painful time. This one, Earth Still Moves, was written about what I was thinking and observing during this personal life change while the world was experiencing the pandemic. However, as I've continued to write there's more unreleased material that is outward about things I'm seeing in the world, of which I'm a small part, but they are not as inwardly personal. BuzzSlayers: Can we expect any music videos coming from you next year?
That's a goal I have at some point, I don't know about next year yet, it's possible. Definitely something I want to do down the line, but no firm plans for that as of now. I've actually really liked some music videos I've seen from other indie artists lately that are beautiful illustrations in motion, no filming of real people or settings. That could be something really cool to look into, in addition to filming one. BuzzSlayers: What's next for you as an artist?
There is...I've written the bones of another album (plus more for another album) and I need to get other musicians around me to come with their ideas and play the parts. I'd also really like to start playing shows as a band again. So, one of my goals for 2022 is to have a band again. It's been difficult with covid19 but hopefully in the not-too-distant future it will feel like the right time to get together and play with others again. If that happens, you can expect us to be in the studio again recording before too long.
BuzzSlayers: Who are you listening to right now?
Well, right now, because it's during the holidays, I've been listening to a lot of Sufjan Stevens Christmas music. There are some incredible songs in there regardless of them being seasonal. But in addition, I've been listening to Lucy Dacus' Home Video, Snail Mail's Valentine, The Killers' Pressure Machine, and Middle Kids' Today We're the Greatest a lot. All of those came out in 2021. I've also been getting more familiar with local Albuquerque artists, there's a great music scene here, like JD Nash, The Ordinary Things, and Lowmello, to name a few. All have had new music come out in the past year.
BuzzSlayers: What are you doing when you're NOT working on music?
Albuquerque has hundreds of great hikes, the Sandia mountains are close by, so I go hiking pretty regularly. I ride my bicycle around town to run errands, go to restaurants, etc. when the weathers nice. I like going to coffee shops and farmers markets and other pop-up markets as well. There's a really cool culture of DIY and handmade artistry in Albuquerque so there's always something cool to check out. I have a 2-year-old, so she keeps me busy. She has a ukulele that she strums and sings things like Wheels on the Bus and Baby Shark. In my day job I work for a research company, so I write surveys, analyze data, and create presentations, it keeps my mind engaged and helps fund my music passion.
BuzzSlayers: This album feels like a big undertaking. What kind of advice would you have for other up and coming bands out there?
Get out there and play as much as you can, say "Yes" to most gig opportunities if possible. I've long thought the best practice is performing. When it comes time to go to the studio and record, be organized with your goals for each session (what all parts you want to get down that day), but also be open to new ideas in the middle of recording. Often a new idea won't come until people in the band, or the recording engineer hears some of the pieces together first. At the same time, have some studio restraint. You could work on one song forever, and while some new ideas are good and add a lot, at some point you've got to wrap it up and get it out there.
BuzzSlayers: Before we go, what would you like to say to fans of the music?
Most of all I'd like to say thank you. And there is more to come.