One of the biggest LPs to drop in 2016 for us at MA has definitely been the new one from The Greys, ‘Notions of Emotions’. Unique doesn’t even begin to describe this album, full of spooky sci-fi vibes, groovy hip hop beats and everything in between – this album is atmospheric and something different that we’ve been craving. Following the release, we also got a chance to talk to the man behind the music about the new album and more, so keep reading for a full album review and interview with The Greys.
You’ve just released a new album, ‘Notions for Emotions’ – tell us a little bit about the story behind that. What are your favourite tracks? What do you hope people will take away from it?
It’s basically a collection of ideas that I’ve composed on the road and polished up when I got back home, so I feel it expresses the stress and joy of touring and everything in-between. Most of the inspiration came down to places I visited across the USA and the people I crossed while I was touring. One of the tracks I enjoyed putting together the most was “Leaving”, as it was a rework of an older track with some stunning vocals from Chelsea Uniqorn, it was really nice to wrap vocals around the original beat and expand on old ideas to create a new story. It was also a pleasure to have Ganja White Night add their touch to the track too, giving it a fresh revamp… I met these guys at Infrasound Equinox (2015) in Wisconsin which we both performed at, so it’s been fantastic to have their influence on there album with “Leaving” and their remix of “U”.
It’s been a great journey with Gradient Audio finishing up this album, I’ve had nothing but support and patience from Jason (Label Manager) to get things right since the start of 2016, I’ll let the rest of the album explain it’s self and I hope people can hear what I felt during the process. Big shouts out to DMVU & Theone too who I also had the opportunity to collaborate with during this production.”
The first track on the album starts with a soft piano tune that is atmospheric, blissful, and serene, and really sets the tone for the rest of the album. This is an album you will be able to completely immerse yourself in, and not be able to stop once you hear the next track.
The second track is a rework of an older song, ‘Leaving’, which starts off with a deep hip hop rhythm under the soulful voice of Chelsea Uniqorn, delivering some truly powerful lyrics we can all relate to. ‘Leaving’ is one of The Greys’ favourite tracks, and we’re sure it will be on of yours, too.
Closed Mind is another really atmospheric track with another beautiful singer lending her voice to this masterpiece, Theone. A powerful and soulful tune, this third track is a bit more uplifting but no less passionate than the album’s openers, and if you’re not hooked on The Grey’s unique sound by now, wait until you hear the next track.
‘Need You’ starts out with a sample from a rocket launch (keeping in perfect harmony with the sci-fi vibes we’ve grown to love from The Greys) and leads into a funky, rhythmic tune you can’t help but nod your head along to. The sounds on this track permeate any room or space, and fill it with a really dimensional quality that is hard to find these days, but is consistently delivered on this LP.
Track five, ‘Happy Birthday’, is definitely the most unique birthday song we’ve heard in a while, but we know we’ll be playing it every year from now on. The song has the same impact as a drop of water in an otherwise soundless space, and DMVU’s unique sound paired with the vocals on the track makes it just a little bit sensual.
‘Believe’ has a real 1920s swing vibe that is sure to get you dancing. Jazzy horns paired with such a soulful voice makes this track one of our favourites on the album, although it’s not like The Greys have made choosing favourites easy on this one.
‘Gizmo’ brings us back to those sci-fi vibes we know and love from The Greys, sampling from the 1950s cult classic “War of the Worlds”. It’s a spookier tune that sort of keeps you on edge with a fast beat to match your heart rate.
Track 8, ‘500 Years’, is another track influenced by The Greys’ namesake, which we got the chance to discuss in our exclusive interview with him this week.
We’ve noticed more than a few sci-fi references in a lot of your tracks – what sparked your interest in that?
It’s more of an influence from a conspiracy that these greys aliens inhabit our planet under ground, I tend to try stick along that theme as much as possible, using samples from documentaries to help me tell this story and provide a back bone to the extra-terrestrial atmosphere’s I intend to create. But yeah, it’s basically the origin of many UFO stories. It is commonly associated with the Betty and Barney Hill abduction claim which took place in 1961, although skeptics see precursors in science fiction and earlier paranormal claims. The Grey aliens are also famous from earlier depictions of the Roswell UFO incident from 1947. I feel I’ve strayed away from this concept more on this album and concentrated more on delivering a variety of flavours for my listeners.”
Following this, the next track, “Wobbly Wendy”, is another one of our favourites, combining heavy bass with spooky samples and still maintaining the extra-terrestrial atmosphere The Greys are known for. Another cult classic, this track features the voice of the beloved Ripley from Alien: Resurrection and makes us feel as if we are alone on an abandoned space station with flesh-eating aliens too, and we love it.
‘Lose Gravity’ is another really immersive track, making us feel like we are floating around through space, weightless as the name might suggest without gravity bringing us down. The track also has a sort of tribal vibe with its underlying drumlines, and ends incorporates samples from the famous Jonestown incident – which, if aliens and conspiracy theories are your thing, you should totally check out to get an even deeper feel for this track.
Track 11 is a more positive track, with a quirky, uplifting intro and really catchy tune. ‘My Pain’ blends what we love about this album together, with spooky sci-fi vibes and funky hip hop beats, and makes us wish this album never had to come to an end!
The penultimate track, 2 Paris, is another perky tune that can only be described as coming straight from the future, and are the reason why this is the kind of album we want to hear played on the Dolby Atmos sound system.
And finally, the album ends with the Ganja White Night remix of ‘U’, another soulful dubstep tune that is the perfect end to what is an absolutely incredible LP from The Greys.
These are the kind of tracks that really make you feel something – whether listening through headphones or in full surround sound, ‘Notions of Emotions’ really vibrates through your body and reminds us what music should feel like. The Greys don’t need to rely on heavy bass to get us moving on this one, and it’s refreshing to hear so many new and unique sounds blending together so masterfully on every track on this LP. Every collab is brilliant and adds so much depth and variety to the album, and yet despite all the different tracks, the album has a collective sound that demands to be played all the way through.
After hearing this brilliant LP, we got the chance to ask The Greys a few more questions in our MA exclusive interview.
We’re excited to have you playing as part of our MA Takeover later this month – what can fans expect to see from your set?
I’m really looking forward to coming down to Lightbox on the 13th, excited to be sharing the stage with the likes of Posij & Hizzleguy. I think I’ll be sticking to 140-150 range with Gh0sh and playing a more energetic set than usual, it’s going to be nice to see how we bounce off each other during the back to back.
How does playing festivals like Let It Roll compare to more intimate venues, like Lightbox here in London next month or Cervantes, which you named a track after? Which do you prefer?
I prefer the more intimate venues as you feel far more in touch with the crowd, which makes reading them easier. Nothing beats a small dark room with a large sound system capable of shaking chests and rearranging brain cells.
If you could play any venue in the world, what would it be?
I’d love to play Fabric one day and perhaps main room at Motion in Bristol, as these two clubs have been very important in crafting my music taste and have gave me great memories.
What would you say about the music scene in your current residence of Bristol compared to somewhere like Denver, for example, which you seem to be quite fond of?
I feel Denver and Bristol have a very similar thirst for the underground bass music scene, which is why I’m drawn to both! I think it all comes down to the people who have the guts to throw the events in the first place and take a risk, so it’s been an honour to be involved with Sub.Mission in Denver over the last 2 years. As Nicole has put so much time and effort along with her team to create the flourishing scene that is now present in Colorado. It seems both cities have a great understanding of where dubstep came from, Bristol especially with so many of the initial artists that helped build the genre living in the area such as Pinch, Appleblim etc.
Shout outs: Jason @ Gradient, Nicole @ Sub.Mission and all the artists involved (& of course MA)”
We loved getting to hear more about the man behind the music – and if you loved this LP even half as much as we did, you can grab it here, and be sure to catch him this Friday at our MA Lightbox Takeover in London.