Philly pop-punks Grayscale upped sticks and moved to Austin, Texas to ruminate on life in all of its extremes. The result, new album ‘Nella Vita’, is quite possibly their grandest piece of work yet. Lead vocalist Collin Walsh tells us more.
Hey Collin, how’s summer treating you?
Summer has been great, just gearing up to release our new record.
What’s ‘Nella Vita’ about then?
It touches on quite a bit. ‘Nella Vita’ is a collection of stories that represent life’s incredible shift between vibrancy and darkness. There are songs about love, sex, grief, drugs, death and everything in between. I wanted to capture all of the beautiful feelings we experience as humans, good and bad.
It feels pretty heavy, what attracted you to writing about life’s difficulties?
It’s the only way I know how. Writing is the vehicle I feel most honest and comfortable with when trying to express/articulate my feelings. I have a bad tendency to hold in how I feel. I’d like to think I’m a good communicator, but I suppose I’m less open than I should be when it comes to my own thoughts and feelings.
Are there any topics you’ve touched on that were particularly hard?
Quite a few actually. I went really deep into trying to understand the perspective and decisions of some people I’ve known in my life – almost like method acting, but with thought. It had me thinking differently and constantly searching for answers in an unsettled mental place, to the point where I felt sort of “stuck” outside of myself. Additionally, I touched on the death of one of my family members in multiple songs from multiple points of view; his name is Tommy.
How was your time in the studio?
Incredible. We worked harder than we’ve ever worked before and experimented in more creative ways than I ever envisioned us trying. Super proud of what we created.
How did you approach pulling together your disparate influences into a cohesive work?
The entire writing process has always come very naturally to us. This record was no exception. Nothing ever felt forced; we just write what we want to write and don’t overthink where the influence comes from.
Did you come across any unexpected sources of inspiration during the record’s creation?
Not necessarily. Our band consists of people who love all kinds of music and have listened to all different kinds of music growing up. For example, Andrew grew up playing in church, listening to r&b, funk etc. while Veno and Venti grew up on grunge and metal. Our influence comes from all over the map, because that’s just how we were raised. When you add that all together with a shared love of songwriting, the ideas and styles of musical parts are endless; that’s what makes our music Grayscale.
You’ve got some huge pop moments here, were you looking to take the album more in that direction, or is it just how it panned out?
Just how it panned out. Dallas and I love modern pop and hip-hop as well. Whether it’s the instrumentation or the vocal melody, I think our joint love for pop becomes clear throughout ‘Nella Vita’ in quite a few tracks.
A lot of acts seem to be looking to pop these days, what do you think the genre is doing especially well at the moment?
The simplicity and catchiness of pop is what makes it the most popular style of music in the world. When you look at the history of pop music, you’ll find that repetition and well-placed/well-timed “moments” in the songs are what makes them so memorable for years to come. There really is an art to ‘less is more’; people often don’t realise how well pop songs are meticulously calculated to stay in your head.
Would you still describe yourselves as a rock band?
That’s a great question. I do. However, I think the term “alternative” might be more fitting. We’ve never been hung up on what genre people define us as; we don’t really care much about that at all. We definitely don’t consider ourselves a pop-punk band, but I suppose that’s the fun part – letting people listen and try to figure it out. If we write music that makes it hard to put us into one category, I think that’s a good thing.
What else do you guys have coming up this year?
We have a ton of awesome things planned; some more secret than others. I’ll just say this – come see us on tour in your city and pick up an album. We love our fans and really enjoy keeping them on the edge of their seats at all times.
Taken from the September issue of Upset. Grayscale’s album ‘Nella Vita’ is out 6th September.