Amy was bowled over by ‘Afterthoughts’, the debut album from Greywind. So, through the power of the old interweb, she quickly grabbed ten minutes with one half of the duo from Killarney, vocalist Steph O’Sullivan.
I’ve heard that when you guys first started Greywind, you struggled to find other members because the scene where you live is so small. Following your success have you been home and seen a real difference in your area?
“Sadly, no. I haven’t seen a difference at all. I think that’s why us being able to achieve so many of our goals still feels very surreal. Maybe in a few more years, there will be a difference.”
What’s your own personal outlook on the music industry today? People tend to be quite pessimistic at the moment. What do you think are the biggest obstacles facing bands in that industry?
“I think some people have a pessimistic outlook on the music industry because they focus on ‘bad’ things they’ve heard that have happened, or something maybe has happened to them and has affected their outlook. I don’t think the music industry is a bad place, but it IS a rollercoaster sometimes. You can have amazing news on a Monday, then by Tuesday, you get bad news and it can really affect you. I think as an artist, or band, you need to just always stick to what you believe in and never let anyone compromise the direction that you want to take your music/career in.”
Being a band of few members, do you feel that Greywind are underestimated? With the sky rocket success of bands like Twenty One Pilots, who also only have two members, there’s a real emphasis that anyone, from anywhere, can do anything. Can you use any underestimation to your advantage?
“I think being a two-piece has been an advantage for us. For so long before we started Greywind, we wanted other members, and now when I look back on that, I am so glad it ended up just being me and Paul. We always knew the vision for our music. I think new bands struggle to find their ‘sound’ so early on and having just the two of us made everything easier. Twenty One Pilots are proof, and a great inspiration to show people that you don’t need a ‘full band’ to be successful. We have achieved so many bucket list dreams already as just a two-piece. We’ve played Reading and Leeds, supported our favourite band, Thrice, and have so many more of our goals happening soon. It doesn’t matter if you have 2 or 5 people in your band, just believe in every lyric you sing and every piece of music that you play. That’s all that matters.”
You’re growing extremely quickly, but if you met somebody who had never heard of Greywind, which of your songs would you play them and why?
“I think I’d play our song ‘Afterthoughts’. That was the song that started everything. It was the first song we ever finished and recorded. It represents our ‘sound’ really well, so I think it’s the perfect introduction to Greywind.”
Where in the world would you like to travel to to play the most?
“America is definitely at the top of my list. Having the opportunity to play our music in any country is amazing though. We played our first ever headline show in London, and it was sold out! That blew our minds, and as I said before, it just proves that if you believe in your vision, then anything is possible.”
You released your debut album, ‘Afterthoughts‘, recently, which has been rightly very successful. I was just wondering, how you went about recording it in terms of the creative process? For example, do you tend to write the lyrics or music first? Do you record live as a band, or separately? Is there anything that you think you’ll do differently next time?
“Usually, Paul will have a rough draft of a song idea, just on an acoustic guitar, and then we will work on it together. We recorded our parts separately, but I would like in future albums to try recording as a band. See if it makes any big difference.”
Jason Perry produced, and worked with you guys on ‘Afterthoughts‘. Was it fun to work with such a legendary producer? What did he bring to the table? Is there anyone else you’d like to work with in terms of production some day?
“Jason was so great, He’s one of our favourite people in the world. While recording the album, I had a lot of days where I’d be stressing out about recording my vocals, but he would always somehow make me laugh and forget about it, and before I’d know it, I had tracked a full song. We are open to working with different producers in the future, but we would love to work with Jason again.”
The Album seems to have some very dark accents. The lyrics of ‘Car Spin’, for example: ‘I wake when the car spins/It’s already done/Your lips kiss the pavement/I wake with no one’ really got to me. It is hard to visit such a dark place when writing, and does it leave you feeling emotionally vulnerable at all?
“The whole album has a theme running throughout it. We wanted it to show the different ways people deal with loss. Our song ‘In Autumn’ was a particularly difficult song for me to record. I remember when we got the mixes back, I couldn’t listen to it without feeling down, because I could hear that I was sad and anxious in it, and it brought all of those feelings back… but that’s what I love about music. When it makes you feel something. That’s why our songs do have a darkness to them. We want to talk about topics that a lot of bands don’t touch on.”
What advice would you give to a band in the same position now that Greywind were in two years ago?
“I would say focus on writing the best possible songs that you can. Don’t focus on playing hundreds of live shows to get noticed. if your songs aren’t good enough, none of that matters.”
And finally, what’s in the pipeline for Greywind for the rest of this year? What have you got planned?
“We are playing Download Festival, 2000 Trees Festival, and loads more that we haven’t announced yet. It’s all really exciting, and I can’t wait for the rest of this year!”
That all sounds very exciting! Thanks for your time, Steph. Hope you have a great time at Download!
Interview: Amy Jefferies