Grayscale are just about to release their third album, Umbra. This offering shows the band being totally refined and coming into their sound with huge confidence.
Up to this point, previous records, Adornment and Nella Vita have acted as stepping stones to the band building their sound and aesthetic. Umbra gives off more of a feeling rather than being a concept. It explores everything that builds us as a person that we keep to ourselves. With a sound that doesn’t always match the stories, it’s a hugely interesting listen. Umbra isn’t about the light or the dark its about both.
We caught up with lead vocalist Collin Walsh to really dig into more about this exciting next chapter.
Umbra is your third album to be released, what’s it like to have three quite big bodies of work?
It feels great. I sort of think of these three albums as a trilogy, with Umbra being the end of the “first chapter” and the start to the next.
How did you know it was the right time for a third album?
We are the type of band that typically writes all the time. The early stages of Umbra could be dated back to the end of our second record Nella Vita honestly. While it wasn’t a “covid record”, Umbra was born out of wanting to expand on our previous work and having the time to do so. While we are very proud of Nella Vita, we knew our job wasn’t done after we finished recording it – Umbra is that next refined step.
“…the writing process of Umbra included a lot of trial and error, a lot of soul searching, and a lot of time finding the sound we wanted as a band.”
You’ve got such a slick, refined and solid sound with Umbra, what process did you go through refining your sound?
Appreciate that. Building on the previous answer, the writing process of Umbra included a lot of trial and error, a lot of soul searching, and a lot of time finding the sound we wanted as a band. In many ways, Umbra feels like the start of the next era – it was the record where we began to really “figure ourselves out”. Some bands have their sound from jump while others take a long time to find it. Umbra is our favourite and most fulfilling record we’ve ever done; it is the one where we feel we’ve reached the most authentic form of our “sound” as a band to date.
Dirty Bombs touches on people seeking the need for approval, is this something you’ve struggled with and worked through yourself?
Not really honestly. I have always known who I am as a person, I think that’s where my frustration comes from – watching so many people try to be something they’re not. Don’t get me wrong, being young is difficult and awkward for everyone, but at the end of the day there is only one “you” on the planet. While I didn’t necessarily struggle with needing approval from other people when I was younger, I was definitely a late bloomer in terms of understanding myself and loving myself as I am. I encourage people to focus on refining themselves and truly putting time into loving yourself instead of worrying about other people loving you. At the end of the day, nothing else really matters.
Have there been any strong influences in refining your sound as a band?
Absolutely. The majority of our band are trained drummers. We pride ourselves on rhythm and feel. As far as genre goes, we love everything from jazz, to rock, to hip-hop, to 80’s and beyond. It’s always been a matter of pulling from those influences in an authentic way, rather than forcing them. You saw a little bit of that with Nella Vita, and are going to see much more with Umbra. We are an alternative band that writes rock songs, pop songs, and ballads. That is who we are; there are a ton of genres in our DNA.
For anyone whose never listened to your music before, which song from Umbra would you say sums you up as a band?
Good question! I would say Over Now. It’s one of my personal favorites and has all the soul and rock in one song.
There’s always a lot drawn from personal experience with music being such an expressive form, what’s the most daunting part of sharing those parts of yourself with thousands of people?
Lyrically speaking, I don’t really feel any kind of pressure or anything like that. Writing for me is how I get my feelings out of my head – it is super cathartic for me and not something I feel too vulnerable about in any way. The songs tell stories that people relate to; they are very real and come from a very real place. That’s what I love about music… we can be total strangers but can still feel each other’s pain/pleasure through it.
Of all the tracks on the album which are you most excited to play for a crowd?
So many. Without You and Dreamcatcher are some of my favs on the record and definitely songs I am looking forward to playing.
With the album out, what else can Grayscale fans look forward to?
Shows and other fun shit. We just announced the Umbra Tour this fall – it is going to be amazing and we absolutely cannot wait for it. You can hear/get everything you need at grayscalepa.com
Make sure you check out Umbra, out now.