Graywave talk shifting to a darker sound, joining the evolving roster of Church Road Records and more

Hailing from the place where metal and our entire culture began in Birmingham, UK, Graywave, on their first single from the upcoming EP, 'Build', revel in the gloom and dark atmosphere that first was found there when Black Sabbath released their eponymous debut in 1970. Whilst being sonically ultra modern with synth flourishes and dreamy vocals all throughout, and pulling at the heartstrings just enough to bring it to the precipice of breaking.

Sounding worlds away from anything from 2021's debut EP Planetary Shift, Graywave here look to push the boundaries of their own sound and also expand yet again what 'heavy' really means in 2022. Intrigue will be cast on where Jess Webberley takes this project in the future after switching up her sound completely over the course of a year, but rest assured that whatever she decides to do will demand your attention.

With her Rebirth being mere months away, we sat down with Jess to chat about the release and what we can expect from it, her musical inspirations and the project's new home on Church Road Records. For Graywave, the future looks incredibly bright, and sounds oh so dark.

'Build' is much gloomier and has a more sinister sound than anything from last year's EP Planetary Shift. Is this representative of the new EP Rebirth as a whole? What inspired the darker sound here?

I would say that ‘Build’ is definitely representative of the new EP as a whole, and it’s definitely not the gloomiest track! I think the darker sound is just a more honest direction for me - writing music with a heavier, more sinister feel to it comes more naturally to me than anything else. I almost feel like previous music I have released has been a little more ‘forced’ in a way, whereas this feels right. The track ‘Before’ on the previous EP ‘Planetary Shift’ was the first step in this direction and I knew then that I needed to explore it further.

How has the reaction been to 'Build' so far from your fans, have they embraced this evolved sound? How are you feeling about releasing the EP - what are you hoping listeners can take away from it?

The reaction has been great! Even though the music is going in a slightly different direction, it feels like fans of ‘Planetary Shift’ (previous EP) are embracing it, and are even excited about it. The best thing is it feels like a new audience has been reached due to the darker nature of the music. I’m really excited to release this EP. I am confident it’s a huge step up from previous releases, and I am hoping listeners can hear the honesty in the tracks and relate to them in whatever way works for them.

It's apparent from your repertoire thus far that you have a very wide palette - what sorts of artists or genres were you listening to for inspiration when making Rebirth, musically and vocally?

Absolutely! I think it’s so important to listen to a wide range of genres / artists, especially as a musician. When making Rebirth, I was definitely listening to a lot of shoegaze and dreampop. Bands like Cocteau Twins, Slowdive, Lush were definitely a huge inspiration. And then more ‘modern’ shoegaze bands like DIIV and Nothing. I also found myself listening to a lot of metal; specifically stuff with a gothic vibe. Vocally I have to say that Chelsea Wolfe & Emma Ruth Rundle are hugely inspirational to me.

What has it meant to you to recently join the roster of Church Road Records, one of the most exciting labels in the world right now, constantly on the cutting edge of pushing some of the best talent in the alternative scene?

Honestly I am beyond honored to be a part of such an incredible label. It’s such an exciting time - so many bands I love are on this label so it’s a pretty amazing feeling. Justine & Sammy have been so supportive and done so much to give Graywave a platform, I am truly so grateful for that.

With your sound being so hard to categorise, you've landed shows on the likes of indie rock bills as well as supporting bands such as the excellent hardcore outfit Cruelty. How important do you feel expansive multi-genre bills are to keeping our culture fresh, and to keeping you as an artist inspired?

I think it’s hugely important. I think multi-genre bills can expose an audience to music that they wouldn’t have thought to check out before, and it might just be their new favorite band. I personally find it hugely inspiring to share a stage with artists who create music that’s inspired by different genres. I think genre crossovers are hugely exciting, it’s a way to make something that feels genuinely new.

1. Build
2. Rebirth
3. Exoplanet
4. Red
5. Closer