DOORSTEP INTERVIEW: Grey Tapes | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Welcome to Doorstep Interview, where we find out more about the amazing bands and artists we have right here in the north east. This time, Mr Blazey of electronic collective Grey Tapes tells us more about the group’s history and how they’ve gaining momentum with their performances and releases.

Tell us a bit about yourself. Who are you, where are you from?

We are group of producers and musicians from Newcastle (Bain, Bert Verso, Jacana, Mr Blazey and Dan Potter). We were all friends long before forming Grey Tapes and many of us had already played in bands together, but we also knew that collectively we had a big library of studio compositions that hadn’t really seen the light of day, so we got together to find a way to perform it live.

Who would you say are your biggest influences?

Individually it varies quite a lot, but we are all fans of 90s east-coast Hip Hop, Radiohead and various pockets of Jazz, Psych and Minimalism. There’s plenty of other stuff too but those are probably the main ones that come through in the music we make.

How would you describe your sound?

We make the music that we want to hear! We all have our own compositional styles so the sound is quite varied, but playing together seems to enhance and develop our solo tracks – everyone’s flavour is added to the melting pot. We try to take the best elements of our influences and solo styles and use the jamming and performing process to develop the sound for live audiences.

Where do you see yourselves fitting into the local music scene?

You could say we don’t really fit in because we are consciously trying to do something a bit different, but then you could say that about a lot of bands in Newcastle. The music scene here is really rich and diverse for such a small city – there are plenty of bands trying to carve out their own path and a lot of mutual support between them.

Tell us a bit about your live performances. What can we expect from a gig by you?

There are five of us so there’s a lot going on! There’s no backing track or rigid tempo – every sound, melody and rhythm is played live. Along with keyboards and samplers we have live drums, double bass and vocals, so it’s a nice blend. People seem to be drawn into the live process just as much as the music itself – so it’s a satisfying mix of intrigue and dancing amongst the crowd.

Can you tell us what gigs you have planned in the region in the near future?

We’ve built up a lot of momentum recently with a run of gigs around the north east, with some more exciting ones coming up. Check our Facebook page for details.

“People seem to be drawn into the live process just as much as the music itself – so it’s a satisfying mix of intrigue and dancing amongst the crowd”

What do you think has been your biggest achievement so far as a collective? 

We have just released Tape_001, our first EP. We recorded and produced it ourselves and released it completely independently, including a limited run of 100 hand-decorated cassette tapes. It took a lot of work to keep everything in-house but it meant we could keep control over every aspect so we’re all really happy with the end result.

What else have you got planned for the future?

We all have tracks on the latest instalment of Rail Cables, a seasonal, themed vinyl compilation. Beyond that, we are looking to play more gigs at home and around the country and carry on writing and recording together. We also have a few talented friends working on a remix EP of Tape_001 and plans for Grey Tapes to remix other people’s tracks as a band. Watch this space!

Keep up to date with the happenings in the Grey Tapes camp on their Facebook page.

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