INTERVIEW: Getting to know Jack Gray
Touring the states in these winter months is a massive headache for most bands that are used to this terrain. Be it the icy roads to snow storms to the bitter cold; it’s a rough one out there. But one artist who is living for the snow is twenty-year-old Aussie Jack Gray who’s currently on his first North American run opening up for fellow Australian Dean Lewis! A tour that filled to the brim with tons of sold out shows and an excellent opportunity for the states to meet an artist that has been creating a name for himself back home.
Opening up the tour with an acoustic set which has been an excellent experience for Gray in his own words to see these songs raw, it’s sure to be a show talked about by many when his first EP drops in May. It’s sure to be the big kicking off moment for this talented guy, and I was grateful to grab a few minutes with this guy while he’s been exploring everything America has to offer!
Right now, you’re out with fellow Australian Dean Lewis on this North American run. There’s been a ton of sold-out shows, how have these dates been going so far?
It’s been going well actually. I couldn’t have asked for a better response. Coming from Australia, it’s a whole different vibe over there so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but everyone has been so lovely and wanting to take photos after the shows and everything, it’s been really cool!
And is this your first tour of North America?
Yeah this is my first time touring over here. Actually, every city that I’ve been too, except LA, it’s the first time I’ve ever been there. So it’s cool getting to travel around America and getting to check out all these places that I’ve seen in movies growing up.
I know today you mentioned you’re going to Niagara Falls. On some of these days off, you have these long drives but maybe some of the best things you’ve seen, perhaps something enjoyable that you’ve done so far?
Well, hopefully, it will be Niagara Falls. We’re about to check that out. I’ve seen snow once when I was really young so I don’t really remember the feeling but now I’m surrounded by it, and it’s crazy, so I’m going to say the snow. The snow’s sick. Getting to throw snowballs at my manager has been pretty fun.
What are some preparations that you made going into this tour? I know from talking to other bands, they fly to each city in Australia while on tour considering how big the country is.
Yeah so back home, it’s Australia. You know, everyone’s really relaxed. It’s a very relaxed approach to all the shows back home. I didn’t rehearse probably as much as I should. So this tour I did more rehearsals then I probably should have had done. My fingers were blistering up, my voice was really sore, but it literally paid off so much because I feel so ready. And being rehearsed and prepared is the best thing for nerves before you go on stage.
Then there are only five songs out right available over these past few years. Now with the songs present in these sets, are you kind of road testing new material? How have you been putting these sets together?
Well, the sets are acoustic over here. Some of these guys who have heard my stuff online which is really produced and use a lot of electronic sounds. And performing them live acoustically has been a way to test out if the songs are good on their own and stuff. So it’s been really fun seeing the reactions to the raw versions of the songs and how people like it.
Then you just dropped your latest single in January, “Down Side of Up.” Maybe a little bit of the story behind that song and how it came together?
So I was in my bedroom mucking around with some guitar riffs with one of my best mates back home. I just stumbled across the guitar riff that started the song, and we wrote the song in about forty-five minutes. We didn’t know if we wanted it to be like a happy love song or a depressing one so we were like, why don’t we just do a mixture of both? Make it like a really optimistic situation but with a really pessimistic view on it. So we wrote “Down Side of Up”. It came together really quickly and I just spent the rest of the day afterwards tracking instruments in and doing all the final touches. That’s my favorite part of the process, that stuff’s easy.
That’s your favorite part of the process, doing that stuff?
Yeah I mean I’ve always loved playing instruments. That would be my favorite part of the whole gig. So being able to produce it and put it in my self is really fun because I could muck around with it all day.
Perfect! Now I know from reading about it, your studio is this personal studio/caravan set up. And you’re really doing it all yourself. How do you think that helps the creative process? Having that place to go to and being on your own.
It’s so relaxing, and there are so many little distractions. Once you get flustered or drained, you can go for a little walk on the beach, go for a swim. There’s a basketball court so I can play some basketball. So it’s a great place to work, but it also gives me the luxury of time. I’m not renting a studio or hiring a producer; I don’t have to stick to a schedule. I can take it easy and write or record when I’m feeling inspired. It really helps the process.
And from looking at your socials, I know you talked about how this year is going to be a lot of music, and you plan to be releasing a lot. You already released the two songs in 2019. You’re touring; you’re in North America. I know you may not be able to talk about it too much but is it something where you’re currently working on an EP/album or are you still a little while away from that?
Yeah, we’re releasing my first EP which I’m super excited about. Sometime in May. It’s all produced in my bedroom. I wrote it with a bunch of my friends. Some songs I wrote by myself. It’s a really good collection of where my head has been at for the last year; I can’t wait!
No, it sounds incredible. I’m sure that’s something you’re excited to have out, your first full release.
Yeah definitely, I can’t wait for people to finally hear what I’ve been listening to on repeat for the last few months and see what everyone thinks!
Also, you’re still relatively young, only 20, but you’ve been actively pursuing music. I can see an immense passion for it. Was there a defining moment when you realized you wanted to pursue music as a career?
So I grew up playing music, and I was always really shy about doing it in front of other people. But then in high school, I met this girl who was fully doing it. Gigs, writing songs, recording demo’s. And, I had a big crush on this girl. So I started talking to her and she was like ‘we should do a little duo thing’. She kind of brought me out of my insecurities and it was kind of then that I realized okay this is kind of what I want to do. Then from there, I’ve known all along. I literally would be hopeless if I did anything else. I’ve just always known this is what I need to do. I was fourteen when I met this girl so at at fourteen, I realized that I had to do this for a career like I’m stuck.
That’s incredible! Then to end it off, you’re on this tour with Dean Lewis, SYML as well, till the 17th. You talked about how this EP is going to be coming out soon. What are some focuses or goals for you in these next few months? It’s still so early in this year.
Honestly to keep writing new music because that’s all that matters at the moment. Is writing those songs and just getting better. I want to improve myself; that’s my biggest goal. I want my live show to be the best it can be and my music to be the best it can be. Just get it all out there and keep doing my thing.
Jack Gray online: