Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s Grayscale have been turning heads with their combination of riffs that get easily stuck in their listeners’ heads, a very high-energy live performance and an all-around positive attitude as a band. After their single “Palette” from their 2016 release What We’re Missing began attracting attention, the band signed with Fearless Records and released Adornment, one of the best records of 2017.
Having shared the stage with the likes of Sleep on It and As it Is, Grayscale recently hit the road in support of Boston Manor and Real Friends. Their performance at the Toronto stop of the tour was nothing short of amazing as Grayscale’s passion and vitality were strongly evident and consistent throughout their thirty minute set.
As Grayscale prepares to support State Champs on their run in March 2019, Dan Bowyer and Spinning Thoughts caught up with Grayscale bassist Nick Ventimiglia:
ST: What is your first memory involving music and how did you become interested in it?
NV: I remember getting my first drum set when I was 5 from “Santa”. I opened it and it had a hole in the floor tom and my dad told me Rudolph accidentally put his hoof through it. Between that and listening to Alice In Chains and Soundgarden with my dad is probably my first memory of music.
ST: Grayscale is billed as hailing from Pennsylvania, yet you call Michigan home. How did you become a part of Grayscale?
NV: I actually played drums in a band called The Directive from Michigan. Grayscale and The Directive would do some DIY tours together in 2013 and I became good friends with them. Since then Collin would always say to me “One day you’re going to be in this band, even if we have to add a third guitarist”. At the time, Dallas played bass and they had a different guitarist. Dallas and the old guitarist ended up switching roles and Dallas became the rhythm guitarist. They ended up getting rid of their bass player in early to mid 2016 and asked me to join. Clearly, I said yes and we made it happen.
ST: Does being the only Lions/Red Wings fan in the midst of presumably Eagles/Flyers fans make drives between tour dates awkward at times?
NV: To be honest, not at all. I am a huge Philly sports fan after being a Detroit fan. I’ve always respected Philly sports since I was young. I was a huge fan of the playing styles of John LeClair and Eric Lindros when I was younger. So to answer your question, I’m an adopted Philly fan, but my city comes first.
ST: Speaking of touring, it is easy for fans to come to a show and enjoy the music. What they don’t see are the long drives and sometimes not knowing where you’re going to sleep. Touring requires sacrifices. How do you maintain passion for being on the road?
NV: It’s the shows that keep the passion going. It’s the fans and their stories of how much our music has helped them through things. That trumps any drive or lack of sleep any day.
ST: When you do arrive at a venue and Grayscale plays their set, what is the most important thing that you as the bass player need to do in the course of a live set?
NV: It’s always being as tight as possible with our drummer Nick. We’re the backbone of the songs and need to always be as tight as possible. That and bring the energy as best as I can.
ST: Grayscale has been warmly received and has been seeing positive growth over the last couple of years. As your fan base grows, how do you remain grounded?
NV: Honestly, remaining grounded is something we as a band hold very high. You see a lot of musicians in this industry that get big heads and think of themselves as the second coming of Christ. You join a band when you’re young because you love music and love playing shows. When you are finally and hopefully fortunate enough to get some sort of buzz and a platform, it becomes a job and it becomes about the fans themselves. It isn’t about us at all anymore, it’s about the people we reach with our music. We obviously still love it more than anything, but our focus isn’t on just ourselves anymore.
ST: When you’re not on the road and have the opportunity to go to a show as a fan, which bands are you going to watch?
NV: Oh wow, there are so many shows I miss while I’m on the road. But, when I am home I always try to catch Circa Survive, Coheed and Cambria, Thrice, Pianos Become The Teeth, and a bunch of different stuff as well. There are some local Detroit acts I love that I wish I could catch more often as well like Ladysse, The True Blue, Undesirable People and Narco Debut to name a few.
ST: In addition to a high-quality, high-energy live show, a big reason Grayscale is seeing growth is your quality musicianship. How does the band’s creative process unfold when crafting new music?
NV: There really isn’t a set formula to be honest. Songs start with an idea from one of the five of us and kind of grow from there. I may write a riff on guitar, Nick might have a sick drum pattern, Dallas might have a whole structure of a song written, it just varies. We’re fortunate enough to have a couple people in the band who play multiple instruments. Collin and myself are drummers originally and both play guitar, and Dallas was a bass player before, so it helps when we write. It’s fun to have various members with different informative insights on parts of instruments they don’t technically play.
ST: Grayscale’s approach to your merchandise is also very creative, offering short-runs of varying designs on a monthly basis. How did the band arrive at this unique approach to your merchandise?
NV: We honestly just want to change the band merchandise game with anything we do. Band merchandise for years has kind of been very typical. Bands do the same shit every time and we kind of wanted to break that mold and sort of treat our merchandise as if it were a clothing company. We care about our merchandise just as much as we do our music.
ST: Thanks again for taking some time with Spinning Thoughts. As we wrap up, is there anything you’d like to add?
NV: We love Canada, we love Spinning Thoughts. You’re the man, Dan.
Share with a friend who loves music
Premiere episodes every Thursday at Midnight ET on idobi Radio
Subscribe to the podcast on your favorite platform