Please list all of your band members and their roles in the band.
Jake Hoffman - Lead Vocals/Guitar
Jordan Bowen - Drums/Backing Vocals
Casey O'Connell - Bass/Backing Vocals
For starters, what bands were you guys a part of prior to The Gray Vines? How long has the band been around?
I (Jake) was in a band called Reality Check back when I was 15 where I only played guitar. That was my first band and I stayed in for about a year. Then I had a band called Sleeve which was the first group I fronted. That was kind of a precursor to The Gray Vines. I already had the name but decided against using it, even though some of the songs in that band were very primitive versions of ones that ended up on the first EP. Jordan was in the bands Silent Perfection, Leeds, and Midnight Mosaic, and Casey has been in Jake Tavill & the Indigo Child Blues Band and the Nick Ryan Band.
The band has been around as an idea for years, but it finally formed in spring of 2016...then it fell apart last summer. This lineup has really only existed since fall of '17 and things seem to be going very, very well.
What’s the origin of that name and have you changed the band’s name before?
I wish I had a more exciting story for the name, but really I was on a long car ride home from South Jersey thinking of band name after band name until I found one I didn't hate. The Gray Vines was the first one. It took two years for a scenario to come up where the name could finally be used.
Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs and do you think these topics will change over time?
We don't have anything set in stone as to who writes what. I think it'd be wrong to stifle creativity in that way. However, what usually happens is I write the skeleton of a song, bring it to the guys, and we flesh it out. It works so well. I usually have ideas for parts, but the parts Jordan and Casey come up with are always so unexpected and make the songs far more musical. We've actually been writing some more tunes together. Hopefully we'll be finishing some of those soon.
What bands are currently inspiring the music that you’re making?
My favorites are Queens of the Stone Age and Jack White's projects. I'm inspired by a lot of different music in addition. Obviously the classics like The Beatles, Bowie, Queen, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, but also some music less associated with rock, like Victor Wooten's various projects, Kendrick Lamar, and movie scores by Danny Elfman
Jordan is a big fan of Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, Iron Maiden, Dave Matthews Band, and Green Day. He's also inspired by Victor Wooten's projects and drummers like Tony Williams and Dennis Chambers. Casey's taste is more eclectic enjoying acts like Death Grips, Animal Collective, Anamanaguchi, and Brockhampton.
Was there a particular band/artist or concert that inspired you to start a band?
Not really. I fell in love with Guns n' Roses at 12 years old as any new guitarist should, but being in a band wasn't a big revelation, it just seemed like the next logical step after I could play guitar a bit.
What do you do to prepare for a show?
Well, we usually set up our gear. But in all seriousness, I don't think we have any particular pre-show traditions. I try to interact with people while I set up and make bad jokes so people know they're allowed to dance and have a good time.
What has been the biggest highlight of the band’s career so far?
Every time we play a packed show, it's the greatest feeling no matter if it's in a basement in New Brunswick, NJ or a club in NYC.
If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would they be and why?
I would pick The Dead Weather. Besides the fact that their music is outstanding, you've got members of The White Stripes, The Kills, Queens of the Stone Age, and The Raconteurs...I mean, come on.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Check us out online: TheGrayVines.com /