Several years ago, to the shocked albeit welcome surprise to everyone but their original fanbase, Greywind leapt into the public eye in a manner unlike most emerging artists. Catapulted by the release of their debut long play Afterthoughts, the Irish alt-rock duo became an overnight sensation with the band winning hearts, minds and dedicated devotion en-mass due to their robustly anthemic take on elegant alt-rock. As many where quick to compare the sibling band to such iconic names such as Tonight Alive, PVRIS and even fellow countrymen The Cranberries, Greywind found themselves in a transportive whirlwind of rapid success, one that saw them appearing at Download, Reading & Leeds Festival, Isle Of Wight Festival, Rock Am Ring, 2000 Trees and a myriad of other high calibre events. It was the launch of a career that seemingly had unparalleled promise within the scene that they inhabit.
It’s now been four years since the release of Afterthoughts and whilst it’s graceful, poetic and soaring contents still allure, recent times have seen Greywind side stepping out the glaring eye of the limelight. 2020 should have originally seen the two piece demanding the attention of the spotlight once again with the followup to their debut, but obviously, certain global events had other ideas. Never the less, ongoing catastrophes or not, Greywind have made the executive decision to make this year their own. Released just recently is ‘Am I Asleep?’, the group’s first original material since their debut and the commencement of their next chapter as a band.
Produced by Romesh Dodangoda (Bring Me The Horizon, Holding Absence, Twin Atlantic), ‘Am I Asleep?’ see’s Steph and Paul O’Sullivan returning to their already expansive sound to add even more depth, substance and emotional gravity. Soaring and cinematic in scope, the track is a monolithic return for the brother and sister two piece, one that see’s Steph furthering her vocal capabilities whilst Paul adds additional intricacy to the instrumentation that composes their vividly evocative work. It’s a mammoth return for sure, and as Steph details, one carefully prepared and planned for quite some time.
"Reading our fans theories and allowing them to connect to the song with their own personal meanings is one of our favourite things."
“We’ve been planning this release for a while now,” states the vocalist. “With everything that has happened in the world in this past year we felt it was very important and completely the right time for us to start the new year with new music. Music is such a powerful and important thing especially during times like these so hopefully our songs can continue to be an escape for people."
But as Steph continues - much like the her approach to the contents within Afterthoughts, - she’s not willing to surrender the deeper meaning within the track, even with it being a personal release. “We’ve always loved leaving our songs open to interpretation!”, she responds when probed about the meaning of the single. “Reading our fans theories and allowing them to connect to the song with their own personal meanings is one of our favourite things. We don’t want to spoil the fun and give away too many secrets!”
Whereas Greywind’s music has always carried a consistent cinematic edge, one elaborated within their music videos thus far, the band’s new chapter see’s the duo doubling down in their unwavering dedication to atmospheric emotion. The delicate and ethereal ambience that Greywind has held at their core since their origin has been expanded in a subtle yet impactful way with ‘Am I Asleep?’. There’s more lingering atmosphere within this track’s instrumentalism, an aura homespun without being shoehorned into the mix.
Such newfound focus on exquisite filmic atmosphere is tangibly explored and displayed with the respective video for the single, with the music video visually seeing the band displaying their cinema orientated influences once again. With this in mind - and the connection between their love for film and their new prominence in aural atmosphere transparent - one wouldn’t be criticised for assuming the band’s new focus on instrumental textures is an embraced byproduct of taking inspiration from cinema. However, as Steph details, the inspiration for this direction from a different source; the world of post-rock.
“Bands such as Sigur Rös, Caspian and Explosions In The Sky have always been a big inspiration for us,” the vocalist explains on how the primarily instrumental work of the post-rock pioneers steered the direction of the latest version of Grewyind. “We love beautiful calm moments that can suddenly erupt into massive emotional parts when you least expect it. The chills a special moment in a song can give you when you think the song can’t get any bigger and then it does is one our favourite things to try and create.”
"Films wise, Kill Bill is definitely one of our biggest inspirations for this next chapter."
But of course, even with crescendos and the instrumental catharsis of post-rock leading the band down paths anew, film will always be a major part of the band’s DNA. “From the moment we start writing a new song we immediately start working on all the visual ideas too”, Steph expands. “The visual side of things has always been a massively important part of our band since day one and we love continuing to expand the world that we create with our songs. We’ve always wanted everything to connect and interlink through lyrics to videos to artwork to our live show. Films wise, Kill Bill is definitely one of our biggest inspirations for this next chapter. We love a revenge story."
As Greywind gear up for what is set to be a critically pivotal year for the band, it’s only natural to take the time to look back on their career so far and the initial record that allowed them to reach such heights. But even with the fourth anniversary of Afterthoughts having just passed last month, 2017 as a year is still a period of time borderline surreal and incomprehensible for the unit. “We learned so much during the release of that record,” Steph reminisces. “Playing our songs on those massive stages has taught us so much. We've always aimed to write songs that our built for arenas and now that we have the experience of playing arenas, it has allowed us to take our new music to the next level. Afterthoughts allowed us to achieve so many of our biggest dreams and we'll always be so proud of it. We wrote and recorded the entirety of the album before we had even played our first ever live show and looking back, we don't know how we were able to do that!”
Regardless of the unbridled success of the band’s first years. ‘Am I Asleep?’ is the tantalising first display of the now amplified prowess that Greywind harness. It’s an evocative, poetically visceral display of emotion and an appetiser for the band’s magnificent second release that is now just gleaming on the dawning horizon. But still, the band aren’t the ones to reveal their return too early. “We don’t want to give everything away just yet, but we have a lot of exciting things coming up in 2021! New music, shows and lots of other exciting things we’re so excited to announce in the next few weeks and months.” Even with their first material in years towering in ambition, it looks like the showstopper is still to come.