Published May 13, 2011Upstart Toronto riff lords Greys are currently bringing their '90s-inspired heavy rock to crowds in Canada's east and the U.S. But if music fans are hoping they will be indicative of a "Toronto sound," they're in for bit of a shocker.
"We're definitely an anomaly in Toronto," says guitarist/vocalist Shehzaad Jiwani of the band's noise-laden sound. "I wouldn't say there are other bands that sound exactly like us here, but there are definitely a bunch of bands that sound exactly like each other. Like, there are a bunch of bands that sound like the Strokes or Wilco or Broken Social Scene, or something like that. Those types of scenes are huge here, but I like that we are a complete anomaly."
As previously reported, the group, who began less than a year ago and only started recording with their current lineup in January, recently put out an EP, Ultra Sorta, on Toronto label Concession Records. As Jiwani explains, they are inspired by the kinds of bands they listened to growing up in the '90s.
"At some point riffs kind of stopped being the focal point of people's music and noise in general just took a backseat. I don't know why," says Jiwani. "There's riffy bands and noisy bands, but I'm not really aware of any bands who are marrying the two, and sticking some melody in there. We're a weird synthesis of Touch and Go noisy stuff, early Sub Pop riffage, and Dischord mid-'90s math stuff. So it's all of those scenes put together, because we have a lot of love for all of that."
Jiwani explains that when the group first got together as members of other Toronto bands such as Arietta, Rituals and Burning Love, they just wanted to jam the kinds of sounds they wish they could hear in town.
"It was just trying to fill a void, in the same way that if there was no one in Toronto making folk rock, we would be filling that void. It's mainly trying to do what is not being done currently. And as soon as people start doing this, we'll just do something else," jokes Jiwani. "We just don't want things to get boring, that's all."
Greys are planning to add more dates to their tour and spend much of the coming year on the road supporting Ultra Sorta. All Greys' currently scheduled North American dates are listed below.
5/15 Fredericton, NB - F Studio
5/17 Charlottetown, PEI - The Refinery
5/18 Halifax, NS - Club 1668
5/21 Lunenberg, MA - Rabbit Hole
5/22 Fitchburg, MA - Crofoot Ballroom
5/29 Baltimore, MD - Charm City Art Space
6/2 Chicago, IL - Reggie's
6/4 Sarnia, ON - Trinity Lounge