January 25, 2017 Interview – Steph & Paul O’Sullivan of Greywind
Tragedy is a part of life, but what happens in the afterthoughts is what separates lost hope from positive steps forward. Faced at a crossroad in their lives, aspiring sibling musicians Stephanie and Paul O’Sullivan came to this realization very young. With a strong passion to create and perform music, they soon put all their energy into forming the band Greywind.
Coming from a small town in Ireland, they quickly picked up a buzz with their do-it-yourself mentality leading to their signing on with Spinefarm Records. With their entire future ahead of them they are now ready to make a big splash with their debut album, Afterthoughts. Set for release on January 27th, the music within the tracklist on Afterthoughts is dynamic, passionate, and highly emotional.
Rising rapidly, the O’Sullivans take nothing for granted and are eager for the spotlight. Recently we caught up with them to talk their inspirational story, writing music together, their dreams of touring the world, and much more.
CrypticRock.com – You have had musical aspirations for some time now, and a few years ago you formed the band Greywind with your sibling Paul. First tell us, what inspired your inner passion to want to make music a career?
Steph O’Sullivan – We have always wanted to be in a band but we never could find people because of where we live. We live in a small town in Ireland, there is not a Rock scene here, it is all traditional Irish music. For years, we would search and search for people, but could never find anyone.
Then, in 2014, it just kind of clicked and we decided we can’t wait anymore. We said, “Let’s finish a song, go into a studio, record a demo, and put it online just for ourselves.” Then, other people reacted to the song “Afterthoughts” so well, they were freaking out saying it was amazing. After that we were signed to our management and a label. It kind of all happened so fast, it was a bit crazy.
CrypticRock.com – It sounds like it. Now all your dreams seem to be coming true as the band are signed on with Spinefarm Records. It has been a long journey to this point, filled with ups and downs. What has been the key for the both of you to keep moving forward and overcome obstacles?
Steph O’Sullivan – When our uncle committed suicide in 2010, it made us realize that you only live once, just do what you want because life is very short. That woke us up, that is when we fully believed and we really tried to find people for a band. It took four years. Then, in 2014, we wrote “Afterthoughts,” which is about that situation. It inspired us to pursue it properly.
CrypticRock.com – That is a tragic story, but it certainly is a wake up call when something like that happens. Now that we have spoken about the story behind the band, let’s talk about the music. Greywind has quite a unique sound. It is melodic, melancholy, but also heavy. That said, what was the writing and recording process behind the forthcoming album, Afterthoughts?
Paul O’Sullivan – With writing, I usually come up with the melody, I show it to Steph, and then we just start perfecting in our house. We are not people that had fancy equipment, all these songs with voice memos on our iPhones, then the second time we heard them, we were in Texas in a real studio. We are not the type of people who spend ages on demos, we just work in the moment when we feel like we want to be raw and emotional.
Steph O’Sullivan – We feel like if it sounds good in its rawest form, then it will be great when it has the full band effect.
CrypticRock.com – Agreed. That is why a lot of artists record acoustically. If it sounds good in that format, it will more than likely sound wonderful once all the other instruments are involved.
Paul O’Sullivan – Exactly, we made the worst recordings of our songs ever. We listened to them nonstop and know if that sounds good then, we think how good would they sound when they are recorded professionally.
CrypticRock.com – Absolutely. Afterthoughts is really a wonderful album. There certainly seems to be a great deal of emotion poured into this collection of songs. As stated, there is an underlying sadness to many of the tracks, but also a sense of hope. Tell us a little bit about the emotions that went into the songs.
Steph O’Sullivan – As I said before, with what happened with our uncle, it showed us even in a bad situation, you can find something good out of it. Even though people have bad days and such, you can find hope in that. That is what the theme of the album is.
Paul O’Sullivan – Every song has that wanting to escape theme throughout it. Every single song on the album is like a true story. The song “The Lake” is about a person who lived near us, he drowned and his friend couldn’t save him. We love creating our own world, this is our own dark world with this album, but all of the stories in it are true. It is real.
CrypticRock.com – Yes, and that makes the music that much more effective. You can tell when a song is insincere. These songs are very sincere, because as you said, they are from real life experiences.
Paul O’Sullivan – We are inspired by bands like Thrice, Jimmy Eat World, and Brand New. A lot of their albums are very raw and emotional. When we started this, we wanted it to be real, we wanted to pour our hearts out and not be scared. Some of the themes are dark topics, which a lot of bands do not really talk about. We are comfortable with pouring everything out there and being honest. That is one of the great things about music, is when you can hear the honesty.
CrypticRock.com – Agreed completely. Obviously, you are the focal points of Greywind – Paul, on guitar, Steph on vocals. Steph, you have a fantastic voice with a lot of raw emotion. Paul, your guitar sound is very tight and atmospheric. Could you tell us what music influenced you personally?
Steph O’Sullivan – I have always sang. My mom is a singer, she sings Opera, which is completely opposed to what we are doing. I have always been surrounded by the singing. As Paul said, Thrice is one of our favorite bands. Dustin Kensrue is probably my favorite vocalist, I think he has inspired me a lot. Also My Chemical Romance showed me the kind of dramatic emotion.
Paul O’Sullivan – For me, I grew up My Chemical Romance and things such as that. As I got older, I started listen to Post Rock with bands such as Explosions in the Sky and Caspian; the way they could get so much emotion without words in their songs. Post Rock would probably be my biggest influence.
CrypticRock.com – These are elements that can be heard in Greywind’s music, you can hear the emotions in the song. Afterthoughts is set for release Friday, January 27th. How redeeming is it to you to see all the hard work paying off?
Paul O’Sullivan – This is all we wanted for so long, we poured our hearts into it. Even from the music videos to the artwork, every single song on the album has an individual piece of artwork to go with it. Like I said, we want to create our own world with this. This is our first ever release, we have never released an EP or anything. People already have fan pages, people are connecting with it. For people to be connecting with it without us even having our first release out it is just so crazy.
Steph O’Sullivan – Yes, we have our album release show the day it comes out. We have sold out this show in London, it is insane, little things like this mean so much to us.
Paul O’Sullivan – On the day the album is released, we are playing our first ever headlining show in our entire lives. It is not even in Ireland, we have never even played a show over here yet, and we sold it out. This is going to be only our seventeenth ever full band show in our entire lives. It is insane to be doing it in another country.
CrypticRock.com – That is truly amazing and it all sounds quite surreal.
Paul O’Sullivan – We are still pinching ourselves everyday. Like I was saying, Thrice is probably our biggest inspirations. In 2016, we got to support them on stage. It is really crazy.
CrypticRock.com – It is, but a fantastic story to tell. A dream of yours has always been to tour the world. Is there a possibility of the band visiting North America soon?
Paul O’Sullivan – America has probably been our biggest dream. Warped Tour is probably one our biggest aims to do.
Steph O’Sullivan – Just to get to tour across America, that would be absolutely incredible. Hopefully very soon you will see us.
CrypticRock.com – That would be great. Since Greywind is relatively new to many people’s ears, what are the reactions you are getting from people?
Paul O’Sullivan – Reading and Leeds Festival is one of the biggest festivals in the world. We played it last year, it was our fourteenth or fifteenth show. We received reviews saying, “best set of Reading Festival.”
Steph O’Sullivan – Seeing people coming out so early singing back to us, the reactions have been amazing.
CrypticRock.com – How redeeming to experience such things so fast. You mentioned some of your musical influences. Greywind is different from their influences. Has anyone compared the band to other acts?
Paul O’Sullivan – People get confused a lot, we get so many varied things. Some people can get lazy and just throw out another female fronted band. I love when people make an effort and hear Thrice and Brand New influences in our music.
Steph O’Sullivan – They don’t just pinpoint us to one thing. They don’t really know what we are, which I like.
Paul O’Sullivan – We don’t think we sound like anyone. It is amazing when other people think the same thing. It is very varied what we get.
CrypticRock.com – Understandable. You want to be your own act. You do not want to be compared to another act. You mentioned how some throw out any female fronted band. This happens often. There are so many different forms of female fronted bands, it is a very broad range.
Steph O’Sullivan – Yes, no one says male fronted bands. I never heard anyone say that, I don’t know why it is so separate and it can’t be all bands.
Paul O’Sullivan – We feel like things are changing a tiny bit. We have been reviewed in Kerrang and Rock Sound recently and no female fronted bands were mentioned in it.
Steph O’Sullivan – Yes, they kind of talk more about the influences, they get that part of that.
Paul O’Sullivan – It feels like if we released this album three years ago, we would have gotten nothing about female fronted band or for fans of. It feels like things are changing.
CrypticRock.com – Yes, it is great to see that general labeling is being used last. My last question for you is pertaining to movies. CrypticRock.com covers music and Horror/Sci-Fi films. If you are a fan of the genres, what are some of your all-time favorites?
Steph O’Sullivan – I would usually say I am not a fan of Horror movies, but lately I have watched a lot and I don’t know why (laughs).
Paul O’Sullivan – I watched Arrival recently. The best Horror film I have seen recently was Hush. It is really good. It is the best one I have seen in years. It was really simple and very good.