Grey Shack’s new frontman pushes the band beyond familiar territory with their latest single, Sundowner
It is not just the bands you listen to that affect the music you write and your sound. The people and acts that you are associated with also play a major role. This, perhaps, best explains the new sonic avatar that Chennai-based Grey Shack has donned with Prashanth Oliver taking over the band’s vocal reins. After all, the city-based rockers, whose previous frontman was Rohan Sen, have best been known for their old school rock and alt-rock leanings since their debut album, Step Outside in 2012. “I think it was time for a change. With Rohan stepping down, the idea was not to replace him. Instead, we wanted to create a different kind of frontman for the band, and that is where Oliver came in. I have always told Ollie that I did not want him to write like Rohan. I wanted him to be his true self, and that has changed the kind of music and the entire vibe of the band,” begins guitarist and founder, Vikram Vivekanand, talking about Grey Shack’s latest single, Sundowner that features this new line up.
Their first release since their 2018 album, Alchemy, Sundowner is part of the new, still-untitled EP that promises four songs with diverse lyrical content. “The EP is about making a statement that a lot of people might not subscribe to. There is an underlying social commentary, and there is a song that reflects our political stance as well,” says Vikram, offering insights into the making of the record that takes thematic cues from Rage Against The Machine.
A fresh sound, the latest single incorporates influences from genres like grunge and soft rock — while just about managing to hold onto Grey Shack’s signature essence, courtesy Vikram’s guitar solo. “Back when we were working on Alchemy, we were listening to bands like Winery Dogs, apart from Dream Theatre and Rush. We are all big fans of prog rock, and so it ended up being really heavy. Right now, we are looking at a certain ’90s vibe and listening to a lot of Mr Big.”
While Vikram cannot help but smile at feedback like ‘Where are the guitars?’ that Sundowner has elicited from fellow musicians (Vinay Ramakrishnan from Wascally Wabbit), the instrumentalist, who plays for five other Chennai outfits, says that he has evolved to prefer cleaner guitar lines. “As you grow as a guitarist, you realise that there were influences you copied as a beginner and you don’t need to do so anymore. You don’t need a lot of delay and reverb if that isn’t your sonic character.”
Sundowner is available on all major streaming platforms. Watch the lyric video of the single here.