Interview: Given Grey

Detroit dark metal rockers Given Grey were formed out of the ashes of Saint Ridley. The group has added new members and taken their song writing in a new direction. Instead of focusing on fictional plots, the group is now drawing from personal experience for the themes of their songs. Their style has matured, as well as their vocals and instrumentation. With a new album in the works for 2018, expect to see the band touring near you shortly.

The band used to go by Saint Ridley, but is now called Given Grey. Why did the band decide on a name change? What meaning does Given Grey have compared to the former Saint Ridley?

To be honest, we all got sick of explaining the Saint Ridley name over and over again. People assumed Paul was calling himself a saint, which is far from the case. Saint Ridley started out as a solo project with Paul and Phil. When the album gained enough traction to put together a band and start playing shows, it was too late to change the name. As for Given Grey, the name encompasses exactly what we’ve experienced in the music industry: Everybody has a promise – we’ve been handed so many promises in black and white, but what we were given was the grey area in between. So there it is: Given Grey. The name is meant to remind us that there are people who will tell you they’ll give you what you’re looking for, but it will most likely be a compromise.

Has the name change been confusing for your fans or are they more excited?

Yes and no. A lot of people have told us they don’t care what we’re called because they’ve seen us live and they like our sound. Those are the true fans. These people really like the new name and the new direction we are taking, and are happy we have evolved. On the other side of things, some people fear change and want the band they fell in love with to go back to our old sound.

Will your music change with the name? If so, in what direction do you want to take Given Grey’s music?

Most definitely. All of our members are more mature and seasoned touring musicians. We are twice the musicians we started out as, and we have all grown together. Paul’s vocals are much more diverse in range and creativity. His clean vocals have become more well rounded and he’s gained more control. His heavier screams sound better also. We’ve taken on a second guitar player to allow Paul to concentrate on his vocals. The guitar players are no longer held back by what Paul can play and sing at the same time, which has made us more impressive

What is your favorite song off the Saint Ridley album Fool or a King? Why? What is your favorite song to perform off the album?

To be honest, the only songs on Fool or a King Paul can even stomach anymore are “Who I Am” and “Burn,” and “Burn” has been completely been reworked. Paul’s vocals have improved so much since that album, he doesn’t like listening to it. But we feel it’s nice for him to see how far he’s come. “Who I Am” is super fun to perform.

What is the best thing about touring? Have you had any weird or creepy experiences while on tour? Do you have a singular best moment while on tour?

We’ve had so much fun touring over the years, it’s hard to narrow down a best moment. As for creepy, that’s another thing. Paul had a fan approach him in Wichita, Kansas and ask for a picture. As the picture was being taken, Paul did his crazy grin that he’s known for. The fan looked Paul in the eyes and said, “I wonder if you could smile like that with a knife sticking through your ribs.” Luckily security was right there and heard the whole thing. They told us later that a knife was found in the guy’s pocket when he was thrown out.

How does the crowd’s energy affect the performance?

We always come out swinging. We don’t give the crowd a chance to be lazy. Over the years we’ve learned how to keep things interesting and hyped up.


Where do you draw inspiration for your current song’s lyrics? Has the tone of the lyrics changed with the new name and vibe?

There has been no shortage of inspiration lately. The whole band has had a really hard couple of years. Since we draw our songs from personal experience, things have come out quite easily. It has changed from the Saint Ridley days a whole lot. Over the years we have learned to work together and bounce off each other’s strengths.

You’re a woodworker, how did you become involved in that craft? What kind of projects do you enjoy doing?

My father taught me woodworking as I was growing up. Woodworking was something my father enjoyed and excelled at. I didn’t really learn to love it until after he had passed, I’m sad to say. I really wish I would’ve paid more attention to him. So to anybody reading this: Spend time with your parents and learn as much as you can while they’re still here.

When making music, do you guys ever have conflicts? What do you do to resolve them?

All the time. We usually vote or put it down for a week and come back fresh. Always works.

How has music made you into the person you are today?

Music at one point was all I had that made me feel a part of something special and bigger than myself. Plain and simple. Now I have a lot more to live for.

What are Given Grey’s plans for 2018?

Touring, I hope. Gotta release this new album, too.

Anything else you would like your fans to know?

The music industry is dying. So next time you want to go to a show, make sure you take a friend that’s never seen the band or never even been to a concert. Also, shows are all musicians have left since nobody pays for music anymore. Hit up the march booth and pick up that shirt you saw. It may be the only reason the band makes it to the next show, or even eats. Any musician that says they’re in it for the money has no idea what it’s actually like.

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