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Florian Grey - Interview

Interview with: Florian Grey
Conducted by: T.V.

German act Florian Grey has certainly made quite a stir in the dark rock scene with his two albums. The first one, Gone, was released in 2015, at that time Florian Grey was still an one-man band, but has soon grown into a full fledged band and in May this year the sophomore album, Ritus, followed with great acclaim. Both albums were released by German dark rock/electronic label Echozone. Ritus is absolutely a huge step forward, not only soundwise, also compositions, production and everything that surrounds it is one or more steps higher if compared to the debut album. Florian Grey will in the first place satisfy fans of bands like HIM, The 69 Eyes, The Rasmus, Charon, Entwine, To/Die/For, For My Pain, Shamrain, Paradise Lost, Lord Of The Lost,... but also those who like traditional gothic rock and symphonic rock with a melancholic touch. Florian Grey makes music that is catchy, unpretentious, melancholic and simple. Almost every single track comes with an addictive refrain and is highly dynamic to offer an intriguing yet modest easy listening experience. Imploring lyrics meet heavy guitars and gentle sounds settle a score with the world. Hence, the songs send the listener to the brink of mankind's abyss. Read the interview with the charismatic vocalist Florian Grey, who revealed us many things about the new album, his past, influences, inspirations, live shows, future plans and even a bit about his private life.

T.V.: First of all congratulations for your new album, Ritus! It's out since mid May and I wonder how are you satisfied with it now. As well I'm interested how did the fans accepted it?
Florian Grey
: Thank you, well it is going well so far. We entered two different charts and the people seem to like it, they spread the word a bit more. All in all I am very happy about the support we get and the reactions to the songs. Yeah, we can´t complain but let´s see what elese happens to it since Ritus is still very young.

T.V.: The music is slightly different if compared to your debut album Gone. How would you compare the two albums?
Florian Grey
: I would say it developed naturally and still does, like growing furter. I did not want to write a second Gone album, my rough plan on Ritus was to be faster and more into the face. We moved from the pianos and classical aspect on to more catchy and guitar oriented melodies since we wrote the most parts on the acoustic guitar. Comparing these two is different, I mean you still have the deep lyrics and the emotion but like I said it is more direct and dynamic. The only brigde we have to the previous one to Ritus is a song called "Glimmer" and the instrumental "Paraphrase". I like to cross genres, melt them together and see what will come out. My influences are very diverse.

T.V.: The front cover artwork for the album is pretty grim and dark, but I guess that there is some symbolism involved in it..., I mean that green and purple tear from the skulls eyes might have some kind of an importance... What can you tell me about this?
Florian Grey: Yes it all has a meaning. The skull represents the darker shades of the music and stands for a kind of yin and the tears are the representing the yang. The neon colours is a hats off to the catchy 80s melodies and synthesizers on the album. I did it together with Patrick Montag, a graphic designer from Hamburg and a good friend. We had a lot of sleepless nights and fun creating it. He also did most of the single covers as well.

T.V.: As you mentioned the diverse influences, can you name some of the bands/artists that you count as your biggest influences?
Florian Grey: I actually can´t really tell some direct influences. In general it is music which captures me from the very first note and the genre actually doesn´t really matter here, I like great melodies or riffs. But to name some influences by far I guess I am a big fan of symphnonic metal and everything with electric guitars in it. If it's some dark tunes also - I am in heaven... Or hell.

T.V.: Going back to the album... Can you tell me some words about the lyrics of yours and what inspires you the most in writing them?
Florian Grey: Yes of course. I like the tragic kind of style, the more methaphoric and fairytale - like, the better. I find the inspiration most of the times in the daily life of friends, family or mine, even in parts of history and of course books. If there is a good book and the story leaves me hooked, I will definitely be inspired to write a song about it.

T.V.: And which books lately gave you such an inspiration, and can you name some songs in which you used the themes from these books?
Florian Grey: At the moment I don`t have much time to read but the last book I got was Toni Parsons with the german title "Dein finsteres Herz". I don´t know the English version and a book I still have to read from Tana French, I got it from a book store in some city I don't remember, maybe when I was at the studio doing Ritus. One song of mine "The Unknown Pleasure", I can tell is widely influenced by a book from Michael Poore called "Up Jumps the Devil". I was reading this one in I think four days, very funny and gloomy.

T.V.: It seems that you like to play with words in the titles. For example the opening song, "Bluecifer", ... What's the meaning of it?
Florian Grey: Bluecifer is an ode to all the dark minded or the ones who love to listen to the darker music, either if they are rockers or goths from the outside or from the inside. It is a methaphorical way to say we are who we are and we are so proud of that.

T.V.: Why did you feel the urge to make a full-line-up for the band and not to continue as a one man band?
Florian Grey: It was more like a progress going from a solo thing to a hybrid between band and solo but I feel very comfortable with it and so do the guys. We played together, hang out together and even became friends besides the music and that is what a band feels like. Therefore it was obvious and we did not really talk about it officially, it was like we said "yeah we´re a band". We work together on music and the most important thing is we enjoy the other characters because we´re so different but we want to have fun and do what we love the most and that is music.

T.V.: If asked how would you describe your music style what will your answer be?
Florian Grey: As you want, it's music. My anser would be dark alternative rock with some pop, symphonic and metal influences. We all call it symphonic dark rock. But in the end it is music from our very hands and hearts.

T.V.: You have a record deal with Echozone, one of the few labels who are still going quite strong in this certain musical fields. Tell me how are you satisfied with their job and how this collaboration started in the first place?
Florian Grey: It started all with the first album Gone ready back in the day and Echozone alredy heard of me, even of my former band. So I drove down there and we had a business meeting and then I signed the deal. We work very close and I can tell we achieved a lot so far, for a band in this genre. They did our new music videos and we talk about everything and decide together many steps. They are a big help towards a lot of stuff. It is a good and friendly relationship.

T.V.: I see that you have quite some live dates scheduled in Germany, but are there any plans to tour also outside the German borders?
Florian Grey: Yes but it's not much this year, there will be more next year. The thing is that we always want to play and come around. If there are people who are demanding us or want to see us we will come to play for sure. If all circumstances are fine with bookers and locations we will be there where the people want us! We would love to.

T.V.: Tell me what can audience expect to get on a Florian Grey show?
Florian Grey: You can expect a proper rock show in which we want to take you for a yourney through all kind of feelings and emotions, like a little ride to take your focus away from your all - day routine and run, lough, cry and rock with us.

T.V.: If you had unlimited options to choose a band or an artist to tour with, which one would that be and why?
Florian Grey: Each of us in the band has different thoughts about this and this is hard to answer but in our kinda genre I would love to tour with Nightwish. That would be a great thing and we could reach so many more people and I meet Marco once in a bar in Helsinki and he was such a nice guy.

T.V.: Not a lot is known about your former band that you mentioned. If I'm not mistaken it was Eves End? Is this band dead and buried now? What memories do you have about that time in the band? Were you maybe involved into any other band or project as well?
Florian Grey: Yes that´s right. I don´t know actually, for what I know is that it is not existing anymore. It lasted almost another year since I left in 2011. We had a blast on stage and playing music. In the end we had different sights on stuff. Most in between each other but we didn´t actually know much about the business side of the music and how hard it is. When you´re young all you want to do is to play shows. I take the good memories with me. After that I had a few projects, wrote music and sang but nothing really specific since I just wanted to try out different styles to widen my horizon musically.

T.V.: Future plans? Maybe a new album already in the making?
Florian Grey: Ha! Yes we are slowly in talks about new music since I always write new ideas or fragments. I have already three new demos done with Fede, Simon and Yannik have some as well. We will meet up in January and then let´s see when and where... At the moment we have our second Tour block coming up and we focus on that at first, but we are already in plans for some touring in 2019.

T.V.: What can you tell me about yourself? Whos's Florian in private life? What enthuses you beside music?
Florian Grey: The private me... Hm. That´s what the name private says already (laughs). I am actually a big nerd. I love to cook, nature, hang out with my friends or to read a good book. I even listen to audio books and collecting some fantasy/sci-fi stuff. That is what sets my water scale straight again. After the album Ritus was finished I fullfilled myself a little childhood dream and got me a full steel factured Masters of the Universe sword. This is actually the level of nerdism I am talking about (laughs).

T.V.: Thank you for answering this interview! The last words are all yours.
Florian Grey: Thank you very much for having me and what can I say other than hope to play for you all at some point and as they say on Eternia: Good journey, until next time!

Florian Grey links: Official website, Facebook