What are your names?
Jake Hoffman, Casey O’Connell, and Jordan Bowen
Can you tell us the story behind the name ‘The Gray Vines’?
We really wish it was more exciting, but Jake was on a long car ride a few years ago trying to think of band names, and “The Gray Vines” was the first name he didn’t hate, so it was kept in his back pocket for a while until he was ready.
How would you categorize your genre of music?
On the surface, we’re alt/ rock, but our influences far into other genres. So in theory, there are hints of many different styles.
Give us a little bio about you as individuals and as a band.
Jake is 21 from northern new jersey. He’s been playing music for almost a decade. When not playing music, he’s at a show, doodling on a setlist, or exploring his new hobby of mountain biking, which he currently does poorly. Jordan is 23 from the Jersey shore area. He’s been playing music for about 12 years. When not playing music, he’s either binge watching Netflix or reading about crypto currencies. Casey is 20 years old and from the Jersey shore region. He’s been playing piano for 14 years and bass for 9, and he’s been floating around the Asbury/shore scene for a while in different groups.
The band connected through the internet. Jordan originally was hesitant to join the band, but soon said yes and even asked Casey to join on bass. The three knew there was something unique when they played in the rehearsal room for the first time.
Describe each other in 2 words.
Jordan: Incredibly solid
Casey: Too good
Jake: Extraordinarily creative
What made you get into music?
Jake didn’t have any particular thing, it was just the way music makes him feel. He wanted to experience that as much as possible and hopefully do the same to other people.
For Casey, learning how to read sheet music inspired him to pursue music “seriously,” at his own pace. And for Jordan, it was when his brother introduced him to Green Day.
Are you a signed to a label?
Not yet. With all the options available to indie bands in the digital age, we’d really need to sit down and see what a label can do for us once offers come.
You recently released “See Me”, can you tell us more about it?
See Me is our take on a punk song. It’s fast, angry, and in your face.
What is the meaning behind the track?
See Me is a song about the people who constantly try and try to get heard, but are denied the basic rights or common sense legislation that they desperately need to survive. It was originally about the gap between the top 1% and people struggling to live on minimum wage, but as more and more tragedies like the recent Florida school shooting, the song picks up more and more meaning for us. It’s not ok that those in power allow these events to keep happening.
What was the writing and recording process like for this song?
It was exactly what it sounded like. We played the track live a few times in the studio and picked the best one. Then, for vocals, We waited until Jake had already finished all of his other songs. His voice was shot, but he was able to scream out two full run throughs of the track. One of those is what we used.
You also released a video for “See Me”, can you tell us more about the making of it?
It was made exactly how it looks. We shot it a basement where we had a show that night and we enlisted our good friend, Matt Cerisano, to film and edit it. The whole thing was shot in a few hours and the entire process only took a few days.
What else can we expect from you guys in 2018?
We’re talking about a lot of things, but most of that should remain a secret for now.
Do you have any shows or a tour coming up?
We have a show at Asbury Park Brewery on March 9th and we’re in the very preliminary stages of scheduling a summer tour with another band.
If so where will you be heading?
We’ll probably stick to the east coast. As far up as Boston and as far south as D.C.
Who are your musical influences?
Jake is inspired by Queens of the Stone Age, Jack White, The Kills, but his taste extends to classics like Queen and Bowie, and even foreign Jazz like Zaz and Franciose Hardy.
Jordan is inspired by Iron Maiden, Green Day, Steely Dan, Bruce Springsteen, as well as drummers like Dennis Chambers, and Steve Jordan.
Casey is inspired by Cornelius, Bjork, Anamanaguchi, Death Grips, and Tatsuro Yamashita. He’s really into psych-pop, neo-soul, shibuya-kei, and any avante-garde or experimental music.
Where do you draw inspiration to write your songs?
Wherever feels right at the time. Songwriting is an input/output process, so if some things have made me happy recently, a happy song will be written, the same applies to other events and emotions. That’s why See Me is the way that it is.
Where do you see yourself now in 5 years?
I think a great scenario would be that we’re a national band by then and can actually make something of a living doing this.
When you’re not doing music, what are some of your hobbies?
Jake enjoys mountain biking as mentioned earlier, but he also likes to create anything he can. Anything from custom pedal boards to small steel sculptures.
Jordan enjoys going to the gym and reading up on cryptocurrencies. He also spends time editing the GoPro videos from recent gigs.
Casey likes reading, running, learning new skills (code, computer graphics, animation), and watching old horror flicks. He also enjoys hanging out with his cat, Shea.
What was the song you listened to most that influenced you to get more into the music scene?
Jake: Missing Pieces, Jack White
Jordan: Badlands, Bruce Springsteen
Casey: Roundabout, Yes
What’s the best advice you have ever been given?
Jake: Say yes to as many things as you possibly can.
Jordan: Play your absolute best at every gig, no matter if it’s in front of ten people or ten thousand people. You never know who’s listening.
Casey: Those who do do, and those who don’t don’t.
What advice would you give to aspiring musicians?
Jake: If you play or write something that sounds good, but it’s “wrong”, do it anyway.
Jordan: Just treat everyone you meet along the way with respect. Your reputation is equally as important as your musical skills.
Casey: Don’t be afraid of artistic exploration. If you go too far you can always reel back, but if you never step forward you’ll never get anywhere.
What quote or saying do you always stick by?
Jake: “Never lose the groove in order to find a note.” – Victor Wooten. That applies to more than just music.
Jordan: It’s not the time in your life, it’s the life in your time.
Casey: “The beginning of wisdom is ‘I do not know'” – Data (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
Where in your hometown is a must go to visit?
We’re from all over New Jersey. If you leave without seeing a New Jersey DIY show, you’ve missed out.
You’re straight off tour…
1/ where do you go? Home
2/ who do you see? Our families.
3/what do you eat? Pizza. NYC/New Jersey pizza is a beast of its own.
When you’re at a gig, what are 5 things you cannot forget?
Our instruments…I think that’s a least five things.
If you had to give your younger self advice, what would it be?
Casey: Failure is the best teacher you will ever know. If you’re not failing, you’re doing something wrong.
Jordan: Play guitar and sing. You won’t have to carry shit.
Jake: Don’t eat so many raspberries. They will make you feel very bad for a few days. You are allergic.
Where can new fans find you online?