BOYSETSFIRE is a tremendous band, and for my money probably the best band that falls under the “post-hardcore” category too. Fiery, political, and urgent as fuck- they set the tone for what melodic hardcore and punk rock could look like in the internet age. I say “IS” instead of “WAS” because they’re still active, they never stayed split up for TOO long and they have some festival appearances coming up this summer so you’re gonna want to get those on your radar cause they really give it hell.
Their singer, Nathan Gray, branched off to do his own thing and put out 2018’s EXCELLENT “Feral Hymns“. It’s an absolutely amazing album start to finish, and what I’m consistently jazzed about with Nathan Gray is that he can strip things down and take away the bombast while FULLY retaining the urgency and passion that made BOYSETSFIRE so special, all in the framework of a solo project. Needless to say, I’m a pretty big fucking fan of his so when I started The Ghost Generation, got my ass back on social media, and started following people he was one of the first.
I was up working on something or other for the site one night and I’d probably had a couple beers. I listened to the title track of his new album, “Working Title“, and I was totally blown away. For one thing, it’s a great song. Another thing is, it features some guest vocals from Chuck Ragan (from Hot Water Music, who are one of my absolute favorite punk bands of all time) so that’s super-rad too. I said to myself, “fuck it, I’m gonna see if Nathan Gray would be down for an interview” and messaged him on Instagram. Much to my fanboy wonderment, he obliged. No ego, no bullshit, he wanted to do a phone interview and he was stoked. I wish it was like that every time, it makes my shit a hell of a lot easier when people are just COOL.
People not being dicks. Novel idea.
Add to that the fact that he agreed to talk to me on his fucking ALBUM RELEASE DAY and you get the picture that Nathan Gray is just a fucking good guy who loves his art and I respect the shit out of him for being the person he is. So, “Working Title” (out on End Hits Records- a fantastic label BTW) came out last Friday (1/31/20) to absolutely GLOWING reviews and while he wrangled children, handled the flood of texts and calls, and dealt with his own excitement he took a fucking HOUR out of his day to talk to me.
“Working Title” is a stunning work from a master of his craft. It drifts seamlessly from high-energy melodic punk to plaintive piano ballads with the effortless touch of someone who knows their way around a song and NEEDS to be playing these notes. This is the kind of music that grabs you by the heart and lets you know that you’re not alone. Nathan Gray has written songs here that are obviously deeply personal, but he paints in broad enough strokes that anyone can relate to this music and for me that puts him in the upper echelon side-by side with bands like Leatherface and Hot Water Music. These are the people that take the word “punk” and squeeze every drop of emotion and nuance out of it that they can to make something that transcends the genre tags to be something bold and new.
No bullshit, this is probably the best conversation I’ve ever had with a human not called “my wife” and it’s all the more astounding since we’d never fucking met or spoken before this interview. It sounds less like an interview and more like long lost friends catching up and learning about each other after some long, drawn-out absence. We had a fucking blast and we damn near forget to talk about the fucking ALBUM RELEASING THAT DAY because we go off on so many tangents. Maybe I’m biased, but THIS is the kind of thing I get jazzed about in an interview. THIS kind of thing is what I want to hear more of- openness, honesty, and passion. it’s probably “technically” terrible, but I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out and I’m SO excited to share it with you now. It couldn’t have been a more genuine pleasure if it had a gun to its head. Shit, we didn’t START talking about all his OTHER work like I AM HERESY and The Casting out (both of which you need to be listening to as well) but there’s only so much time on a guy’s album release date and I talk too much already.
We found out we share a mutual & unironic love of Rick Springfield. Does it GET more punk rock than that?
I should give a quick disclaimer- This was the first interview for The Ghost Generation that I’ve conducted over the phone, and you can pretty much tell. I found a call recording app that had decent reviews (and the option to transcribe for me afterwards) and went for it. In true punk rock fashion it didn’t go anything close to how I planned it in my head and since we were SO excited and passionate during out conversation it was nearly impossible to transcribe. If I tried to attempt it, it wouldn’t have been the same. So, even though the audio quality isn’t the greatest, I decided to just drop the whole thing here warts and all. Fuck it, this shit is a learning experience and next time I’ll have that shit sorted out much better.
For now, I’m extremely proud to present The Ghost Generation X Nathan Gray Interview, recorded on the day his brand new album “Working Title” was released. Enjoy, Ghosties- plenty more where this came from so stay tuned and thanks for reading and listening! To Nathan Gray, HUGE thanks for doing this. The album is stunning and you deserve every bit of success that comes from it. I’m truly glad we “met” and The Ghost Generation has an open invitation for you anytime.
You can check out “Working Title” and pretty much everything related to all of his other projects (BOYSETSFIRE, I AM HERESY, etc.) HERE. You can bother Nathan like I did on Instagram, or: Facebook, Twitter, and his own lovely website here. Spotify links are in the article above, as well as links to End Hits Records’ store. Did I miss anything? Yes! Bandcamp. Ok, I’m done.
A blog/website where these happily married, 30-something parents of 2 little minions rant, rave, and speak in tongues. Raw, honest, and riddled with profanity. Get on board and let’s make The Ghost Generation awesome together! http://theghostgeneration.com Twitter.com/Gh0stGeneration