The Indie Coffehouse Spotlight Artist: Grey Goes Black.

-Melanie Darrow, Writer

Grey Goes Black

“We knew, finally, that the girls were really women in disguise, that they understood love and even death, and that our job was merely to create the noise that seemed to fascinate them.” -Jeffrey Eugenides-The Virgin Suicides.

There’s a scene in The Virgin Suicides where a group of adolescent boys and girls play records back-and-forth over the telephone line. The music speaks volumes, filled with themes of longing, small bits of hope, loneliness, and love. In May 2019, Steven Moraghan and Grey Goes Black released a record based on that one scene, Records Over Wire, and the songs not only create noise, but are fascinating. 

Records Over Wire
Grey Goes Black

With songs such as “It’s Not Just Another Night,” “Won’t Hurt,” “Can’t Keep me Here Tonight,” and “Don’t Stop,” Grey Goes Black connects with its listeners on a deeply personal level.  Pulling from influences such as The Beatles and the Ramones, infused with a heavy dose of electronic music mixed with rock, Grey Goes Black has played in venues in multiple states. 

Speaking with Steven Moraghan, I asked him about the birth of the name, Grey Goes Black.  The name itself was taken from an album released by Mark Lanegan, from a song entitled, “Grey Goes Black.” Steven “really loved the way the words sounded together.”  He would later approach Matt about using the title of the song as their band name. “I really thought it was a good description of our style-kind of a somber sadness style.” Matt agreed and the rest is history. 

Grey Goes Black has persevered through challenges since that time.  At one point, Moraghan recounted losing a bassist a few days prior to recording their first self-titled EP. Matt Casoni & Steven Moraghan forged ahead with Matt on vocals and guitar, and Steven on drums and electronics.  Later, after recording the EP, James Malizia Jr. would join on bass and keyboard, thereby completing the band. Grey Goes Black was ready to begin playing shows. 

The New Jersey alternative rock band soon caught the attention of Nico Beatastic from Shore Dive Records.  After hearing the song “Break Apart Again,” the trio joined the record label. Moraghan describes the band’s relationship with the record label as very positive.  “Nico is super supportive, caring and really works hard for his bands.”  

Shore Dive Records

The band members are all family men. Steven works as a park ranger, Matt as an account manager, and James as a truck driver and all three men have families.  Being able to play at venues and still retain that family time has been important to all three men.  Family is important and that is highly evident in their professional lives. 

Much of that family dynamic is present in Steven’s history as his family would let him play for hours and never discouraged his playing.  He remembered his father arriving home from work after a long day and never stopping him from playing or practicing.  Being a drummer, his family supported the noise level, and even brought his equipment to shows and venues.  

Grey Goes Black has played in multiple venues, and I asked Steven to recount a few of his favorites. “We have been playing coffehouses lately as a more stripped-down electronic set, so I really enjoy playing the Asbury hotel and Saige Coffeehouse. As for full venue type places, we have a bunch in our area: The Saint, The Brighton Bar, and the Wonder Bar are all great places that treat bands with respect.” 

Even though coffeehouses are on the venue list, Steven is not a coffee drinker! But, he does drink tea and Redbull, so that mystery was solved.  

My last question is always the same. We are all given one life to live. Grey Goes Black has been striving towards a goal and accomplishing great things.  I asked Steven, “What advice do you have for someone who has a dream and wants to produce music?” 

His response was golden. “I would say be true to yourself and don’t worry about what everyone or every other band is doing. I spent a lot of time worrying about what this band or that band was doing, looking at what they released and what shows they played, and comparing us to them. ‘Why do they get to play at this show?’ ‘Why did this label release their CD?’ After awhile it will drive you crazy.  I finally snapped and said to myself, ‘I’m not in that band. I’m in this one and I have to do what’s best for us and myself.'”

He continued, “I took a step back and just took a breath. And you know what? When I did that, good things started happening.  We released a few songs on some comps and found our niche and scene, which eventually led to Nico offering us the opportunity to release our stuff with Shore Dive Records. So, I would say take a step back and breathe and do what’s best for you.”

“If I’m not doing what I feel is right, I’m not being true to myself.” It’s that quote from Miles Davis that Steven keeps in mind, and it’s one that describes the band Grey Goes Black, a band true to its style. 

Find Grey Goes Black here: 

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