By Tyler Fox
In an isolated Adirondack music scene dominated by jam bands and bluegrass, Hudson Gray is trying to break the mold. Gray is by no means an amateur when it comes to the local music scene, playing in several area bands over the past few years and constantly trying to revive a scene lacking variety in Saranac Lake, NY. His upcoming release includes a catchy pop-punk opener and a few stripped down guitar and vocal tracks that contrast nicely with the powerful open. But don’t expect that sound from Hudson after this EP.
I was able to sit down Hudson Gray to discuss his new solo project and all the exciting things he has going on this month. Gray’s first EP, “Sex, Drugs, & Rocking Back and Forth in My Chair” will be released on July 17th. However, if you are lucky enough to be in the Saranac Lake area this weekend, you may be able to score a copy of it at his first show on Saturday, July 4th with Crowfeather at The Waterhole in Saranac Lake (show starts at 10 and is $5 to get in). Be sure to like Hudson on Facebook to keep up on current news, pre-order the album on Bandcamp, and check out the first song he released, Little Miss Sunshine, on Soundcloud.
So this isn’t your first time making music. When did your pursuit of music begin? What are some earlier projects you did?
I started playing guitar when I was 10 years old. I got a guitar from my grandparents for Christmas and immediately started taking lessons. I started my first band when I was 16 with my brother and my friend Lyle. We were called “The Infamous” and were a punk rock trio. We played, I think, 3 shows locally before we broke up. And we recorded an EP too. But that was our first time making music as a band. Then we kind of transitioned to “Invasive Species,” which was a 5 piece progressive rock band. We had a bass player, drummer, clarinet player, trombonist and me doing lead vocals. It was fun. We played about 40 shows over the course of two years. I got a lot of good experience and learned a lot about what NOT to do.
For your current project, you are writing and performing everything by yourself. What made you decide to go in that direction rather than have a band? Is there a plan to fill out the roster for live shows down the road?
I am a complete and total control freak, so I was tired of butting heads with band members. Also, my incredibly busy schedule made it difficult for me to schedule band practices. I do plan on adding more members down the road, once I have an established fan base, can play shows regularly and can find the time that works for other musicians. Currently, I just don’t have the time.
“Sex, Drugs, & Rocking Back and Forth in My Chair” is the first EP you are putting out. Save the pop-punk opening track “July 17th”, the rest of the EP has a stripped down, lo-fi feel to it. What made you go in that direction for this release? What were some of your influences for this one?
The pop-punk feel of the first track was heavily influenced by a lot of the bands I listen to on a regular basis. I’m very much into bands like The Front Bottoms and Modern Baseball and just kind of that stripped down pop-punk feel that they have. Just very accessible type of music that I just really enjoyed. The song very much so wrote itself and the theme fit. The lo-fi feel of the other tracks were influenced primarily by a British artist, named Salvage My Dream, who has been recording music since 2008; I am a big fan of him. I very much tried to emulate his recording style, not so much his songwriting style, but the recording style, because I thought it would suit my songs well. I am really happy with how they came out.
You are getting ready to play your first show on July 4th at The Waterhole in Saranac Lake. How did this opportunity come about? Will we be hearing some/most of the songs off the new EP or are you going to be doing some different stuff?
A good friend of mine, Peter Curtis, is in the band Crowfeather, who is headlining the show that night. I was talking to him about it and he said they were playing two sets and that there would be an intermission between them. I just kind of thought, “would it be possible for me to play during that intermission?” He told me to talk to the drummer of the band to see if that would be a possibility. I messaged the drummer, he said he really liked the idea, so I showed him some of my music, and then it just kind of came about. I am doing two songs off of the EP and four songs not on the EP. Two of those songs will be covers and two of them will be other originals.
The EP comes out on July 17th. What formats are you going to be releasing it on and how can people get a copy?
It is available on Bandcamp. There will be physical copies for free at the Waterhole show and I will also have physical copies at The Grateful Toad in downtown Saranac Lake.
Is there anything we should be looking out for? (other shows, mini-tours, new music already??)
I am currently planning to record a single this summer. Hopefully get a music video for that single and really start to promote myself with that. That song really has potential, even to get radio play. That is not on the EP that comes out July 17th. We tried recording it for this EP, but I wasn’t satisfied with how it came out so we scrapped it and are going to start fresh sometime this summer.
You have said before that you have a whole elaborate plan for this project and you aren’t going to pigeonhole yourself into one genre or type. Without giving away too many secrets, would you mind letting us in on what is in store for the project?
I listen to an incredibly, incredibly wide range of music and I play an incredibly wide range of music. I always have. With this project, since it is just me I don’t have the limitation of other band members saying “hey I don’t really like this kind of music, I want to keep playing this kind of music.” So I can really do whatever I want. Without giving too much away, don’t expect anything I release to sound like this EP and don’t expect really anything I release to sound like something released before. I know every artist says that, but I really change genres rather than small aspects of what I do.
Anything else you would like to say about the project?
Just come see me on July 4th at The Waterhole in Saranac Lake!