How did you get into doom and what bands influenced you?
John: I got my start though hand-me-down stoner rock and Seattle grunge records from my uncle when I was young. I latched onto the Kyuss and Melvins records especially, and went looking for more of the same while in middle school. From there, thanks to magic of the internet, I discovered bands like Neurosis, Earth, Electric Wizard, and Sleep in high school. These were groups that were unlike anything else I'd ever heard and were a step beyond the death metal my mates were into at the time. From there it was a progression to finding new bands and discovering earlier bands I hadn't heard of. I admittedly slept on Pentagram for the longest time, which was a huge mistake.
Jason: I really started getting into doom by discovering Neurosis. I took home the A Sun That Never Sets CD and I was hooked. From there I just did my research and looked into any bands I thought had an interesting sound. I've always kind of leaned towards bands that still had some melodic tendencies like Isis and the like, but meeting John and starting to jam with what would become Grey Host, I began to appreciate the ugly fuzzed out stuff and traditional doom more and more.
Seb: I suppose my introduction to doom came in two parts. While in high school, I arbitrarily bought Black Sabbath-S/T, and it just so happened to be that when I popped the disc into the player, a thunderstorm rolled in. Listening to "Black Sabbath" for the first time as lightning shoots across the sky is an experience that leaves a mark. At the time, however, I was more into death metal and that lovely early 2000s hardcore/metalcore/grindcore stuff, like Botch, Zao, etc., and I couldn't conceive that there were more bands doing that slow sound. Cut to my freshman year in college, I'd gotten a bit bored with metal, and one day, I receive an IM that says "download this. Heaviest album ever." It turned out to be a link to Buried At Sea-Migration. That opinion was correct and opened the downward spiral into doom bands for me.
How did Grey Host come together?
John: Grey Host began in our (recently former drummer) Zac's bedroom during a jam session after a night of drinking. I had been messing around with some riffs, and had finally found a drummer interested and willing to do something different. Zac had attended CCM with Jason, who was a well-known metalhead, so he had arranged a meeting and jam session. From the minute I met him, I knew we were destined to make heavy things together. We were a three piece for a year and a half, writing and sporadically playing out, before we invited our good dear friend Evan to join us on keys. On the low end, we had played with a few bassists, but none really stuck until Seb joined us earlier in 2013. He had been friends with a few of us already, had played with his former band Giants Stood Motionless, and he was just a great fit for our sound and personalities.
How long did it take you guys to write and record Dawn for Vultures?
Jason: The material for Dawn for Vultures was written over the course of a year or so. John had basic ideas for songs before we even met, and when we started jamming we put our heads together to flesh out ideas. Usually songs would be born from a riff either of us came up with and then we would get together and bounce new riffs off of each other. More often than not I'd have an idea or riff that would work perfectly with one of John's, so most of the songs are very collaborative in that sense. The recording came about as a luxury of the space we practiced in. Myself and some colleagues from school started a studio in an empty warehouse on the east side of town by Lunken Airport, so we had access to recording gear that was borrowed and shared amongst ourselves and other bands. Zac and I both went to school for production so we dove in and got our hands dirty with this album, and because of the nature of the space we tracked in we had a lot of time to hash out our ideas and change them when needed. The time from recording to mixing and ultimately releasing the album was also around a year. We tend to do everything pretty slowly.
Was there a certain feel or theme you were trying to achieve on Dawn for Vultures?
Jason: There's no theme for the album, only an atmosphere we were trying to achieve with the tones and techniques used to record. We got pretty weird in the recording space with mic placement and selection. We had the luxury of being able to try out different things, like throwing a room mic up 18ft in the air on the other side of the warehouse, and miking up a guitar cab every different way we could think of. Also because the space was so huge, we used that space to our advantage, and I think that's the feeling we wanted to get across with the mix. Big, open, low and dirty.
It’s been almost a year now since you released Dawn for Vultures. How has the overall reception been?
John: Reception has been surprisingly warm, with glowing reviews from both bloggers and print media, along with great feedback from people in the local music scenes.
Do you have any plans to work on the next album yet?
Seb: In terms of working on the next album, we've been writing new material and have completed two songs over the past year that will likely make the final cut, but in light of the recent development that Zac, who has been playing drums with Grey Host since the beginning, recently moved away from the Cincinnati area, this process has slowed due to the search for a new drummer. The short answer is that new material is certainly forthcoming, but there's not a definite time frame as to when we'd expect it to come out.
John: The recording process for Dawn for Vultures was so drawn out that we had a chance to write new material while getting that ready for release. We have about three and a half songs down pat beyond the material on our release, and have been working on several more songs which aren't quite there. With Zac moving away from town, it gives the rest of us a chance to focus on shaping up the songs we have in the works.
Prior to Zac’s departure, were you able to get any touring in?
John: Not touring necessarily, but we've played out up in Dayton a handful of times. That's about it, though.
John, you are also an accomplished graphic artist. Does your artwork inspire the Grey Host material or is it the other way around? Are the two even related?
John: I've always used Grey Host's material as a source and inspiration for artwork. They play off each other and draw from the same well of influence since I'm working so intimately with both media.
Your cover of "Working Man" was interesting at Ironfest IV. How did that come about?
John: Ironfest is always a fun time and we were grateful to be asked to play it with a bunch bands we're also friends with. We really just wanted to throw something in that was a one-time thing for the hell of it.
So what's next for Grey Host, other than writing and finding a drummer?
Seb: The only thing on the books at present is playing a show on April 18th, 2014 with Temple (Cincy heaviness) and Men of Fortune (Peoria,IL) at Chameleon. So hopefully more shows, recording, etc. in the not too distant future.