Dreamgaze Outfit Graywave Evolves Into Their Sound On ‘Dancing in the Dust’

Dreamgaze Outfit Graywave Evolves Into Their Sound On ‘Dancing in the Dust’

- By Creative Team

The British solo-project-turned-full-band is discovering itself with their latest EP, while paving the way for their debut record.

Words by Jon Garcia

Jess Webberley b always wanted to create a heavy shoegaze-meets-dream-pop project.

From her early days rinsing Slowdive and Cocteau Twins to a more recent love of trip-hop like Portishead and Massive Attack, and even the brooding, goth croon of Type-O Negative. That kind of music spoke to her.

It’s a sound she’s been chasing for nearly a decade as Graywave; first as a lone musician crafting her identity and more recently as the leader and driving creative force of a full band. But even though she’s known since the start where her sonic heart lies, it doesn’t make spilling it into someone’s headphones any easier.

“I do sometimes have a little bit of an existential crisis about music and what I'm creating,” Webberley said. “I'm like, ‘Is this really what I want it to sound like?’ I think as time goes on, I'm realizing that I really do like having a darker edge to things and channeling more of that kind of metal influence.“


Graywave’s music exists on the edges of the dreamworld. Surges of distortion mix with Webberley’s ethereal and atmospheric voice to help channel the listener away from reality. The light and airy guitar passages of her early work has shifted to a dingier – but no less lush – delivery across two EPs, with her most recent – Dancing in the Dust – culminating in a far more collaborative sound than anything Graywave has done in the past.

“As I started writing more music and going into the studio, it became very clear, very quickly that it was a full band sound that I was after,” Webberly said. “It also meant that with live shows I needed other people to play with me anyway, in order to reflect what was on record.”

Friend and former bandmate Zak Jenkins had been chipping in to help with drums on previous releases and was a natural fit to join the band. Webberly and Jenkins’ rapport facilitated the more collaborative approach, and directly led to stand-alone singles “Blur Into One” and “Cycle” which both appear on Dancing in the Dust. Guitarist Oliver Beardmore and bassist Joe Galkowski followed.

Webberly also wanted to bring in other musicians to help break up the monotony of the creative process.

“I was starting to feel a little bit stagnant with writing because I was always doing it the same way,” she said. “I was always picking up my guitar and trying to come up with something. But with [Dancing in the Dust], I'd do a bass line first or I would do a synth first and just mixed it up that way. 



“‘Blur Into One’ actually was mostly written by me and Zak just jamming together in a practice room, which is probably the only song that's actually ever been written like that. Creatively, it has been a bit different and that's what I'd like to channel going forward, is that more collaborative process.”

She doesn’t want to fall into the trap of creating the same music over and over. Webberly wants Graywave to sound like it's evolving, even if that means losing some people along the way.

“I want to keep being creative with it and keep exploring and pushing it,” she said. “I think we're heading in the right direction, but I would say that we haven't absolutely nailed that dream sound that I would be after just yet.”

Dancing in the Dust is the closest they’ve come so far, though.

“I think it's probably the one that's best tied together as a singular release,” Jenkins said. “You listen to all the songs all the way through and they're in that order and they make sense and it's tied together well. whereas older ones are maybe just like five songs together.

“We could really make an album one big thing that is consistent and flows and just doesn't stop, That's what I like about my favorite albums.”

Webberley doesn’t want to go on just releasing singles and short EPs, but she’s also not in a hurry to release Graywave’’s first album. While songs and ideas for it have been kicking around for a bit, it’s something she hopes they can really start to work on soon.

“Over the next few years, I would love to put out the debut album,” Weberley said. “I'd say the reason we haven't done that yet is just because you only really get the chance to put out a debut album once. This might be the perfectionist in me, but I just don't want to waste that opportunity on something that might be a bit rushed or not quite right yet.”

For now, Webberley is juggling the new band dynamic with trying to get her head around the business and admin side of things. Graywave’s gained valuable experience playing on bigger festival stages to bigger crowds, and hope that their continued creative momentum will entice listeners to immerse themselves in the project.

“I know that lyrics and music are subjective, people take from it what they want,” Webberley said. “That’s the way I always want Graywave to be. I never really want to say it means this. I always prefer to leave lyrics quite vague, so people can take from it what they want.

I hope that people can kind of get a sense of where the project is leading to from this release.”

Dancing in the Dust is available now via Church Road Records - HERE

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