With the release of their latest single TODAY, I thought it would be a good opportunity to catch up with Ryan to discuss it.
For those who haven’t heard of The Greyhound Factory before, how would you describe your style and who would you liken yourselves to?
We’re a hodgepodge of powerpop, garage rock and even glam. We’re a bit English-Americana – Like if Bruce Springsteen drank Earl Grey. We’re probably most influenced by acts like Tom Petty, INXS, The Raspberries but then also British acts like The Bluetones and Elvis Costello.
Who’s in the band, and how did you all meet?
There’s Harry on guitar, Dan on bass, Kevin on drums and Ryan (me) on guitar and vocals. Three of us knew of each other from school. We were in different years but knew that each other played instruments. Then 10 years on from school we seemed to be bumping into each other in the pub and I mentioned we should get together and play. I’d also been having singing lessons and my teacher Sooty mentioned her daughter’s partner, Kevin who played drums. I gave him a call and we all met up together to just play and see what happened. I was a bit nervous in case it turned out Kevin wasn’t very good. Turns out he’s John Bonham’s body double (he really looks like him) and plays a bit like him too. We’d all been in bands before but this time we felt we had all matured enough to not give too much of a fuck about what anybody thought or anything and just do it for ourselves. Also we’re around 30 years old now so we’re definitely more mature, apart from Kevin. He’s 41.
Where did your name come from?
We really wanted something that didn’t sound cooler than us – so it took us a while to settle on something! I was reading Bob Dylan’s biography and I flicked through the pages and stuck my finger down randomly. The first two words that came out were “factory” and “greyhound”. In the end I quite liked it. It hints at the feeling some of us had with our day jobs.
How long have you been making music, and what have you previously released?
As a group we have been together about 4 years now but we ramped things up in the last year. We previously released 3 singles which were recorded at home in my basement. They weren’t anything special production or mixing-wise as we were still learning our sound, but we needed to get something out there. It got us our first play on BBC introducing which was pretty special for us. While I’d always dabbled in mixing it was the first time I really put something together properly, so it was great to hear something go from our sweaty basement to BBC Introducing.
Is this latest single – “Outside the Frame” – a hint of new music on the way?
Yes! We recently got out of our basement into Headline Studios in Cambridge. We were there for a few days and got 5 tracks down, including a bitch of a song that’s 6 minutes long. We’ve also re-did some of our older songs to get better recordings and not be so restricted by the confines of our basement. We’re planning on releasing all the songs individually over 2020 to absolutely milk it.
Who produced the single/album/ep/etc
We were really fortunate to work with Piers Mortimer who’s worked with some great artists like Jamiroquai’s band. He really got what we were trying to do which is why we loved working with him. Sometimes when you work with producers it can feel a bit intimidating. They’ve worked with so many acts that you can’t help but think, “fuck, we’re gonna be so shit in comparison”. But half the job of a good producer is making you feel comfortable, which Piers and his apprentices did.
When I was doing vocals for an old track we re-recorded, “Genie and the Gun”, we were listening to a lot of T-Rex and so in the build up to the chorus we layered about 4 octaves of vocals. I can go budgie-smuggler high, but we were going into BeeGee territory. The result came out sounding so glam that we think we might have taken on a new direction. Outside the Frame did this too – at the end of the track we doubled up some octave “ooos” in the vocals and it sounded so Queen.
Where did the inspiration for the lyrics and sounds come from?
The song is really about trying to be friends with someone who’s inspiring and you think is just too cool for you. You admire them but maybe you think they’re a bit out of your reach. The idea came out of when we played some shows and noticed some people in the first row of the crowd who were nodding along but definitely looked like young, fashionable, groovy people and should probably have been on stage instead of us – I mean, I’ve used the word “groovy” which kind of tells you all you need to know there.
The sound is a real witches cauldron of stuff which, probably sums up our sound overall. There’s powerpop elements with the quick quavers on the hi-hats, a real chugging Americana guitar riff, a dirty garage rock guitar solo and towards the end we have the Queen-like vocals.
Is there any plans to go on tour this year?
Yes we’re looking to play a few festivals across the country this summer. Then after the series of single releases we’re hoping to get our arses in gear for a tour at the end of the year.
Who are your artists to watch out for in 2020?
We’ve just got back from a gig in Bishop Stortford where we played with a band called Big Mouse Tree House. We loved them. They were like hard Rock jazz, which sounds awful but it ain’t. If Primus, Ezra Collective and Alanis Morissette somehow had a lovechild and then that baby turned out to be a bear that then ripped your face off – that’s the groove of their sound.
Where can we find out more about you?
We’re on all the usual social sites and Spotify. On Instagram in particular, you could find pictures of our dogs and Harry’s bum.
Anything else you would like to tell us?
When you get to 30 you need to keep on top of your ear hair. And also watch out for all our single releases in 2020 🙂
I’d like to thank Ryan for taking the time to answer my questions and wish him and the rest of the band the best for 2020.