Jack Gray - The Gallery, Oxford Art Factory
“I don’t think of music in terms of genre,” says Jack Gray. “I grew up listening to everything, so I feel like that sets the table for me as a songwriter.”
Take a listen to Gray’s captivating debut EP, ‘Nights Like This,’ and you’ll understand exactly what he means. Gray sings with a seemingly effortless intimacy, his productions show little regard for traditional distinctions between acoustic and electronic elements, frequently combining both into an ambitiously modern blend that feels instantly familiar and boldly adventurous all at once.
“When I’m making beats, I don’t care if I’m using an 808 drum machine or an acoustic kit,” explains Gray, who plays most every instrument on the EP himself. “If it sounds dope, I say let’s run with it and see where it goes.”
Capturing all the beautiful highs and messy lows of the journey into adulthood, the songs on ‘Nights Like This’ often juxtapose conflicting emotions, tackling weighty topics with subtle nuance and thoughtful reflection. Grappling with the pull of nostalgia and the push to move forward, the track would ultimately go through an elaborate series of revisions and re-imaginings before ever seeing the light of day, with fourteen alternate versions eventually giving way to its final form.
It was a long and winding evolution, but, as with everything Jack Gray does, the results are more than worth the journey.