Interview: Dan Wenham – Graces Collide

Graces CollideGraces Collide are a powerful melodic riff laden rock monster hailing from the heart of Brighton, UK. Debut album ‘Our Tomorrow’ has just been released and we got the lowdown from GC vocalist/guitarist Dan Wenham on the origins of the band and what you can expect when you delve into the world of Graces Collide.

What are the origins of Graces Collide, how long have you been playing together?

DW – The band has been together for about 10 years now. It really doesn’t feel that long… took us a while to find our feet that’s for sure haha. The band actually started out as a different band with a different singer. The twins (William and Jurgan) moved to Brighton with their former band seeking fame and fortune. Due to a few differences within the band they decided to get a new singer – myself – who they found on an online musicians site we like to call Tinder For Music.

How did you feel performing your first gig as a band? And how was it?!

DW – Our first gig was actually a battle of the bands at The Pav Tav in Brighton. The twins had done loads of shows beforehand so they were pretty confident, but for me it was my first time singing originals in front of people, and more than just two or three songs at an open mic night. Honestly, in the early days I was so nervous I used to drip sweat and my heart pounded so hard. My heart still thumps before every gig, so yeah, if you ask to feel my chest a few minutes before we are due to hit the stage my heart will be going for it, haha. But I wouldn’t change it; I love the feeling.

What should people expect when they check the band out? How would you describe yourselves?

DW – If people love big heavy guitars, and songs with a catchy hook that’s what they can expect with us. A decent guitar line with a great melody is what we strive for whenever we write a song.

The band are based in Brighton, a city that’s always had a thriving music scene. What’s it like at the moment?

DW – Personally, I feel it’s struggling, with a lot of venues closing. That puts pressure on the remaining ones. Having a number of music colleges in Brighton is both a blessing and a curse; you get a lot more musicians and talent coming through, but sometimes it can feel a little like quantity over quality.

In general, the new music scene is bursting at the seams with fresh talent. In what ways do you feel that a band has to stand out from the others trying to build a name?

DW – Songs, haha, just great songs. I’m not a huge theory guy or super knowing as a player. I just like something that is put together well and has a great melody.

What do you feel is the most frustrating aspect about the music scene in 2020?

DW – For me, in all honesty trying to break on to any bigger and better platform for your music is hard, and getting people to take you seriously is very hard. You need a lot of ducks in a row to make things move how you want them to, and then you gotta have some luck with it haha. I would say seek help where you can and always go with your budget.

Debut album ‘Our Tomorrow’ has just dropped, are you working on anything else at the minute that people can check out?

DW – Currently we are just planning the next steps of the band through this chaos that is Covid-19. Working out how to write and be productive so we can still be present for people, haha, as it seems we are hiding in a cave.

What band out there at the minute do you feel that you would be best suited to open for?

DW – Owww, if I could choose and it just happen it would be Alter Bridge as they are everything we love about songwriting and rock music. Bands such as Like A Storm and Black Stone Cherry have also had a huge impact on us, and we would love to open for those guys.

Who do you feel is the next UK band to break out in the way that Massive Wagons recently have?

DW – Owww, that is good. Those Damn Crows seem to be doing great at the moment. I see them pop up everywhere. Amazing vocals from that guy!

Good call! What about yourself? What are your first musical memories? And what was the lightbulb moment that made you go “I want to do that?”

DW – For me I never wanted to sing and never sang a note. In honesty, I started playing guitar after listening to a Creed album – ‘Human Clay’ – and it is still one of my favourite albums. The moment I was like “I wanna do that” was more around the time they released ‘My Sacrifice’. I remember watching the video thinking “what the hell – this is amazing – it looks like a movie!”, (I love cinema as well as music).

What was the last gig that you attended as a fan?

DW – I go to gigs all the time, it is my favourite thing to do. The last show I went to was at Chalk in Brighton and I saw The HU, but I’ll be honest, I went solely for the support band Fire From The Gods, who I absolutely love at the moment.

Like A Storm – great band! What is the album that you have in your collection/Spotify playlist that would surprise most people?

DW – The non-rock stuff I love and listen to all the time are artists like John Mayer (I love that guy), and another guy called Gavin Degraw.

Apart from surviving the next few months, what are your plans for 2020?

DW – Well our plan is to be out on the road some time in October, playing as many shows as possible. By the end of the year we are also hoping to have released an EP with three or four acoustic and piano versions of a few of our songs.

How active are you on social media, and where can people connect with you?

DW – We are pretty active across the board. We are most active on our Facebook and Instagram accounts.

Graces Collide are:

Dan Wenham – Vocals & Lead Guitar
Jurgan Hamblin – Bass
Will Hamblin – Rhythm Guitars
Drums – Currently Vacant

Interview – Dave

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