In Conversation with John Greska

An eclectic solo artist, John Greska has a skill for fusing different genres in a single track.  His honest, passionate and sometimes amusing lyrics make John Greska a unique figure in the music industry.  We had a chance to speak with him about his new album Aiming At The Stars, future plans and musical inspirations.

Why did you enter the music industry?

I love music so very, very much. I wouldn’t say that I entered the music industry on purpose so much as that it just happened. I’m involved with music all the time which I’ll get into in a little bit. Eventually, I began to put some of those pieces I wrote out for the public to hear and I learned more about the public side of music. I wrote my first instrumental album and when I released it I learned more about the public side of music. This cycle repeated and got me to where I am today. It was a gradual rise; I didn’t even know I had entered the music industry honestly.

Do you have any experience in the music field?

I began playing piano in the 2nd Grade. I asked all the time for lessons and eventually, my parents caved. I started playing in the school band in grade school and then kept on going in high school and college. I played the saxophone and oboe. I went to college to study Music Technology which has helped me a lot when producing this album.

In terms of non-school related music experience, I have some experience working on a video game team for music implementation. I’ve also worked with putting sound and music to film. Small projects, but everything I’ve done has been incredibly fun and I really enjoy it.

Can you tell us about your most recent album Aiming At The Stars?

Aiming At The Stars is my third release. The first two albums I released were instrumental and they both were fun projects that taught me a lot about production and workflow. Aiming At The Stars is the first album/EP I’ve released with vocals, which was a different move for me. I decided that it was time to make a move forward and put a little more of myself out there. Only I could really understand what the intentions and meanings were behind each instrumental in previous albums and I wanted this one to be something everyone could take part it.

It’s sort of an eclectic EP with every track a different style or genre. I love fusing electronic and orchestral styles together as that’s what much of my background is made up of. The EP itself tells the tale of the struggle every person faces when given the option of following their dreams, which I feel aligns with my story very well.

 

 

Which was more difficult when producing the album – the writing or recording?

Definitely the recording! Even though this was my first time adding words to my tracks I didn’t worry too much because I had a lot to write about. The recording was much harder for those same reasons – this was my first time adding words. I had to test a lot more with how my voice sounds with instrumentals that usually carried themselves off of their own melodies. On top of that, I didn’t have too much experience mixing vocals with several layers of instruments. I add a lot of instruments because I like the orchestral sound, so it was tricky, but I got the hang of it.

Which is your favourite track and why?

My favourite is ‘(If) I Missed You’. A lot of my friends and family members like ‘One Of Those Days’, but that track comes second place for me. I enjoy ‘(If) I Missed You’ because it starts out as this typical breakup song, but then the chorus turns the tables. It almost mocks the idea of the breakup song showing that the person singing the song has been freed of their toxic past. On top of that, I love the build in instrumentation. I’m a sucker for traditional orchestral sounds and I really just went for it at the end.

What about your least favourite track?

My least favourite is ‘Suicide Pact’. I don’t dislike it by any means, but there are a few issues with it that I wish I would have known would be problematic. The first issue I have is with the instrumentation. Don’t get me wrong, I love the song and I think the chorus is killer, but it’s the feel I wanted not the sound I wanted.

Who or what inspires your music and how?

I go through different eras that inspire different feelings behind my music. My second album, Life As An Ocean, was actually written in 2016 when I had just graduated high school. each song is inspired by the feelings I was feeling at the time.

Currently, I’m inspired by the fact that I graduated from college and have many different options, but at the same time, those options are weighted by opinions, reality and fear. I could follow my dreams of making music, but what if it doesn’t work? Am I a failure for trying? I could just go for the office job like the rest of the world, but what would have happened if I tried? Am I a failure for not trying? These are the thoughts that inspired Aiming At The Stars and still inspire me; they’re not fun.

If you could perform with any other local artists, who would they be and why?

I don’t know too many local artists in the immediate area and that’s my bad. I would like to perform with Dian Amar. She’s amazingly talented and is also a “one person doing everything” type. In fact, on her Facebook she describes herself as “Dian Amar = One Girl Does It All”.

What can we expect from John Greska in 2020?

I’ve got a few things in the works, not all of them music-related. I aim to keep press up for Aiming At The Stars a little bit longer. I want to release music videos or lyric videos for all my songs on my YouTube channel; then, I’ll probably start writing my next work.  Again, that’s only the music stuff. I’ve got some screenplays I want to revisit, some short films that need to be sent to festivals and quite a bit more. Stay tuned, I’d say.

Do you have a message for our readers?

First of all, stay safe! I don’t know what the situation is like wherever you’re reading from but stay safe.

Second, don’t be afraid to fail. It can be hard to do something in relation to following your dreams; a lot of times because you’re worried about what other people will think. It’s tough to accept criticism, but know that you didn’t fail. You just learned and the next thing you make will be better.

Don’t be afraid to succeed. I hated accepting praise by myself, I still do. Eventually, if you’re good at what you do, people are going to start dancing and singing and say that you are doing great thins. It might feel weird, but you’ll learn to feel comfortable with it.

Thank you everyone for reading!

 

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