Grey Matter MechanicsAn interview with Jestin Korleski from Grey Matter Mechanics
CD: Black and White
Record Label: Self-released
by Mike Huberty
With several hundred songs in their repertoire ranging from jazz to hard rock, Janesville’s GREY MATTER MECHANICS, has a legitimate stake in claiming to be the most diverse musical trio in Wisconsin. Began in 2010 from the ashes of popular alt-rock/trip-hop outfit, SALVA ME, guitarist/vocalist Jestin Korleski and bassist Josh Dissmore begun their jazz trio to just play out and get some paying gigs, over time they started working to bring their original rock songs into the mix as well. They just released their first CD full of that original material called “Black and White”.
According to Jestin, “GREY MATTER MECHANICS was the name of the next album I was going to release with SALVA ME. Originally, with the jazz trio we were thinking of a simple name like JESTIN JAY TRIO. Or I like funny names and threw out ideas like THE MIGHTY MORPHIN FLOWER ARRANGERS. But after awhile, this was the name that worked. The first thing that comes to mind might be car mechanics, but I’m thinking quantum mechanics!” And for the kind of music, they create, they both look to a sundry of influences, as Jestin describes, “I come from a background of loving Primus, Smashing Pumpkins, Duran Duran, Depeche Mode. Josh is more Starfire 59, he loves Muse, and Stone Temple Pilots. We had three bands in common, so when we try to write music some of it comes more Primus-like and sometimes it has more of a pop sensibility.”
The name of the album, however, was something that they could agree on quickly. “‘Black and White’ is because we’re really cheap. Josh came up with that name because we were excited about having the album out there and having a release party. We wanted to be an original band that does covers instead of a cover band that does originals. We just wanted to get it out as quickly as possible. When I sent off to get the CD made they told me if I wanted color or other options, that it would cost a certain amount and take a certain amount of work, so we said, let’s just call it “Black and White”. Keep it cheap and just do it.”
The album has eleven tracks, including a remix of one of a tune that Jestin suggests is the best introduction to the band, “The Reputation”. “We all wear jeans but then wear white collar shirts with ties and we all wear Buddy Holly-type glasses,” Jestin says, “We’re the nerdy Weezer-type band with a bunch of guys who are pissed off at their office jobs. “The Reputation” is about that, being pissed off at your job and you want to have fun. It’s a simple song, a gritty song, a little “My Sharona”-ish. It’s kind of like a new age Talking Heads with an Oingo Boingo type sound with a little Primus thrown in. “The Reputation” is about a guy who’s getting pooped on by this girl who’s stepping out on him. It’s kind of like the guys from “Office Space” formed a band and now we’re singing about it.”
With their power-pop songs gaining momentum and shows every single weekend across the state, GREY MATTER MECHANICS is working to being known as an original musical force as well as a diverse act that can play all night in almost any kind of venue (they even do different kinds of shows with drummers Zach May for jazz performances and Tony Farrel Jr. for rock sets.) And this commitment to performance sets them apart. As Jestin states, “ I feel the music industry is so tough, that if you want to make it as a musician and get paid, you have to be extremely versatile. You got to be able to play to any type of crowd and play anywhere… I never thought I would do covers and that I would always do originals. And then we started doing it because it paid the bills and we were making money. We decided to release our rock album and do less of the cover shows and more original shows and things have been going really well since then. We’d love to find a band to go on tour with and do our original rock stuff, that’s kind of our story.” And you can hear that story in April where the band will be playing in Rockford, West Allis, Janesville, and Brodhead - check out www.facebook.com/greymattermechanics for showdates.