Grey Dives Into Diverse Debut EP 'Chameleon' Track-By-Track: Exclusive

do not reuse
Nick Walker
Grey

If a debut album tells a band's story, a debut EP should showcase its many sides. Grey's Chameleon is one of the most diverse first-steps Billboard Dance has heard in years. It opens with the dark title-track, a vengeful stomper that sets the tone. This isn't like other electronic EPs.

It continues through electro-pop single "Crime," into the glitchy rock-edge of "Wings Clipped" with Avril Lavigne and Anthony Green. It melts into a beautiful, vulnerable performance on "Room 101," and closes with an energetic mix of sounds and styles on "These Roots."

Each track is a world within itself, living up to the EP's namesake. It's easy to hear why Zedd names Grey his favorite new act. Learn more about each of the EP's five tracks with these behind-the-scenes stories from the duo below.

"Chameleon" Feat. Asia
"Chameleon" started out as some chords that we threw together last minute at the end of a session with Asia Whiteacre and Steph Jones. Asia had the lyric idea of “I liked you better before I knew you,” and Kyle and I said that we really liked the word “chameleon,” so we wrote the song around the idea of how people change. Using “chameleon” as an adjective felt cool and new. As for the sound, the song felt really dark and kind of badass, so we wanted to match the energy and almost anger that comes from the story of the lyrics. We went all out when it comes to guitar and all the organic elements in the song. It makes us want to drive fast.

"Crime" Feat. Skott
For "Crime" we really wanted to make something that would compliment Skott’s voice well, so we decided to keep the verses super minimal and intimate and really let her voice and the vocal harmonizer shine. We hadn’t used acoustic guitar in a build since our "Where Are U Now" remix, and the chords sound much better on acoustic then they did on electric. We spent a lot of time recording multiple versions of the chorus on the acoustic making sure it sounded really full and crisp. It’s subtle, but on the drop, we morphed an electric guitar and her vocals to make sure the vocal chop didn’t sound too choppy.

"Wings Clipped" Feat. Avril Lavigne, Anthony Green
We had a session with K Flay, and in the beginning of the session, she told us how she had just seen a bird that had an injured wing and came up with the lyric “but your just an angel with your wings clipped.” We were so excited to go produce it out from that point because it was such a badass topline. From the lyrics to the melodies and how they maneuvered their way atop these crazy chords, we sort of just nerded out and put in everything that we love to hear in a song. Avril had been a fan of “Starving” and asked to jump on the track with Anthony and we were stoked. It was a perfect combo.  

"Room 101" Feat. Frances
We got this demo from Frances and every time we listened to it we got goosebumps. We didn’t want to take that feeling away from anyone else or the song so we decided to produce this very emotional almost sound of music theatrical type song to try and add to that feeling that the vocal gave us. We knew from the beginning that if we were going to make this organic and beautiful we wanted to slide in a surprise at the very end as sort of a finale to the play or the movie that is Room 101. 

"These Roots" Feat. Stephen
This record basically embodies the trip we made to Joshua tree to work with Stephen for a weekend. We started the vocal in the desert with him and had this collaborative breakthrough that neither of us had experienced before. We added a lot of desert vibes with the ambience and motorbike samples in an attempt to kind of recreate the space and put ourselves back to where it originated and to where we became great friends too.