The Greater The Risk
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The Greater The Risk

Richmond, Virginia, United States | SELF

Richmond, Virginia, United States | SELF
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Truth:

The Virginia rockers in The Greater The Risk have released their newest album, “Say What You Never Said.” The album can be purchased on iTunes.



Sarah:

It’s been over a year since The Greater The Risk has put out new music. But brainchild of lead guitarist Ashley Drewes hasn’t exactly been sitting around during that year of virtual silence. The band had lineup changes, were featured in a major music magazine, and probably had a billion other things going on. Now it’s October and the band has self-released the album, which features the new band lineup–except for the new lead singer, Dan Castillo–and upgraded sound.

“Say What You Never Said” is the perfect blend of pop and rock. The first track, “Friends and Foes,” opens with a crescendo into a pop punk explosion. While it sounds like the first EP, it’s apparent that the band took a couple of steps in a new direction.

The band was able to have the help of producer, Bryan Russell, who has worked with The Academy Is.., The Narrative, and Virginia band Safety Word Orange. The touch of Russell adds to the professionalism and quality heard in the EP.

“The Resolution” presents itself as pop punk gold with its infectious chorus in which former lead vocalist David Kaufman repeats in effortless falsetto, “Wait just a minute.” The guitar riffs in the track are memorable, and the mini drum solo towards the end adds to the drama of the song.

The EP’s title can be heard in the lyrics of “Pick Your Poison,” a pretty interesting take on an obvious breakup situation. The song itself is catchy and filled with the angst of a failing relationship–a topic that works with pop rock. That leads into “Count Me Out,” a song that is made memorable by its guitar chords and not-so-subtle drums.

The EP ends with “The Better or Best You Remember,” an appropriate ending to the high-energy album. The song is a slowed down pop rock track; almost like a ballad. The lyrics, vocals, and instrumentals mix together and stir up emotions of listeners. The breathtaking song rivals songs from pop rock royalty like Boys Like Girls (“Hero/Heroine”) and All Time Low (“Break Your Little Heart”).

“Say What You Never Said” is one of those albums that you have to buy in its entirety, or else you’d be scratching your head, wondering what else this band of geniuses can come up with. It combines all the ingredients of a successful pop rock album–from its breathtaking vocals, to the climactic drums, to the riveting guitar chords.

The Greater the Risk is currently on tour with We Are! The New Year, where they will be playing along the east coast. Click here for Tour Dates. In the meantime, you can show your show support for the band by purchasing the EP on iTunes.
- Truth or Sarah


The Greater The Risk are an unsigned pop rock band from Richmond, VA who are currently gearing up to release their new EP Say What You Never Said on October 25th. I recently had the chance to ask the 5 piece a couple questions on the new EP, recent line-up changes, and more! Check out the exclusive Q & A below.
_________________________________________________________
For the record, will you state your names & role in the band?
Dan Castillo – lead vocals/taco enthusiast
Ashley Drewes – lead guitar/burrito enthusiast
Blake Gillespie – rhythm guitar/vocals/ginger extraordinaire
Nathan Wilson – bass /the tall one
Derek Ames – drums/tech support
Is there an overall theme or prevalent message in your upcoming EP, “Say What You Never Said”?
The prevalent message is really in the title itself. “Say What You Never Said” is a more emotional expression from our debut EP, and its feelings pertain to all kinds of relationships, not just those of the romantic nature. Too often, simple miscommunications or disagreements become toxic when those bottled-up feelings go unexpressed until they explode. “Say What You Never Said” is a testament to emotional and personal integrity. Never be afraid to assert yourself; always be true to your convictions.
Which song off the release means the most to your personally?
“Count Me Out” is a special song to all of us, especially to Ashley and Nate who have been in the band from the very beginning. When we were in our earliest stages as a band, we had six songs sans lyrics and titles – they were simply songs 1-6. “Count Me Out” was Song 1. Obviously, it didn’t end up getting recorded on our debut EP, so it felt really good when our producer for our follow-up disc was so enthusiastically in favor of recording it.
What are your thoughts on the current music scene? What have you learned so far?
We love it! As an unsigned band, it can be tough to book shows and tours out of town. That DIY mode of operation means that inevitably, some shows aren’t going to be ideal. Sometimes there aren’t a lot of people in attendance or the other bands on the bill are from totally different genres. These things happen, but we learned very quickly that the music scene among bands and listeners is a very receptive, open-minded community that’s not afraid of the unknown. On many occasions, we have played with bands that play a much harder style of music, but oftentimes they’re the first guys to come up and say “great show!” No band expects to play to Madison Square Garden-sized crowds all the time, so sometimes jamming out with a handful of enthusiastic fans is just as awesome as playing in a sold-out venue.
How would you describe your local music scene in Richmond, VA? Has it worked to you’re benefit so far?
Richmond’s music scene is pretty unique compared to what we’ve seen up and down the east coast. Many people think of it as a “metal town” due to the popularity of hometown acts like Strike Anywhere and Gwar, but the pop rock/pop punk scene is huge as well. Native Richmonders joke that, despite the more than half a million people in the greater Richmond area, it’s really more like a small town because everyone seems to know everyone else, especially in the music scene. That definitely works to our benefit because so many musicians from other bands in the scene were already friends of ours to begin with, so local shows sometimes have the personal feel of house shows, just in legitimate venues. If we want to book something locally, other bands are just a phone call away.
You guys have gone through quite a few line-up changes. What do you think makes a solid band and keeps people together?
Ultimately what ties us all together is a sense of purpose. We knew going into this that our aspirations were sky-high, so we knew that being in this band was not going to be all fun-and-games. The amount of work involved has been the only reason anyone has left TGTR. However, there have never been hard feelings at all - we remain close friends with everyone that has played in this band. The business side is the nitty-gritty that separates casual musicians from those of us that want to do it professionally. We are very organized and operate more like a small business than just a group of guys (and girl) writing songs and jamming out. Everyone has their role on the business end and that teamwork allows us to accomplish so much more than just having one person run the show.
Although The Greater The Risk is still a relatively new band you guys have accomplished quite a lot. What’s been you’re favorite moment in the band so far?
Probably the biggest thrill we’ve experienced came last winter when we were featured as an Alternative Press Band of the Month. At that point, we had only been playing shows for about six months, yet there we were in a national publication as big as AP. That issue came out right when we were doing a mini-tour with Nashville-based Farewell Fighter, and the gravity of it all didn’t really sink in until we talked about it with them. “You were featured in AP magazine and you guys have only been playing shows for six months? Are you kidding me?!” It’s so exciting to see your picture in the same issue as bands you’ve idolized for ages. It was at that point when we truly realized that this was for real.
What has been your favorite album of 2011 so far?
Our favorite album of 2011, actually doesn’t come out until October 4. It’s Jack Mannequin’s “People and Things”. We’re all big fans of Andrew McMahon’s projects and the few songs we already heard off the disc are phenomenal. We’re really looking forward to hearing the rest once it’s available.
Thanks for your time! Any exciting news for fans to watch out for?
We’re pumped to be releasing our long-anticipated sophomore EP “Say What You Never Said” on Oct 25, followed by an 11-day tour across eight states in the Northeast. For the rest of the winter we’ll be mainly focusing on writing and weekend touring.
- Unsigned and Unleashed


Click link to hear interview - Top Spot USA


Click link to hear interview. - New Music Inferno


How did you come up with the band name The Greater The Risk?
The name is very meaningful for all of us. 4 out of 5 of us have college degrees but have chosen to make music our life for the unforeseen future. We’re taking a risk at putting off real life to do something that we really want to do and truly makes us happy. We felt like a name that means something will mean something to others as well.

How did you guys come to be in the band The Greater the Risk?
This the brainchild of our lead guitarist Ashley Drewes. She was sitting on a bunch of songs, didn’t know what she wanted to do, or what she wanted to do with the songs. She chose to start making this her life and rounded up four others to help her get started. Through several lineup changes and about a year of work to get off the ground, TGTR is ready to share their passion for music with anyone who will lend an ear. Though we’re vastly different, (just come out and meet us at a show and you’ll see what I mean) we have a common vision and love for playing together.

How would describe your music?
It’s very relatable. It’s very passionate. Our new EP speaks to those qualities. It talks a lot about the miscommunication between friends and loved ones and what happens in life when people stop talking and start listening. Everyone can relate to that issue, because everyone has been wrong at some point. As far as sound goes, it is guitar-driven, solid pop/rock music, no frills, bells or whistles. Well, there are bells and whistles on a few tracks…

What has been your guys’ biggest musical influence thus far?
We all have vastly different musical tastes and influences. Some of us were born and raised listening to their parents’ records, others were classically trained or played marching band in high school. Though we don’t share tastes in very similar bands, our love for music is definitely present. Some bands that influence our sound however, would have to Jimmy Eat World and Anberlin, not just for their incredible music but also their outstanding work ethic.

What inspires you to play and write music?
Funny enough, I think our biggest inspiration is to not grow up! Playing music allows you to put off real life, which we are all currently doing. Since most of us have a higher education degree, it could be easy to fall into the pitfalls of doing what you have to do instead of doing what you want to do. We want to be doing this, and that is our inspiration.

Who is your hero?
If you ask each of us, we would probably all give different answers. Family is important to all of us though. They are the ones that encourage us to do what we want. I can honestly say all five members’ family members fully support what we are doing, which is so awesome. To have such a close-knit group also supported by bigger close-knit groups is such a blessing.

What was the first job you had and did you enjoy it?
My (Blake-Guitar/Vocals) first job was flower delivery driver for a florist during high school. It was actually a pretty sweet gig. Driving a company P.T. Cruiser around and delivering happiness to people is really rewarding. On the other side of it, delivering to funeral homes all the time can be depressing too. Wow, this interview really is taking a dive if we’re talking about funeral homes! Haha.

What are some of the bands you’re listening to right now?
2011 was a big year in music for us. We had so many records come out that we were looking forward to, and bands that have been influential to us especially. Jack’s Mannequin, The Dangerous Summer, and Jimmy Eat World all released albums this year, and we have been eating them up ever since. Jimmy Eat World has probably been our biggest influence, as everyone in our band can agree on listening to them at any point in time. That’s tough considering some of us enjoy One Republic and some of us enjoy Gorillaz.

Who is the most important person in your life and why?
My dad is the most important person in my life. He went both routes in life. He worked in a job that paid well but offered him no happiness. He works for himself now, and he couldn’t be happier. He took a risk starting his own business, and it’s a success. I’m very proud of him for doing something that he wanted to do, and watched him succeed. Going to work everyday and getting paid to do what you want to do has to be the greatest feeling there is.

What bands would be on your dream tour?
My dream tour would have an array of bands during different time periods. Stay with me on this one…Saves The Day circa 2001, Goo Goo Dolls circa 1998, Fleetwood Mac circa 1977, and one of my favorite bands that sadly just called it quits, Augustana. If you did not have the chance to see them live, you missed OUT!

What are your views on bullying?
I actually had the privilege to never be bullied in school, nor did I do any bullying. (Not that I could, I’m 145 lbs soaking wet now!). Of course I’m against it though. Picking on someone for being themselves is like getting upset at the sky for being blue, it just doesn’t make any sense. I know it’s cliché, but I think people who bully others are unhappy with themselves. Truly, I do.

What advice would you give fans that are being bullied?
Don’t let it get down on you. And don’t let it effect you from being yourself. The most important possession you have is your individuality, and no one can take that from you. My sister got “bullied,” well more like picked on, by my older brother and I as a toddler growing up. The best thing she did to avoid getting picked on was to ignore it. As soon as we saw that what we were doing to her didn’t bother her, we got bored and moved on. That’s my number one advice.
What are some of the words you live by?
Be yourself, and do what you were meant to do, not what you have to do.

How would you describe each other in one word?
Ashley- burrito/Dan-taco/Nathan-tall/Derek-panda/Blake-ginger

What is your favorite word?
Non-chalance

What animal would you be?
Honey Badger- They’re not scared of anything

If you could have any superhero powers what would they be?
Being able to turn pennies into ten-dollar bills. Think about how many pennies go unwanted and unneeded. It’s a sad story. Pennies deserve to be wanted too. This way they will be. Plus a ten dollar bill is the perfect amount to buy a Chipotle burrito and drink.

What can we expect from The Greater The Risk for the rest of 2011and early 2012?
We just released our second disc, Say What You Never Said, on October 25th, and are embarking on a two week tour the same week to the northeast, hitting eight states. As far as the rest of year goes, we’ll continue writing and hopefully get into the studio early next year to record some new tunes. Next year is going to be a big step for TGTR as we’ll be touring a lot more to places we haven’t been yet, so look out for us!

What are some last words from the band to your fans?
Please check out our new release and let us know what you think! Be ready for more surprises coming soon, even though we were quiet this summer we did a lot behind the scenes and can’t wait to show you what’s been going on. Also, Be yourself and find happiness!
- Music Angel Press



The Greater the Risk phoned in to the New Music Binge on October 20, 2011 to talk about their new EP Say What You Never Said, what kind of merch they are bringing on tour, and much more.
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The Greater The Risk may be sporting a new lineup and heading in a different musical direction since its inception. But, the Richmond, VA-based band that was founded by guitarist Ashley Drewes in early 2010, has no plans to slow up. On October 25, the band will release their latest EP, Say What You Never Said, and has plans to tour throughout the remainder of October and into November.

We scored an interview with the band recently and talked about their forthcoming EP, being an up-and-coming band in the DMV area, and their recent changes. Check it out below.

I’m assuming that your band’s name stems from the saying “The Greater the Risk, the Greater the Reward?” Is there another story behind it? What would be the ultimate reward for the band?

Nope, you nailed it! From what we’ve seen, we’re a pretty unique band in that most of us finished college before taking our shot at the music business. Many bands start up right out of high school or sometimes earlier, so we felt we were a little behind in that regard.

The real risk to which we’re referring is the fact that several of us turned down career-type jobs to do this band. Especially in the shaky job market, we realize we are taking a tremendous risk in putting those career goals aside to play music.

The ultimate reward for us is to be able to do this professionally. Though every group dreams of multi-platinum status, we know that realistically we just want to be able to play and let that pay our bills. Millions of albums sold and millions of dollars would be pretty awesome though!

Like most bands in the beginning stages, you’ve had some personnel changes. How has the line-up changes effected you as a group.

We’re fortunate that none of our personnel changes have created negative feelings among former and current members. We remain close friends with everyone who has ever play with this band. With each lineup change, the only issues have been from the work involved.

With our tremendous aspirations, we put in tons of work on top of our day jobs that we work to pay our bills and for former members it’s just been too much. Each personnel change, though we miss each former member personally, has made us more energized to move forward and grow.

What is like trying to establish yourself as a band in Richmond or the DMV area as a whole? Has it been difficult?

It has its ups and downs. Though many people think of Richmond as a “metal town” due to the success of bands like Strike Anywhere and Avail, there was already an enthusiastic pop rock/pop punk scene in the city before we were even a band. We were also very fortunate to know several of the bands in the scene beforehand, so it wasn’t nearly as difficult because we already had bands to play shows with and friends that had already been doing what we aimed to do from the beginning.

How does your EP, Say What You Said, differ from your work on your debut EP?

Our new EP “Say What You Never Said” is a giant leap forward in several aspects. With this disc, four of the five tracks were written communally after we had already been playing shows whereas our first EP was almost completely written before we had even solidified a full band lineup. Furthermore, this new disc is a vast improvement in terms of production and songwriting. Working with producer Bryan Russell, we spent nearly quadruple the amount of time and energy on this record vs. the first EP and we think it really shows.

And how did you link up with producer Bryan Russell?

As we touched on a bit before, we already knew several of the Richmond bands in our scene before we put this project together. Ashley and Nate were already pretty tight with the guys from Safety Word Orange, who have now recorded two discs with Bryan.

Ashley spent some time hanging out with them at his studio in Maryland while they were recording their second EP “On Your Mark, Get Set…” and that’s when she was first introduced. After we had released our first EP and were writing and preparing for a follow-up, Bryan was among the producers that we contacted. Having already met Ashley, he was very enthusiastic about working with us.

Are you hoping to sign to a label or do you want to remain independent?

That’s something that we really have to play by ear. Lots of bands that don’t have a lot of experience or knowledge about the music industry these days think that a record deal is the ticket to fame, but that’s not always the case. We have and will continue to achieve a lot with a DIY mode of operation, but there are certainly things that record labels could do for us that we couldn’t do ourselves. We’ll really have to wait and see.

Will you be releasing any more projects in the near future? Maybe a full-length?

Obviously we’re absolutely stoked to finally be releasing our second EP this month. We’re focusing on that for now, but we’ve got a lot in the works as well. We’ve already begun writing more songs for our next project, but it’s a little too early at this point to know if it’ll be a full-length or not.

Some of it hinges on the reception to this disc, because it would certainly be helpful to have some financial assistance should we choose to do a full-length. Recording requires a lot of financial investment, so we’ll see how it goes. We’ve moved at a quick pace since day one and we don’t intend to slow down. Whether it’s an acoustic EP, full-band EP, or full-length album, we’ve definitely got more projects and music on the horizon. - Everything But Urban


Name: Ashley Drewes.
Star sign: Aquarius.
Place of birth: Vineland, New Jersey.
Now based at: Richmond, Virginia.
Level of education: College Graduate.

First instrument played: The recorder.
Current instrument: Fender Telecaster.
Last venue played at: The Knitting Factory.
Last gig attended: The Black Cat in DC to see Fairweather play their reunion show.
Can’t go on tour without: My Ipod and blowdryer.

The best thing about live music is: it’s unproduced and raw. There’s nothing I love more than hearing one of my favorite records performed well live.
The person I would most like to collaborate with is: Andrew McMahon. I grew up listening to Something Corporate and I’m now a big Jack’s Mannequin fan. Both projects have put out incredible records and the live shows are amazing.
Worst thing to happen to music is: Home studios (the kind where a “producer” charges you $100 an hour to record your latest EP in Garageband).

Best thing about the current music industry: Being able to distribute your music globally without the help of a label.
Turn On: People with drive and confidence..
Turn Off: Boys in bands that wear girl jeans, have hair longer than mine, and wear neon colored sunglasses in an indoor venue.
Biggest influence: As typical as it sounds, my dad. He got me my first guitar and practice amp when I was 13. Since then he’s been nothing but supportive of my musical endeavors.

My favourite person on TV right now is: Adam Richman (the guy on Man vs. Food).
Childhood hero: Tom Delonge from Blink 182.
When I was younger I wanted to be: An FBI agent. I had a huge obsession with Law and Order and doughtnuts...
Last album bought: The Dangerous Summer - War Paint.
Last song listened to on mp3 player: Ace Enders - Body Like Mine.

The music I'm into is: Catchy and has a good vibe to it. If I can remember the song after one or two times through or it strikes me emotionally, I’m for it.
Favourite current band: The Dangerous Summer.
My favourite drink has to be: Vitamin Water Power-C.
My favourite book is: Harry Potter. All 7 of them.
My favourite website: Facebook. I’m a big fan of social media and it’s a great way to stay in touch with friends and family when everyone is so busy these days.

My favourite item of clothing is: My grey ski hat with flaps.
My favourite shop is: Forever21.
The best boredom buster is: Reading the tweets from @Thosebands.
The best film I ever saw was: Inception.
My ultimate snack is: A chicken burrito from Chipotle.

The worst food invented is: Hot dogs....ewwww.
The first thing I do when I wake up is: Put in my contacts. My vision is so bad that I can’t read anything unless it’s right in my face.
I can’t leave the house without: My Iphone.
I’m well known for: Twirling my hair when I’m bored or anxious.

My hobbies are: Writing, running, reading, and playing guitar.
I have a passion for: Music and Mexican food.
First band name: Nothing is Forever.
Tomorrow I will: Do the usual. Go to my day job and attempt to take over the world with The Greater The Risk.
Best piece of advice given to me: “Do more of what makes you happy”.
My biggest aspirations: To take things one day at a time and to make the most out of life. You only live once so you might as well live it the best way you know how to. - Altsounds.com



Being in a small, brand new band is far from easy. Being noticed becomes increasingly difficult as more bands surface everyday. Once afloat, it’s staying above water and not sinking that really destroys many bands in the scene today. Often times, it takes giving up everything for music to truly reach – and work for – the dream. Whether it’s dropping out of college, leaving family and friends, or simply having to choose what step to take next, nothing about the band-life is easy. The process is a huge risk, but when taken, the results can be exactly what the members wished for, as is the result for The Greater The Risk.

Only one EP into the game thus far, the Richmond Virginians will be compared to acts such as Valencia and Conditions, equipped with soaring vocals and addictive melodies and hooks. The work of Bryan Russell (Envy On The Coast, Straylight Run, The Narrative) on Say What You Never Said has all signs pointing in the favor of The Greater The Risk here, as his handiwork is top notch, as expected. As the band further draw from ideal influences, “Friends and Foes” has Valencia written all over it, as vocalist David Kaufman sings of optimism over the memorable guitar work of Ashley Drewes and Blake Gillespie.

Thick palm mutes and a darker vocal delivery drive “The Solution,” resulting in arguably the best vocal performance on the record. The chemistry between the guitar players and vocalist shines throughout the EP, with “Pick Your Poison” being the prime example of how well these young musicians work together. However, it’s not all fast-paced guitar riffs and pop-punk here, as the final “The Best Or The Best You Remember” slows down Say What You Never Said, allowing the true vocal capabilities of Kaufman to shine. As the EP ends, these five songs will immediately be replayed, for The Greater The Risk have crafted one of the most memorable pop-rock EPs of 2011 – no question about it. - AbsolutePunk.net


Virginia natives The Greater The Risk's new EP "Say What You Never Say" was released last week and AP Magazine's new hopefuls are getting their name out there with their classic alternative pop sound reminiscent of artists before them like Cartel and The Almost. "Friends and Foes" kicks off the album with classic power pop energy that sets up the EPs sing-alongability feel. It's easy to get into the feel of the music and the catchy chorus hooks ("The Resolution" & "Pick Your Poison" do this particularly well). The entire EP has a poppy feel standard of all the big names in the genre and it's not hard to see these guys on the next AP tour or Warped. The album overall has a standard poppy rock feel that makes the music easily accessible. The hooks and riffs with the catchy vocals make this group something to watch for on tour and if they can advance their musical direction they can really have something special here. - Audio Arsenal Magazine


The majority of indie rock band The Greater the Risk have college degrees but have chosen to make music their number one priority. The Richmond, Virginia-based quintet—lead vocalist Daniel Castillo, guitarist Ashley Drewes, guitarist/vocalist Blake Gillespie, bassist Nathan Wilson, and drummer Derek Ames—garnered Alternative Press’ Top Unsigned artist of the month last February, and just released their second EP, “Say What You Never Said,” which was produced by Bryan Russell (Envy On The Coast, Straylight Run, The Narrative).

“Our first EP was mainly a pop record,” says Gillespie. “It wasn’t too flashy, and really just showcased what was to come. But our latest EP is a big leap forward. Better hooks, melodies and, more importantly, better sound. Some songs have an indie rock feel as opposed to a pop feel, which definitely shows during our live performances. We’ve all improved musically, which will only improve our next record.”

Influenced by bands like Jimmy Eat World, Anberlin, the Dangerous Summer, and Search the City, The Greater the Risk’s latest effort is “melodically-driven, hook-laden, and full of sweet licks.” Veterans of the Vibe Lounge, the quintet looks forward to playing their newest songs for the LI crowd on Saturday, November 5th. Expect to hear music from both EP’s and some surprise covers.

“We’ve covered the Killers before, and are working on a Jimmy Eat World gem for those who dig their sound,” admits Gillespie. “We like to keep everything original, so that means we’ll often play an intro part here or there, or add parts to a song to make it more enjoyable instead of just settling for a cover… Anyone interested in an Applebees excursion after the show, we’ll probably be down for it this time. I think we were a little thrown off by the excitement over the ‘Bees’ before, but we’re ready for you now!” - Long Island Pulse Interview


These days, emo is seen as music for vapid teenagers. But it's really just pop music, and pop songcraft never goes out of style. Richmond's The Greater The Risk showcase their excellent guitar-driven melodies on this EP, and my only complaint is that it's too short. Record a full-length already! - RVA Magazine Summer 2011 Iss. 5


The Story So Far
During her last semester of college, guitarist Ashley Drewes decided to finally do something with her stockpile of songs. "I grew tired of writing songs and doing absolutely nothing with them," she says. Through mutual friends and the internet, the lineup of The Greater The Risk gradually grew to a 5-piece.
Why You Should Know 'Em
The Greater The Risk managed to take their sunny pop-rock to the masses thanks to online aclaim for their self-titled EP, gigs at Hot Topic stores and weekly Stickam show. "We've accomplished alot in a such a short period of time, and it didn't come easy," says Drewes. "But our music is the kind that makes even the worst days just a little bit better." - Alternative Press Magazine -- February, 2011 Iss. #271


Log onto video-chat website Stickam and you can meet random people from all over the world. Or in the case of power-pop punk group The Greater The Risk, you could discover the lead singer for your band.
Vocalist Deek Kaufman was playing acoustic cover songs when guitarist Ashley Drewes and bassist Nathan Wilson landed on his profile about a year ago. Coincidentally, Kaufman was just finishing up his degree at Christopher Newport University in Newport News. His school pal Blake Gillespie was brought in later to play guitar and a Craigslist ad hooked them up with drummer Derek Ames.
For the follow-up to its well received debut EP, The Greater The Risk will enter the studio with producer Bryan Russell, whose credits include such renowned artists as Coldplay, Aerosmith, Paul Simon, and Straylight Run. With an East Coast tour also in the works for 2011, the new year promises great rewards for this young band.
Style: Tell us about that one song...
Kaufman: "Braver" is a song that [Ashley and Nathan] sent me the instrumental tracks to when I was auditioning for the band. I sent them back the vocal melodies and the lyrics for "Braver." The story of The Greater The Risk is that we are all college graduates and we are all putting our lives on hold to pursue music. That's what "Braver" is about. It's about taking chances and living the way you want to live it, right now.
Style: What is the biggest risk you've taken for music?
Kaufman: With my degree, I could be making a pretty decent salary, in a perfect world. But I'm working construction at 6 in the morning. Then, coming home at 5 at night to jam with the band, or write songs, or promote, or play shows. Financially, that's a sacrifice and it's a lifestyle that we're taking a risk on.
Drewes: I turned down a job in Northern Virginia with Vitamin Water making pretty good money. It was right when I met Deek that I was offered the job. We hadn't even recorded a song yet. I thought, I could be really well off or I could go do this band possibly fail in months. As a band, our greatest risk now is that we're dumping thousands of dollars into our next CD. There's no guarantee that it's going to turn out awesome, but we're hoping it will.
Style: How did you connect with producer Bryan Russell?
Drewes: I e-mailed four different producers we wanted to work with and sent them a couple of really rough demos of the new songs we wanted to record. We went with Bryan because he was really all about our style. He was [excited] about the project, not just about us paying him money to record us. We just got lucky that he responded to my e-mail.
Style: How do these new songs compare to your first EP?
Drewes: [The new songs] are a little bit more mature-sounding.
Kaufman: We played four of the new songs at the Conditions CD release show at the Canal Club. We have many fans who have seen us before. They said one of our new songs in particular, that doesn’t even have a name yet because we’re still working on it, was their favorite song of the set. That was cool. They know every word to our older songs and still this song they’ve never heard before was their favorite.
Style: What’s been your most memorable show?
Drewes: The Conditions show was the biggest crowd this band has played to before and the audience was very responsive to us.
Kaufman: The most fun I’ve had is playing a club [in Virginia Beach] called Club Relevant. They have two rooms and something was going on with the bigger stage’s sound. They moved us into this coffeehouse setting and everyone was packed in there and we were on the floor with ‘em.
Style: What was your favorite album of 2010?
Drewes: Jimmy Eat World’s new album, “Invented.” The single is not good, but the rest of it is really, really good. Do you want to agree on that one?
Kaufman: Yeah. That question is kinda tough. We get down with the best records of 2007.
Style: If the band were to receive an award, what would it be for?
Drewes: We get along pretty well as a band. I don’t know if we should get an award for that, but we have a lot of friends in bands who constantly complain about one another. We actually spend a lot of time with one another outside of making music.
Kaufman: The friendship award. Me, Nathan and Blake all live together. We like to bounce harmonies off of each other around the house.
- Style Weekly--December 22, 2010


I learned of The Greater The Risk just last week (a request from Ashley, the guitarist for TGTR) and I must say, they have a great sound to them. Their very first self-titled EP is coming out this month, June 17th to be exact and I am very much looking forward to it! They have a free download on PureVolume and as I always say, who doesn’t like free music? They have the classic “Alternative Rock” sound, but still are very unique. Since we love supporting our local groups (RVA holla!) we can’t tell you how much it’d mean to us if you gave TGTR a listen!
You can follow all the band members on Twitter
@Deektgtr
@Ashleytgtr
@Natetgtr
@Blaketgtr
@Derektgtr
And of course check out their Myspace and “Like” them on Facebook!
-Johnnie - Revenge Of The Reviews


You suffer through 12 years of regular school (that’s not even counting preschool or kindergarten) and just as soon as you break free, society tells you to enroll in college and do another 4 years (at least!). What a drag. For the members of The Greater The Risk, taking a break from life in general has proved to be one of the greatest decisions they have ever made.

As recent college grads, the 5 members of TGTR have bright futures ahead of them…but their career paths are still unpaved. Not in any rush to jump right into the 9 to 5 grind, TGTR wants to see where their music can take them before they commit to any ties, business cards or cubicles. Having been a band for less than one calendar year, this Richmond based band has already made impressive strides in a short time.

The band’s debut, self-titled EP is out and available at shows and they plan on hitting the studio again this coming December to crank out release #2. You can catch The Greater The Risk about once a month rocking the VA/South MD area and if you’re not from around there: hit them up! The band is looking to put together a Fall tour and would love to come to your town. Their fan base is growing so you better strike while the iron is hot.

Fun Facts:

Derek (Drums): Doesn’t smell. EVER. So, he doesn’t use deodorant.
Blake (Guitar, Vocals): Owns 30 pairs of shoes
Nate (Bass): Can perfectly replicate the sound of a bike horn.
Deek (Vocals): Wears size 15 shoes
Ashley (Guitar: Could eat a chicken burrito from Chipotle every single day and never get tired of it. - Syke Energy


Message from the band:
We' re The Greater The Risk! We're a brand new pop rock band out of Richmond, Virginia. In January 2010, we began, as most bands do, for the simple reason that we love music. Some may mistake playing in a band as a career choice for Peter Pan syndrome (not wanting to grow up and get a real job), but at the end of the day we're not happy following suit. We're in love with making music and we'd rather take the stage rather than slave away at a 9-5 pace. I mean who wouldn't?
We just recorded our Self-Titled EP and we're getting ready to release it June 22nd. It'll be available on Itunes, Amazon, and other similar sites and of course at our live shows. If you can't wait until then, you can head over to www.purevolume.com/thegreatertherisk to stream the entire EP and scoop up a free download of our single "Braver."
We collaboratively wrote the EP in our practice studio, which is actually a storage unit in the shadiest part of Richmond (nope we're not kidding, it's pretty scary!) Drawing influences from bands like Anberlin, Jimmy Eat World, and Mae, we focus on writing upbeat songs that mean something to us. Most of our songs are about our own personal experiences; some are about typical relationships, but others like our song as "Braver" have a deeper meaning about finding your place in life and taking chances to get there.
Unfortunately, we can'tt afford to focus on music all day long so, some of us bartend, work construction, sit at a desk, or sell things on Ebay. When we're not playing music or working, you can find us playing Frisbee, going to shows, or devouring burritos from Chipotle.
We have our first hometown show coming up June 17th, which we're super pumped about. For the rest of the summer we'll be touring regionally and sharing the stage with bands like Amber Pacific and Halifax. As for a full-fledged tour? We'll be hitting the road for a few weeks in the fall, so if you want us to come to your town, just get in touch with us!
Myspace / Pure Volume / Twitter / Facebook / YouTube
Review Rinse Repeat says:
Even though they're a brand new band to the music scene, I can't help but think they're going to get very far very quickly. Within the first 15 seconds of every song, you can tell how passionate this band is, and you can't help but love it!
For fans of Anberlin, Sparks The Rescue, Valencia - Review Rinse Repeat


Punk/pop-rock group The Greater The Risk formed last January and have been perfecting their hard htting rock sound for the past few months.

With musical influences from the likes of Anberlin to Jimmy Eat World to Mae, The Greater The Risk is creating catchy pop rock songs that will only make you want more.

The only thing bad about The Great The Risk’s EP is that it’s only three songs. Hopefully, a full length from this talented group is not far behind.

The band will be performing this Thursday, June 17 at the Canal Club and the release of the EP is scheduled for June 22.

Listen to the first single “Braver” - Richmond Playlist


here's a lot to like about pop-punkers The Greater The Risk. Hailing from Richmond VA the quintet consists of drummer David, bassist Nate, lead vocalist Deek and guitarists Blake and Ashley. Firstly, as a female in this industry, I like that they have a girl guitarist, keeping those boys in line and proving the fairer sex can be more than just fan-girls.

Another thing to like about this bunch is that they spent several months compiling songs for the EP, roping in Rich Stine (Fighting Gravity) and Jamie King (Between The Buried and Me, A Skylit Drive) to record, mix and master their work. As a result, their debut self-titled EP was released last month.

Lastly - and most importantly - is their sound. It's catchy, it'll make your foot tap and it'll leave you curious for more. Although only being a band less than a year, the time they dedicated to writing and recording has made them sound like a seasoned band that will sit effortlessly next to the likes of Boys Like Girls and Cartel on your MP3 players. Just remember when they make the big time, that you heard about them here first!

Guitarist Ashley anchors the band as it's only female influence and founding member talks to Kiki Vs Everyone about the band.

How would you describe your sound? Who are your influences?
Our sound is a mix of rock, pop, indie and punk. Our influences are Anberlin, Jimmy Eat World, Mae, Taking Back Sunday, Brand New - the list is quite longer than this, but I could literally go on forever!

Is it tough being the only girl in the band (gotta be asked!)?
Haha...As for being the only girl in the band. It definitely has its ups and downs. It's like having four brothers. They pick on me sometimes and they have their gross boy moments (where they don't shower and they smell for days) but we're all really good friends and I always have a great time with them!

If you could only listen to one band forever more who would it be any why?
I would say if we could only listen to one band, it would be Anberlin. They have a really diverse sound, and each album they put out, just gets better.

What's been your career highlight so far?
Our career highlight so far has been recording The Greater The Risk EP. We spent a lot of time together writing and recording and it brought us closer together as a band. For our first effort, we are proud of it and want to share our accomplishment with anyone we can.

Mini Vs Series
Team Edward V Team Jacob?
I would personally say Team Edward, but the boys are not big fans of Twilight at all!

Shannon Leto V Jared Leto?
Jared Leto. Definitely.

festivals or individual shows?
Festivals. You get to meet so many new people and hear a lot of great music all at once.

touring v recording?
Touring. Playing shows every night is what we love to do. Recording is really fun, but to actually be able to interact with the crowd and see their response to your music is the best part about being in a band.

The Beatles v Elvis?
The Beatles all the way!
- Kiki Vs Everyone Blogspot


Discography

Say What You Never Said--Oct 2011
1. Friends And Foes
2. The Resolution
3. Pick Your Poison
4. Count Me Out
5. The Better Or The Best You Remember
-Single "Pick Your Poison" reached #2 on Purevolume.com's top plays list

The Greater The Risk EP-- June 2010
1. Braver
2. Closer To Me
3. Now Or Never
-Single "Braver" reached #13 on Purevolume.com's top plays list

Photos

Bio

“I was a semester out from graduating college and I was in an awkward spot since I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my life. I had a catalogue of song ideas and no where to go with them, but I knew i wanted to play music.” Taking advice from several friends in the local music scene, guitarist Ashley Drewes began a dream in early 2010 to start a band that solved her ever-pressing need to quench her musical expression. She begged her friend, drummer David Landrum, whom she had played in bands with prior, to help start her new project. He was sold the first day she showed him her new ideas and they began looking for others to help fill a band lineup.

Through a mutual friend they added bassist Nathan Wilson, another college graduate, and the trio continued to look for others to fill in the missing pieces. After a few months, they discovered vocalist David Kaufman through Craigslist, who at the time was studying at a nearby university. Friend of the band, Jerry Bowyer, filled in on rhythm guitar and The Greater The Risk was born. They took their name from an ideal in their own lives. It speaks of sacrifices; the hardships of band life- putting every thing else in life on hold and putting an endless amount of time and energy into something that may not even be successful.

In June 2010, the band played its first show and released a self-titled EP, which included three completed songs from Drewes’ catalogue of riffs and melodies. The first single, “Braver,” which is about the formation of the band, reached the #9 spot on Purevolume.com’s most downloaded list its first week released.

After a few lineup changes over that summer, Landrum and Bowyer both departing to begin other musical endeavors, TGTR tried out candidates for replacements, landing on Kaufman’s college friend Blake Gillespie on guitar and vocals and drummer, Derek Ames. With a new solid lineup, they began regionally touring and writing new material.

For the next EP, they knew they wanted to take their songs to the next level. After speaking to a few producers they decided to work with Bryan Russell (Envy On The Coast, Straylight Run, The Narrative) In January 2010, the band stepped into the studio and recorded five new songs.That same month they were featured in Alternative Press’s top unsigned artist of the month section and things were looking up.

In support of the new release, more touring ensued that spring. Their heavy DIY work ethic earned them a date on the Warped Tour and their new single “Pick Your Poison” topped at #2 on the Purevolume charts. Unfortunately, plans for a June release of the EP were pushed back indefinitely when Kaufman announced he was leaving the band for personal reasons. With all plans put on hold, the other four decided to push onward, convinced their unreleased new material was worth sharing with others. After months of searching and auditions they landed on Daniel Castillo, who was eager to join after hearing the new sound and direction the band was taking.

With a reinvigorated spirit, The Greater The Risk is focused on moving forward. This fall, the guys and girl will be touring and promoting their new EP Say What You Never Said, which is scheduled to be released October 25th.