Student musician: “Anything that you’re passionate about, you should never give up on”


Dylan Haviland – Arts & Entertainment Editor

Moving around campus with his six string acoustic guitar, Justin Grey, a senior and philosophy major, is actively involved in vocals, guitar, folk music and his black metal band Iblissian Dawn.

“I do play acoustic guitar but I primarily consider myself a vocalist. In that band, I do guitar and vocals and that’s black metal, so it’s like growly, angry and that kind of stuff,” said Grey. “But I do a lot of acoustic things and more calm mellow folky stuff.”

Grey is excited to launch a new recording session for Iblissian Dawn, in addition to making plans to play at venues in the future.

“The best part about recording music is seeing all of our ideas turn into a full project and actually seeing it materialized into something,” said Grey. “We’re not just playing music now, we can listen to our own music. That’s a great feeling, to not just do but see all the work you’ve done and how much you’ve accomplished.”

Apart from side projects and writing lyrics, this is Grey’s first time on a major project with a band.  

He said that an important influence on his lyrical writing is thinking from philosophers like Dostoyevsky and Friedrich Nietzsche. He also draws from a play based on the Greek titan, Prometheus. Grey often uses him as a symbol in his writing.

Grey is also inspired by the range of musical genres he listens to, enjoying bands from black metal’s Watain, to folk’s Simon and Garfunkel.

“Having a more diverse range of musical interests is like having more colors on a palette,” said Grey.  “If you’re going to paint something it helps if you don’t only have one color to work with.”

He mentioned that the toughest part of the recording process is finding time along with the band. Grey currently has a job on campus and is still a student.

“All of us have jobs and two of us in the band are students as well, so finding a time that doesn’t conflict with our academic duties, our employment and then just having a social life [is hard],” said Grey.  “I like to read, I like to write, I need time for that too.”

Regardless, Grey still participates in music as one of his passions in life. He continues his work with Iblissian Dawn and studying the works of great philosophers.

He encourages that if there is time between art and passions with a career, one should pursue and continue it.

“Anything that you’re passionate about, you should never give up on. If music is one of those passions it doesn’t necessarily need to be your career,” said Grey. “I know a lot of people who have felt the need to pick between one or the other, people who have decided to turn music into their career and have hated it because now it’s not the thing they love, now it’s a job.”

Photo Credit: Alan Levine

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