by Jim Testa
I love songs about New Jersey. So when I heard
"Fuckin' New Jersey" by the Trenton-area Gravity
Centered, I wanted to learn more about this band. Turns
out they're fairly young, but had already released two EP's
before following up with their debut album Monica earlier
this year. While most of the tracks offer blasts
of aggressive guitar/bass/drums punk rock, piano drives
the impassioned ballad "The Moon's My Ride Home,"
the pop-rock of "Flare," and the sophisticated
blend of rock and jazz on "Fool." I was impressed.
I think you will be too.
Q: Please introduce yourselves to our readers.
We are Gravity Centered, a three piece from Hamilton NJ.
Dano Malik (18) plays guitars and keyboards, Henry Miles
(18) plays the drums, and Steven Snyder (19) plays the bass.
Lead vocals is Dano. Henry and Steve both do backups as
well. Dano and Henry met in 7th grade and played our first
show as Gravity Centered at the winter band concert in 2013.
They met Steve four years later in 2017, when Steve’s
old band, The Deplorables opened for Gravity Centered. Gravity
Centered is going on six years, however, the current lineup
is about 15 months old.
Q: Finding gigs is always a challenge for underage
band. I know you play Mill Hill Basement in Trenton regularly.
What are some other places where you play, and what’s
it like trying to find shows? Have you broken into the New
Brunswick house show scene?
Dano: Mill Hill is definitely a great place to play. My
favorites include the Youth Warehouse in Pennington, the
PAC in bordentown, and the Foster Home in Hamilton. As far
as New Brunswick goes, we have not done much around that
area. For most Trenton bands, I feel like the heavier ones
do gravitate towards Philly while the rest venture into
the Asbury Scene. For us, we love playing anywhere we can,
for any audience, but we also love the challenge in really
trying to make a name for ourselves by starting projects
such as turning the Youth Warehouse into a place that will
hopefully have tons of shows every year.
Henry: Mill Hill and Champs are the main show spots in Trenton.
The Foster Home, Robs Place, and Flemington DIY are awesome
to play as well as attend. We have yet to play in New Brunswick,
though we hope to get up there soon. It seems like (for
the most part) bands in Jersey play shows in Jersey. There’s
a bunch of local promoters, and it seems like every few
months there’s a new DIY space for shows. Asbury Park
also contributes a bunch for venues and shows.
Q: Your band features a piano, which is such a
great underused instrument today. How did that become a
part of your sound?
Dano: Our first gig was actually in preparation for my
piano recital when we were 12, so I really think our inclusion
of piano is a core part of us that gives us our identity.
We wouldn’t even be playing together without it. The
knowledge of the piano allows us to be more thoughtful when
writing something because it gives us the ability to include
more sounds and different dynamics in every song.
Q: What would you say are your biggest influences
Dano: My biggest modern, lyrical inspiration, is probably
Max Bemis of Say Anything. Musically, Showbiz era Muse is
most likely my core inspiration, at least when I started
writing some of these songs, specifically, “Fool”,
“Flare”,and “Town”. If I could open
for any band it would definitely be Bayside.
Henry: My biggest influences would be Cloud Nothings, Title
Fight, Tigers Jaw, Mom Jeans, Turnover, and Sum 41. Without
a doubt, I’d open for Title Fight.
Q: This is the question that bands always hate.
But for people who haven’t heard you, how would you
describe what you sound like?
Dano: We always have trouble narrowing our sound down to
one or two words because the best thing about writing music
is that you can literally do whatever you want. If I had
to choose, I would say that we are more Alternative Punk
than anything else.
Henry: It took us a while to find the right way to describe
us to people. Eventually we said alternative punk, but we’re
eager to hear what others think.
Q: High school bands often break up and go their
separate ways after graduation. Have you talked about future
Dano: We definitely want to play until we can’t anymore,
and even then, still play. Fortunately, we will all be attending
Mercer County Community College in the fall so that we can
still get together every day to write and rehearse.
Henry: Since the beginning we’ve been talking long
term and it’s what we want to prepare for. Playing
our music for the people that care.
Gravity Centered will perform at the Meatlocker
in Montclair on Monday, November 18.