Guest contributor Ryan Quint of Universal Music Group talked with Grizfolk after their recent tour stop with Bastille at the Liacouras Center [concert review] — promoting their new EP “From the Spark.”
Ryan: For people who are unfamiliar with Grizfolk, can you explain how the band came together?
Grizfolk: We met in LA. Adam, Bill, and Brendan had been in a band prior to Grizfolk. At the same time, Adam was writing songs with Fredrik and eventually met Sebastian. We stumbled upon a sound that inspired us to start a group, so we put all of our focus on that, which turned in to Grizfolk.
Ryan: Let’s talk about the Bad Blood / Last Stand tour. Did Bastille approach you specifically or was it more of a record label decision because you are both signed to Virgin?
Grizfolk: We originally did 3 shows with Bastille, and after the 3rd show Dan asked us to join him for the European tour. They also asked us to join them for the current tour “Bad Blood / Last Stand”. They are some of the hardest working guys we’ve ever met, and we’re honored to have them as friends as well as blessed to be able to join them on the road.
Ryan: Your first big hit — “The Struggle” — gained success from the help of a friend’s blog post. Elaborate on this and explain how it eventually landed you a record deal with Virgin. Also, was there any competition in deciding on a record label?
Grizfolk: When we originally wrote “The Struggle,” we knew right away that we had stumbled upon something special. That song has opened a lot of doors for us, and I believe it was written in less than an hour. We put it on Soundcloud to share with our friend under the username Griz Adams, and Brandon from the Burning Ear posted it on his blog. It was very well received, and soon we went on tour. By the time we arrived in Portland, Virgin Records was flying in to have dinner with us and check out the show. From the start we had a great feeling about the music they put out and the staff. There were other labels interested but for us it seemed like a great match, as well as perfect timing.
Ryan: I was recently introduced to Grizfolk and learned that all of the members come from different musical backgrounds, ranging from Hip-Hop to Rock to Funk and Electronic. Does this ever cause issues when making music or is this musical diversity an advantage?
Grizfolk: When we write songs, the influences come out naturally. It’s an honest stylistic collaboration where anything is possible.
Ryan: The Beastie Boys are one of many major influences on Grizfolk. Who are some of your other musical influences?
Grizfolk: We love all of Justin Vernon’s projects: Bon Iver, volcano choir, and the shouting matches. More recently, most of us have been listening to Ryan Adams new record quite a bit. Chet Faker and Blood Orange, also.
Ryan: California is an inspiration for your music; you specifically mentioned Joshua Tree in one interview. I visited this past summer and it was incredible. Talk about how California, Joshua Tree in particular, inspires you.
Grizfolk: When we write music, we imagine where the song takes place. Sometimes it’s the desert, sometimes is downtown LA or maybe the mountains or on a boat out at sea. We are inspired by people, places and ideas and there’s quite lot of great people, places and ideas in California.
Ryan: I personally love the message portrayed in your new single, “Hymnals”, about pursuing dreams because life is short. Would you say that this is a major theme in your music?
Grizfolk: We all definitely have the mentality of never giving up and pursuing dreams, no matter what the outcome may be. We tend to have themes of people traveling the lonesome roads, trying to find what really matters to them.
Ryan: Are there any plans for making new music while on tour or are you strictly focused on the shows?
Grizfolk: We’re always working on new songs when we’re on tour. It’s a very convenient age of technology, in that whenever we get inspired on the road we can open our laptops and start working. No matter if we’re in the van, in a hotel or even on stage sound checking, we have some sort of tools available for us to create something new.
Grizfolk’s new single “Hymnals” – from the band’s 2014 EP From The Spark (Virgin Records) – impacts Alternative radio this month.
From The Spark on iTunes: http://smarturl.it/FromTheSpark
GRIZFOLK – FALL 2014 TOUR DATES
10/24 – Rochester, NY @ Main Street Armory w/Bastille
10/29 – San Diego, CA @ University of California, San Diego
10/29 – San Diego, CA @ The Loft
10/30 – Stockton, CA @ University of Pacific
11/11 – San Francisco, CA @ The Independent
11/20 – Los Angeles, CA @ Shrine Expo Hall w/Bastille
11/21 – Pomona, CA @ Fox Theater w/Bastille