IN CONVERSATION WITH GRYFFIN
Since he started his career as a classically trained pianist and guitarist while also playing in several bands, Gryffin kept inspiring us with his versatile and progressive sound. In 2016 the multi-platinum producer made his breakthrough with ‘Heading Home’ and the Gold-certified Bipolar Sunshine collaboration ‘Whole Heart’ which showcased his melodic take on dance music. In addition, in 2017, his smash single and first Platinum record ‘Feel Good’ with Illenium featuring Daya peaked in the charts. Gryffin’s major triumphs also include ‘Tie Me Down’ ft. Elley Duhé, ‘Remember’ ft. Zohara, and ‘All You Need to Know’ with SLANDER ft. Calle Lehmann.
At the end of last year, he successfully finished his US tour and later on released his album ‘Alive’. The talented producer who draws equally from his carefully honed musicality and edgy ingenuity will certainly continue to dazzle us with musical gems of club music, composing elaborate arrangements that are poised, urgent, and addictive.
Check Gryffin’s Q&A down below where he shares some insights into his daily life, what he is doing when he is not in the studio or on tour, his creative work process, and, we of course had the chance to talk about his latest project ‘Alive’.
“With ‘Alive’ I really went outside of my normal wheelhouse with some records while, with others that have that true Gryffin sound, I tried to give them new wrinkles that feel new and exciting.”
What was the last track you listened to? I’ve been really into SG Lewis’s track “Oh Laura”
Do you have an album or artist that has influenced you in your musical career until now? There isn’t a specific album or artist that has been a single point of influence for me. My music career has been inspired by so many people over the course of my life. I truly believe you can draw inspiration from anywhere if you allow yourself to. A couple of artists and bands that were a staple for inspiration are Sublime, Daft Punk, Skrillex, Deadma5, Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, and Avicii.
What is an album you could always listen to? Oof this is a hard one. To narrow it down, a current go-to album for me in the electronic space would be Fred again..’s Actual Life 3
What does a day look like for you when you’re not on tour? A normal day for me when I’m not on tour starts with a nice cup of coffee. I’ve gotten into golf a lot these last few years, so I’ll often squeeze in a quick trip to the range after coffee and breakfast. I spend the majority of my day playing around with different ideas in the studio and hanging out with Steph (my wife) and Gigi (our dog). Some days I like to mix in some Warzone and Mario Party sessions with Steph and my friends.
What is your creative process like when working on new pieces? A new track normally starts with a topline and then I begin to experiment with different chord progressions to see what I feel pairs with the topline the best. At that point, I will experiment with different melodic and drum arrangements to accompany what I already have. Once I’m comfortable with my rough arrangement, I will start to dial in the sonics on each of the instruments and layers to make sure everything fits together well. After that, I’ll begin to send the track around to my friends and family to see what they think!
Tell me about your connection to electronic music. Have you always been into this genre? And what are genres you’re particularly drawn to? Growing up, I was a big Sublime, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC kid. I discovered the route to making and really listening to electronic music when I was in college after I discovered DJs like deadmau5, Skrillex, and Avicii. I fell in love with the music they were making, and I immediately downloaded Ableton to start playing around with making electronic music.
End of last year you released your album ’Alive’. What was the inspiration behind the album, and what is the thread that runs through it? I wanted my sophomore album to sound like Gryffin, but I tried to make it feel like a new chapter from my first album, Gravity. I wanted to make records that I loved and differentiated themselves from my Gravity era. Alive takes you through the human experience of emotions. Alive continues the timeline with a dive into what it means to be alive, to be human, to human emotion, to feel, and the senses. Alive is tied together largely by continuity in the full-color spectrum, light, and live-action human performative thematics.
Can you tell me more about the collaborations with Kygo, Tinashe, MØ, and OneRepublic? How did it happen, and what was the process of working together? The album definitely would not be the same without these awesome collaborations. I got to work with artists I have always dreamed of working with. I’ve been friends with Kygo for a while and we have always wanted to collaborate. When we received the “Woke Up In Love” demo, it really resonated with us both. We kept sending ideas back and forth until the production was exactly where we wanted it. Both of us have always been a fan of Calum Scott and felt like he would sound incredible on the track. We sent it to him and he loved it! MØ has also always been a vocalist I have wanted to collaborate with. She has always had an impact on electronic music with her incredible songs. I received “Reckless” as a topline from MØ and really vibed with it. I continued to send her production ideas and hone it with her over time. The experience working on the track with her was incredible. She is an incredible artist but an even better person. She’s an angel!
In what way does ’Alive’ differ from your previous debut album ’Gravity’? Gravity takes fans on a thematic journey through space, time, and the elements of nature to the present day. I always want to push myself as an artist and elevate what the Gryffin project sounds like, and I feel like with ‘Alive’ I really went outside of my normal wheelhouse with some records while, with others that have that true Gryffin sound, I tried to give them new wrinkles that feel new and exciting. I always try to channel uplifting and emotional tones in my music, and this album will be rooted in that. Outside of the sonics, there will be a number of more well-known features and artists that I’ve been fans of for a long time so I’m excited to share those collaborations.
You’ve been touring the last month of 2022. How was it to be back on stage? What is planned for 2023? 2022 was definitely one for the books. Shows and festivals felt like they were finally back into full swing. I got to play over in Europe & Asia and see lots of fans here in the states– as well as playing my biggest show to date yet in Los Angeles. It felt incredible to be back on stage & seeing all my fans again. 2023 is also already back in full swing. I just played in Phoenix, Aspen & Cabo and will be playing festivals like Ultra Miami and Project Glow DC very soon. I’ve also been working on some new music that I cannot wait for everyone to hear!
What were the highlights of your last tour? My highlight of the last tour was definitely playing LA State Historic Park with the band in front of almost 20,000 people. It was my biggest live show to date and I had the honor of bringing out Tinashe, Lauren from CVRCHES, Daya & Audrey Mika. My first headline show at Red Rocks was also a huge moment for me in my career.
Let’s talk about fashion.. What’s your connection to fashion? Is that something that’s important to you in your daily life or on stage? When performing, the band and I love wearing our Gryffin jerseys, some black pants & cool sneakers. I am always looking for a cool pair of new sneaks. I would say my style is on the casual streetwear side of things. I love keeping up with trends but also staying comfortable. However, I am a sucker for high fashion pieces as well and have been getting more into top-tier brands like Dolce & Gabbana, Tom Ford, Fendi, and Gucci.
Interview by Magdalena Roe