Catching Up With Gryffin

Last year, at Electric Forest, we met a young up-and-comer named Gryffin. We chatted about his sudden success and what he plans to do in the future. We caught up with Gryffin to have a chat with him about what he’s been up to since last year and what he’s got coming up in the future.

Sensible Reason: We last spoke at Electric Forest last year. How have things been going since then?

Gryffin: Yeah, I mean that feels like it was a lifetime ago. It’s been awesome since. Right now I’m in Seattle, playing a show tonight. Life is good.

SR: How’s the tour going so far?

G: It’s good. We pretty much just got underway, yesterday was the second show out of thirty-something dates. So, we’re just getting going and adjusting to life on the bus. Last night was crazy, we sold out Portland and sold out Seattle, too so we’re really looking forward to it.

SR: Since the last time we spoke and the last time you were touring, how has the crowd been responding this kickoff of the tour?

G: Things are crazier, it’s cool because back at Electric Forest at that time it was really most remixes that I had put out, I hadn’t put out a lot of original music but now I have a lot more releases under my belt and a ton of new music that’s coming out in a month that I’m able to play out live now. It’s really fun to have a set that I have made of my original music I made from scratch. It’s definitely a different set than last year. I really believe in it and I’m really happy with the direction of the show and the band is receptive to it as well.

SR: What’s it like working with more people and collaborating in the studio, like working with Illenium?

G: It’s good, it’s what I’ve always wanted to do and where I wanted to go with Gryffin as a career. I didn’t want to just make remixes, I love doing them and there’s an element that I enjoy, but I wanted to make music from scratch and have records that mean something to me personally and show that I have something to say. I wanted to pour all of my emotions into an album. As far as working with other artists, all the vocalists I’ve been working with are all very different experiences but also very awesome. I have great relationships with all these artists and working with Nick [Illenium] was a really fun experience. We met on the internet a couple years ago and we never really crossed paths but then we made a record that we dove in on and now we’re really good friends. He’s doing incredible things and I’m really proud of what he’s doing. We’re working with all these other people which has been a great opportunity, now I have so many friends in the industry to make these tracks with.

SR: Do you find that is it a challenge working with someone else VS working by yourself in the studio?

G: That’s actually a really great question, it’s kind of both. Sometimes being by yourself is good because you’re not distracted and you can focus in on what you’re trying to accomplish and say within the music. At the same time, collaborating can open the door creatively so much. I feel like you can learn a lot from another producer or songwriter and they can do the same with you. Your brain works totally differently and as long as everyone is on the same page when it comes to vibe and production. When collaborations work out it is equally as fun. It pushes me as an artist to think and work differently with someone else in the room.

SR: Two heads are better than one?

G: Yeah. I mean with Nick when I felt like I got stuck creatively I would just pass it over to him and he’d send it back and I would be so excited for what he did and I would do the same thing for him. We would just keep passing it back and forth and it would keep getting better and better and every time we communicated it was a really cool experience. So in that sense, it was a “two heads are better than one” situation.

SR: Have you ever reached any roadblocks when collaborating with someone?

G: Yeah, I have, kinda. I’ve had songs that I’ve worked on with other artists that started out as cool concepts and then we’re not able to finish them all the way through. They get shelved temporarily and we’re all so busy doing our own things, so sometimes if the idea doesn’t click right away or get flowing then they may get pushed to the backburner. It definitely happens, but I do feel like working with another artist is a great learning experience for me.

SR: Tell me about something you haven’t yet released but you’re excited to finish.

G: I actually just got the final vocal cut from the singer who is going to be on the next single I just cut. So I have to put that together on the bus, actually. I’m really excited for it. I also had another track come out today that I’ve been working on since Coachella so I’m really proud to have that one out. This one I teased at Coachella and some sets this summer and I originally finished the song in January but it took some time to get the right vocalist to catch the vibe of the track so it’s been 10 months in the making. I’m really excited to be wrapping it up and I’ve had really good feedback over the summer.

SR: What are you most excited for during this tour?

G: I’ve never done a bus tour, and we’re going to hit so many cities I’m excited to see them. I’ve been flying around everywhere and I haven’t been able to go to some cities but with this bus tour, I’ll be able to hit them. We’re bringing the production everywhere. I’ve never been to Montana and we hit Montana next week so I’m really looking forward to that. It’ll also be great to revisit cities I’ve done before and see venues I’ve always wanted to play. Being able to play these venues is a dream come true.

SR: Do you find inspiration on the road? You said you need to finish this one on the bus, does that help or hurt the creative process?

G: It’s definitely both. It’s hard to make music on the road because you’re on airplane flights or the bus and you can’t really set up a studio where you can test the music and hear it like in the studio, so that is hard. Sometimes I’ll mess with a bass sound or kick drum on the airplane and get back home and it’ll be awful because you can’t mess with the sound on the airplane. There’s a baby crying in the background or something. But at the same time, traveling is very inspiring creatively. Being in a new place sometimes you just pick up on certain things and get inspired by a sound. Your brain thinks differently. I feel like I’ve been able to get good ideas on the road and loosely record them to get an idea and polish them up when I’m home.

SR: When it comes to what you write and what you put out to people, is it difficult or liberating to be transparent and open with your emotions?

G: It’s definitely liberating. It’s work that I’m really proud of, I have so much ownership over the materials because I’m constructing it from a pen and paper environment unlike remixing where I’m only reimagining the production. These original songs have a lot of involvement with content. So it’s very liberating but also terrifying because you’re putting yourself out there. The internet can be a very cruel world so it is very nerve-wracking.

SR: In the same vein of the internet being so cruel, what would you say to your trolls?

G: [Laughs] If you don’t like the music or if you have something negative to say, why say it? Why be that person? There is enough negativity in the world, we don’t need more stuff like that.

Trolls aside, we can’t wait to catch Gryffin at Bottom Lounge in Chicago this Friday with special guests (and Chicago natives) Autograf. The show is SOLD OUT and bound to be a blast.

Ashley Cizek

Went to school at UW-Madison, graduating with a BA in psychology. I hula-hoop, I write, I enjoy sunlight.

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