Grizfolk is a new and promising band. They hail from LA, but the members are from all over the world. I caught up with the band on the afternoon of their second sold out show at the Radio City Music Hall. Grizfolk is currently on tour with Bastille.
DBM: How long have you guys been a band?
Adam: About two years. We started writing about three years ago and it turned into a band about two years ago. Originally it was a songwriting team. It wasn’t really a band, it was me and these two Swedes and we were messing around. I was in a band with Bill at the time and we weren’t really sure what we were doing. Then all of a sudden we thought, “This is kinda cool, maybe we should turn it into a band.” Then I called Bill and I called Brandon.
DBM: I keep hearing about this; These Two Swedes. (Laugh) How long did you live in Sweden before you came to the states?
Sebastian: I was born in Sweden and lived there for 18 years.
Frederick: I’ve lived for seven years here in the states. Can’t go back now, I like it too much. But I miss Sweden. Hopefully in the future I can have a home there too.
DBM: Did you move straight to LA?
Frederick: I stayed in New York, just checking out the vibe and stuff. But it was a little bit overwhelming for me; a little bit too big. So when I came to LA it was a little more laid back, a little more my kind of vibe. I went there to explore music, meet people, and have some fun.
DBM: But there are music scenes in Sweden.
Frederick: Stockholm has a great music scene. It has been growing in the last ten years. Awesome stuff.
DBM: But it’s different?
Frederick: It’s different. It’s more of a producer/songwriter kind of atmosphere.
DBM: Adam, you said in a recent interview that your band is named after Grizzly Adams. That has a lot of Country/Americana imagery. But your guys’ sound is more synth-pop. Is there a meaning behind the name?
Adam: Originally my nickname was GrizzAdams. When we first started it was just a few of us writing, and we needed a Soundcloud name. We were like, “Alright how about soundcould.com/grizadams.” I wasn’t really thinking it was the name of the band yet. And then a blog posted the song The Struggle and it started going viral. We thought we should probably come up with a better name. Grizfolk was kind of a name we stumbled upon that encompassed our fans and the community. More of a community than a band. The whole concept behind this was to bring multi-cultural influences together and making it work.
DBM: So the Bastille pair up. It’s your third show with them?
Adam: It’s the third show on this tour. But we did their European tour with them. We did a couple dates with them before; New York, Detroit, Boston. But yeah, we were on their European tour back in March.
DBM: Is this the highest profile pair up you’ve had so far? I assume before you were playing Hotel Cafe in LA, or clubs and such?
Bill: We’ve been out with some pretty cool bands this year, besides Bastille. Wildcub we toured with, Brett Dennon last year, and Haim we played a show with as well. But these venues are definitely, I mean, two nights at Radio City is pretty special.
DBM: How has the release gone? Has the response been nice? Can you talk a little bit about From The Spark?
Adam: Basically it was a starting point. We’re finishing a full length album right now. That’s definitely more of a plethora of styles. On the EP every song is completely different, in a way. “Waiting For You” is kind of Americana and a little bit electro. Then there’s “Vagabonds” which is urban almost. Then there’s “Hymnals” which is more rock. It was basically our starting point like, “Hey, this is what we’re doing.” We tried to put everything that we are doing on one EP. But the full length is going to be more, more surprises I guess. The full vision. We don’t have a release date yet. We’re finishing the record, it’s almost done.
Bill: But we are extremely excited. It’s been a long time coming. We’ve been working really hard, so we’re really excited for it.
Adam: It’s been tough cause we’ve been on the road. And we’ve been trying to finish the album in the van and in hotel rooms and stuff. It’s taken a little longer for us because basically we got thrown onto the road.
DBM: Do you typically record live?
Adam: We do a lot of pre-production…then go into the studio and lay down live tracks.
Sebastian: Blend of samples, loops, and synths and stuff like that. And then blend in the organic live recording of drums and guitars. That’s what makes our sound how it sounds. The blend of those two things.
Frederick: It’s fun to do that too. Its two different vibes, you know. On the computers you get to be a nerd and get super geeky about all these sounds. That’s a lot of fun. Then you do that, then move into the studio as a rock band and play it live. It’s just so much fun to do both and combine it into one song. We’re gonna keep doing that for the future too.
DBM: Being on the bus or in the next hotel room trying to write something versus shutting the world out. Do you feel like that helps or hinders you? How does that effect the writing process?
Adam: Touring has helped. A lot of times we write about experiences, we picture the landscape where the song takes place. So I think touring, driving through the middle of nowhere sometimes, when you get into a room to write you picture that long dusty road in the middle of Utah.
Bill: Personally I get a big creative surge a couple days after touring. There’s a lot of sleep involved. I’m happy being locked in a room with a guitar for hours and hours.
Frederick: It’s great having our portable studios on the road. A lot of times we play a show and just go backstage, “Oh, now I have an idea.” You feel an energy with the crowd, “We need this kind of song now.” Or we have a song we’ve played a lot of times or felt a certain kind of vibe from one show, we can change, “I want to add shaker here” or “Try to change up this.” We can do that because we have everything in the computers. We can stay creative all the time. You’re always working, always staying creative.
DBM: If you pulled out your phone and clicked ‘What’s Playing,’ what would be listening to?