Can you tell us about your background and how you first got started in music? How did you become interested in electronic music and what drew you to it as a medium for self-expression?
Well I started music at a very young age. I’ve been classically trained on piano since about 7 years old and I’m very inspired by The Beatles and classic rock bands. I grew up listening to Led Zeppelin and AC/DC so that inspired me to pick up the guitar. When it comes to my artist project, I wanted to be one of the first electronic artists to use live instruments in the forefront of their music. I started doing that all the way back when I was making remixes up until now. If I didn’t start remixing, I would not be where I am today. The starting point for remixes for me is I have to really connect with a vocal from an emotional standpoint. I then start on the piano and build a chord progression. After that, I usually work on the drop where I’ll break out guitar or create a synth lead. From there, it’s really just building out drums, adding effects, and finishing the track with bells and whistles. First working on remixes really helped me understand how to structure my songs and really helped me segue to producing originals.
Who are some of your biggest musical influences, both within electronic music and outside of it? How have these influences shaped your sound and approach to creating music?
As mentioned previously, classic rock had a big influence on me picking up a guitar. I’ve always been a fan of Zeppelin, AC/DC & The Rolling Stones. When it comes to electronic music, I was always heavily influenced by Daft Punk, Calvin Harris, Skrillex & Avicii. Daft Punk’s track “Around The World“ is the first electronic record I ever heard as a child and Avicci’s track “Seek Bromance” is actually one of the first songs that made me start producing dance music. In today’s world I’m still influenced by all of these artists and more such as Fred Again.. And Peggy Gou.
Can you walk us through your creative process for writing and recording a new song? How do you typically begin a new track, and what are some of the key elements or techniques you focus on as you develop it?
When I first started remixing, the starting point for me was that I really had to connect with a vocal or top line from an emotional standpoint. I then started on the piano and built a chord progression. After that, I usually worked on the drop where I’ll break out guitar or create a synth lead. From there, it’s really just building out drums, adding effects, and finishing the track with bells and whistles. Now, when making an original, a 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. However, over the last few years, I’ve done more sessions where I’ll work with writers and producers from scratch. Once I have a vocal I’m really vibing with, I will experiment with different melodic and drum arrangements to accompany what I already have. I write all my melodies and chords with real instruments (guitar and piano). I think performing the melodies as I write helps me get into a more flow-like state and just let my emotions/feelings flow freely without having to look at the computer screen. 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 trusted music collaborators to see what they think!
You had a big moment in 2022 with the release of your album ‘Alive’. How did it feel to share it with the world, and how long did it take to create?
It feels incredible to have my sophomore album out! I started making Alive during the beginning of the pandemic in 2020. It had been about a 3 year project as I wanted it to be perfect and took my time really making sure every record could be the best it could be.
Can you tell us about your latest singles ‘Dreams’ and ‘Oceans’? How did they come about and what inspirations / messages are behind them?
After releasing my sophomore album, I really wanted to return to my roots and release some dancier, vibey tracks. When it comes to “Dreams,” I have always loved the 1993 original by Gabrielle. When I first heard the demo for “Oceans” I instantly fell in love with Kid Joi’s vocals and immediately got to work on the track. Whenever I showed it to my wife or a friend, they had an instant connection to it as well. We all knew this song was special.
Can you tell us about any upcoming music or collaborations you have in the works? Are there any new directions or sounds you’re exploring in your music right now?
As I mentioned, I have been working on taking it back to my roots and really diving into the dance music scene with new music. I have been honing in on my craft, exploring new skills and getting in the studio whenever I am not on the road. I am so stoked to share what I’ve been working on with you all!
As a musician, what message do you hope to convey through your music? What themes or ideas do you find yourself returning to again and again in your work?
I definitely try to be as authentic and organic as possible in my music. Instead of using only samples or electronic sounds, I’ve always incorporated organic elements like acoustic and electric guitar into my songs. Additionally, I always try to work with toplines and demos that are authentic and emotionally-charged. Music is a very emotional experience, and when I’m creating a song, I try to build a world with each song.
When it comes to the messages or themes I put out with my music, it is always positive leaning. I love producing records that will make someone smile and lift them up. My songs normally share a message about love or living life to the best it can be.
What has been the highlight of your career so far? Can you talk about a specific moment or accomplishment that stands out as particularly meaningful to you?
Oh man, I had quite a few highlights last year in 2022. One of my most memorable would be when I released my Sophomore album ‘Alive’ the same day I played my biggest headline show at LA State Historic Park. It was pretty unreal. I also had my debut Red Rocks headline last year, which was a dream come true. That venue is definitely one of my favorites to play.
How do you see the music industry evolving in the next 5 years? What changes do you think we’ll see in terms of technology, distribution, and audience engagement?
The music industry is pretty unpredictable, especially when it comes to the dance music scene. If you told me techno would be making this much of a comeback in 2023 or country riddim would even be a thing a few years ago, I wouldn’t believe you. I love that different genres in the electronic music scene have made their way back into the cycle. The dance music culture is thriving from a scene perspective with a lot of innovation in various subgenres happening and people wanting to go to raves again so that is incredibly exciting to me. Social media has a huge effect on what is hot and what’s not. We all see what platforms like Tik Tok and Instagram do to blow up an artist’s career. I can’t imagine what new technologies or platforms will be around in 5 to 10 years but also what will be making a comeback.
What advice would you give to aspiring musicians trying to make it in the industry? Are there any particular tips or strategies you’ve found to be particularly effective in building a career as an electronic musician?
I would just say to remember that it all comes down to the music at the end of the day. Whenever I’m preparing for a new era or chapter in my career, I always make sure that the music is where I want it to be and something I’m excited about. Also, I would give them the advice to hone in on a specific sound that you can build a world around. Mine was a simple phrase of “uplifting, emotional dance music,” and I’ve tried to channel that ethos into every one of my songs.
What’s next for Gryffin?
In terms of the near future, I am so excited to be able to share what music I have been working on with the world soon. I am also stoked to be headlining two nights at Red Rocks this October as well as play festivals such as Fuji Rock in Japan, Zurich Open Air in Switzerland, Reading & Leeds in the UK & EZOO in New York. this Summer.