Title photo credit: Greg Noire Photography
One the third day of this year's Lollapalooza, I was fortunate enough to hang out with GRiZ (aka Grant), a guy I've been looking forward to meeting for a while. We've worked with GRiZ in a lot in the past, and I've heard nothing but great things about the guy from everyone who has met him. I had the chance to catch most of his set the day before, when he performed at the Perry's stage. This is the third time that GRiZ has played Lollapalooza, which was one of the first big music festivals he had to opportunity to perform at a few years back. Since GRiZ is no stranger to the festival, I asked how he feels these days about competing against other big acts who have the same set times.
“I find it a huge blessing. I'm always the black sheep at these things (festivals). I'm too live to be a DJ, and too DJ to be ever be considered live. I just can't care. I'm like ‘fuck it, whatever' I just want to get up there and play my music because at least one person out there wants me here.”
GRiZ's good friends, Big Gigantic, were also on the lineup at this year's Lolla. The guys have a new single together titled “Good Times Roll”. After working for so long with other artists and being familiar with how they work, pushing out a single together had to be a piece of cake, right?
“Yeah! Coming out with some new creation with somebody helps if you have a good personal history with them. You can come to an agreement on creative differences quicker and all that kind of stuff. That track was rolled out pretty seamlessly from start to finish.”
GRiZ also has a huge part in the “All Good Radio” podcast. This podcast has a special guest mix on each episode. I told GRiZ it was cool to see Minnesota featured on an episode, an artist who I'm familiar with being from Minnesota myself.
“Christian is the man! I was like ‘Oh shit, you wanna do it?!' and he said ‘Yeah, of course I wanna do it!'. For a long time, I didn't want to just push out lots of content. I didn't want to just focus on albums. I want there to be a focused project. Now I'm realizing that I want to put more music in more places. Not just on albums and shows. I want to put music to graphic visuals. I want to include more people. I want to let this thing grow. I'm just a control freak man. I have trouble relinquishing things into the world.”
I wanted to know more about GRiZ's interest in the visuals he mentioned. Would that include visuals in the backdrops during sets?
“I'm at a point in my career where that kind of stuff wasn't even stuff I considered. It was like ‘Cool, you're going to build all this visual content for these LED screens I'm going to be playing in front of' and I said ‘Cool, I'm going to make music. I'm going to make albums and play this fucking saxaphone'. Now there's this opportunity to be able to do that and work with all these awesome people because they want to work with us. It's so cool! I'm learning a lot man. I'm gaining more appreciation for things. My focus isn't being shifted, it's being expanded. Seeing all this stuff isn't just a blur of everything, I can break it down and say ‘Oh. This is the person who did that, and this person did this piece of graphic content for this show'. If I'm surfing the web and there's a really cool painting, and it was this artist, I can reach out to that person and we can work together to create this thing.”
GRiZ is close to finishing up his new album. He also recently announced his new tour for Fall 2016. I had to thank him for adding Minneapolis as one of the dates. From there we got into our shared love of the ‘Midwest sound'.
“There's just something about my music and the Midwest that goes together like peanut butter and jelly!”
I mentioned how that ‘Midwest sound' seemed to have that focus of Funk and bass.
“Yeah, it's like hip hop beats plus electronic sensibilities. I don't know where the fuck that comes from!” We both laughed as I didn't have an answer to that either.”
Being an artist familiar with Lollapalooza, I asked GRiZ about any memories he had of past performances over the years or anything he was looking forward to seeing over the 25th anniversary weekend.
“We caught Radiohead last night (Friday) and it was awesome. I feel like that music always does good things to people. Red Hot Chili Peppers play tonight (Saturday). That was my first favorite band ever. After hearing Californication, they quickly became my favorite band.”
Being the 25th Anniversary, also known as the ‘Silver Anniversary', I asked GRiZ if he could take anything in the world, turn it into silver, and give it to Lollapalooza, what would that be?
“A silver waterslide!”
I finally got my chance to meet GRiZ, and I thank him so much for that! Sharing our love for the Midwest over a couple drinks made for one of the coolest afternoons ever!