Fall has begun here in the Northwest, and we all know what that means: More shows! Our corner of the country is full of tantalizing venues for touring artists, and late-2017 is nothing short of amazing when it comes to shows! On October 4th, Gryffin will be kicking off his first ever North American bus tour, Castle In The Sky, where he will be traveling throughout the PNW, starting in Eugene, OR at Wow Hall, and wrapping up in Missoula, MT at the Top Hat Lounge on October 10th!
In 2015, Dan Griffith, aka Gryffin, began his dance music career performing at SnowGlobe 2015. Since 2015, Dan has had the opportunity to travel around the world, opening for and playing alongside artists like Kygo, the Chainsmokers, and Martin Garrix just to name a few. With his highly emotional tracks like Feel Good, remixes like Youth, and his newest remix for Portugal. The Man’s Feel It Still, Gryffin’s experienced a quick rise to musical fame to say the very least.
Castle In The Sky will be Gryffin’s first ever bus tour, but before he embarks on the rest of his tour, we had the opportunity to sit down with him and discuss his inspirations, performing live, and what this tour means for him as an artist!
You began your musical career at a younger age, tell us a little bit more about your beginning influences, both instrumentally and from other musicians? At what age did you begin your journey into the electronic music world?
Gryffin: Actually my parents were probably who really got me started playing the piano. But I have always been into music my entire life so it was great having that sort of background starting in classical music, playing that sort of stuff and learning musical theory.
Having that as my background really helped me as I started to get into more non classical music stuff and I picked up the guitar and started writing my own music and began playing in jam bands and things like that when I was in grade school and then as I got to college in LA at USC I started really getting into and discovering electronic dance music and that was sort of my introduction to the world of dance music. I ended up downloading ableton and started messing around with it while I was in school and that’s really how the Gryffin project got started, just me messing around making dance music and beats.
Who were some of the artists that really got you interested in dance music?
Gryffin: I remember being at USC and people were going to like the hard events that were starting out back in the day. There was a lot of Swedish dance music producers, I remember Aviciis early stuff and I remember being so inspired by it! I remember Skrillex when he dropped Scary Monsters, I was just like Wow, I had never heard anything like that before and it was so cool to like hear these new sounds that my ears were not ready for.
I also liked Deadmau5 and then as things began to get bigger and more mainstream like Swedish House Mafia and stuff like that. I can also remember listening to like Daft Punk and chemical brothers stuff when I was really young like some of their songs that were on the radio, but it probably wasn’t until the artists that I just mentioned when I was in school that I really started falling in love with dance music and began wanting to create stuff on my own for fun!
You are known for your live DJ sets, how important is it for you to be able to perform your music live rather than the typical DJ format?
Gryffin: It is really fun to be able to do something different, like going to a show sometimes people expect me to just “DJ it up” and they are kind of surprised by what I actually offer. I try and do a little bit more to the show and give it a more dynamic element so that its still like fun and people are dancing but at the same time there is this live musicianship that is happening there.
For dance music it is good to have different types of shows, and offer some diversity within the scene so people can checkout what else is out there and mix it up in terms of what they want to watch and what kinds of concerts they want to go to. It’s always been a fun thing for me because having guitar and piano as my background I use that knowledge and my ability to play those instruments always in my music.
Whether or not it is totally audible, there are a lot of layers that go into my production that I am playing into the masses. So for me to be able to execute that and perform that live is a really rewarding experience for me, it’s just been a lot of fun doing the live thing.
What was it like having your live debut at SnowGlobe 2015?
Gryffin: Yeah that was my first Gryffin show! It was so terrifying at the time, but it was such a fun experience! It was also like negative degrees so I was playing guitar and piano and all that stuff and my fingers were like freezing off. It was quite an introduction to like doing live performance! But yeah, that is where it all started and I am actually going back and doing SnowGlobe again this year so it is really exciting to see how things have gone the last 2 years and now I will be back there! I am really excited about that.
You have blown up over the past few years! What is it like going from an aspiring producer starting out, to collaborating and opening for some of the biggest names in the industry?
Gryffin: Yeah it’s awesome, I have been really fortunate to be able to do that. Like Kygo has been supporting me pretty much since I first started putting out music and then I had the tour with the Chainsmokers and Martin Garrix, and to be on festivals with these artists that I have looked up to for so many years, it is very surreal and such a huge honor to be able to do that.
When you really start getting to know these guys though you realize how similar everyone is and they are just like regular guys that happen to make really cool music but I mean it is just really cool to be able to have these relationships, be able to have these conversations with them because they are doing such incredible things. It’s just awesome to be able to be a pay homage to that.
You have said that at the beginning you never really imagined that your music would take off like it has, any advice for aspiring producers out there?
Gryffin: I would just say to try and in terms of releasing your music, try and identify a sound or style that you really want to go for and almost like have a mission statement for what you want your music to be and what you want people to feel and how you want them to connect with your music.
If you can kind of develop a brand or identity musically you’ll definitely be able to stand out of the crowd instead of just trying to make whatever trendy music is going on, on the internet or SoundCloud at the moment. Another piece of advice would be to not be afraid to put your music out there publicly and see what people think.
Don’t be afraid to message artists and try to foster communications with them because you never know what will happen. Sometimes people send me stuff and I really end up liking it. There is no reason to not put your music out there and see how people react.
Where does the inspiration for your sound originate?
Gryffin: A lot of the music I try and do, I try to invoke emotional reactions for people to really feel something when they hear my music and also feel sort of uplifted, that’s the identity that I try to make with my music. That has always sort of been my goal, to give it the electronic element but also give it an organic feel with the piano and guitar. Its like a fusion between electronic and analogue, an organic sound!
You are going to be starting you first ever bus tour, what is that like compared to other touring?
Gryffin: It’s going to be very different experience for sure. You essentially live on bus for two months, where when you’re flying around you’re waking up, getting to an airport, flying to a new place, and than staying at a hotel. Then you rinse and repeat that for a period of time. On the bus it’s like, we are going to be driving out to Oregon where I’ll be playing a show, and then sleeping on the bus. Then we wake up in a new city in Oregon where we run through sound check and then we are off to Seattle to do the same thing.
Like no hotel, showering at the venues, its just a very different lifestyle for sure. I am really looking forward to it! This is my first bus tour and we are going to so many cities that I have never been to like Missoula, like I have never been to Montana and I don’t think that without music I would have ever had the opportunity to go there. I am just really looking forward to this tour and just meeting all of the fans from cities that I have never been to before, I just think that it is going to be a really cool experience. I am really excited to be doing this tour!
Anything special planned for this tour that you can share with the fans?
Gryffin: I am going to be bringing as big of a production as I’ve ever had before, both visually and lighting wise so it is definitely my most ambitious tour from a production stand point. I’ve got a lot of new edits, songs, and material that will be coming out on an EP later this year that I am going to be playing on this run. I am really excited for how the set has come together! There will be some surprises in the sets for sure, it’s a totally new production for the show so I am really excited to see what people think, a lot of work has been put in and I am feeling really good about it!
Anything else you would like the fans to know?
Gryffin: I just want the fans to know how excited and pumped I am to be coming up to the Northwest. I am anticipating really good crowds and I’m excited to meet the fans! I really hope you all like the shows and the new music that I am going to be putting out this fall, I’m just really grateful and excited to get on the road!
After speaking with Gryffin, we’re most definitely excited to see what he has in store for us! Gryffin will be making a total of six appearances in the NW during this tour, so let us know where you will be seeing him in the comments below!