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DJ GRYFFIN Soaring High

Upcoming Electronic Dance Music (EDM) musician, Dan Griffith, more commonly known as GRYFFIN, who came to Singapore to perform at the Ultra Music Festival 2016, tells us about his latest ventures and how he wants to evolve as a musician.

 

GRYFFIN, like many other musicians, had an early start with music. At the age of seven, GRYFFIN learnt to play classical piano before going on to pick up the guitar in middle school. He then pursued a degree in music production at the University of Southern California, spending his free time after class to further hone his music production skills.

GRYFFIN
GRYFFIN

Photo Courtesy of http://www.windishagency.com/artists/gryffin

GRYFFIN, now 28, started off remixing well-known songs, such as Ellie Goulding’s “Burn”, Maroon 5’s “Animals” and Whitney Houston’s “I Learned from the Best” and categorises himself as a DJ and a producer. He made his world debut at the SnowGlobe Music Festival 2015, one of the world’s biggest music festivals, that takes place at Lake Tahoe annually. Unlike other DJs, GRYFFIN performed his set with live instrumentation, such as playing the guitar and keyboard, instead of using only a turntable.

 

The use of live instruments in his sets has made GRYFFIN stand out from other DJs. As such, GRYFFIN decided to channel his energy into EDM as a musician instead, while still playing as a DJ for specific events. He released his first single as a musician, “Heading Home”, featuring Josef Salvat, an Australian musician in January 2016. The New Yorker debut single received positive feedback, topping the Spotify US and Global Viral charts and was streamed over 27 million times on both Spotify and SoundCloud.

 

In August, GRYFFIN released his second single, “Whole Heart”, featuring one of his past collaborators, Bipolar Sunshine. GRYFFIN tells us more about his new music, the second leg of his US tour and his future as a musician.

 

  1. What was it like when you woke up and found your song “Heading Home” on the Billboard charts?

 

That was awesome. I made that song quite a while ago and it took a little bit of time to finish the writing, production and clearing it but I always felt that it was a special song to me personally. The song was something that I really wanted to put out for my project from an artistic perspective. To see that it was reacted to so positively and people really understood the message behind the song and really resonated with it, was the best feeling you could ever ask for as an artiste.

  1. Why do you think you connect with “Heading Home” so much? What does it mean to you?

 

It has a melancholic vibe to it where there is a hint of sadness but at the end of the day it’s a very uplifting and empowering message and has a lot of depth lyrically, which is relatable to a lot of people. I thought the song itself was really meaningful and I was really happy with how the production ended up as well. It turned into a fun yet emotional song at the same time.

 

  1. Tell me more about your new single “Whole Heart”. In a previous interview you said that it’s about love being the answer for surviving in a world gone awry, so tell me more about it.

 

Like a lot of the messages behind the record, it’s another one that I’m really excited about lyrically like “Heading Home”. There are a lot of issues going on in the world politically and within each country, there’s just a lot of changes happening which people are unsure and scared about. But I think that the underlying message behind it is with the changes in mind, if you still believe in love and peace and other types of positive and uplifting messages, and apply it to yourself on a personal level to believe in that and try to work towards that, it’s going to work out and that’s what the tagline, “got to go whole heart” refers to. “Whole Heart” was another song where I really resonated with the lyrical messaging behind it and to make a production out and get that uplifting, anthemic feel got me really excited to put it out.

  1. Tell me more about your upcoming EP, is there a story that you want to tell? Maybe something that embodies you, something like how Beyonce told a story through ‘Lemonade’ or Adele through ‘25’?

 

I don’t know if it’s going to be that developed a concept. Right now, I’m just focusing on trying to make as good a record as I can. I feel like my project, the GRYFFIN Project in general, has a theme of emotional and uplifting type music and that’s what I want the EP to be thematically. But I’m trying to make it diverse as well, with have different sorts of influences from a production standpoint, have different vocalists and different vibes to each song but still have it suit my personality and touch. Hopefully, by the time it’s wrapped up, it’d be a pretty cool body of work.

 

  1. So when do you think you will release your EP?

 

I wanted to put the EP out this fall but it’s taking a little bit of time because I take a really long time with my record. It takes me a while to get to a level for me to feel totally confident and ready to put my work, personally. This is because sometimes I overthink and re-think things which I always want to change things. But if not the end of this year, definitely early next year is a goal to release the EP and I have an idea of all the tracks. It’s just a matter of getting them all to the finish line.

 

  1. Have you recorded all the songs for the EP?

 

I wouldn’t say that I have recorded everything, but I know the singer-songwriters that I want to be attached to it and most of them are pretty far in development. It’s just a matter of really finishing the songs. Getting that last twenty to thirty percent of finishing a record is sometimes the hardest to do, for it to get just the way you want to.

GRYFFIN
GRYFFIN

Photo Courtesy of http://www.gryffinofficial.com

  1. Who are your dream collaborations?

 

I feel like doing something with other dance music artists would be fun, like Kygo or something would be great but at the same time, I would like to do something in a different world outside of just EDM or dance, maybe Florence Welch from Florence and The Machine would be awesome, James Blake. Someone from a different world from dance that brings something incredibly unique to the table would be an awesome thing. I think it would be fun to do stuff with pop artists as well. I definitely kind of gravitate towards artists that are a bit left to center in terms of whether its Indie or Alternative or some sort of vibe that is not straight up pop music. So maybe like Lorde or something, where they have a little bit of edge and indie flare.

 

  1. Music is a great way to communicate empowerment and positive energy to people. So what are the types of messages that you want to communicate with your listeners?

 

I think dance music, in general, has an underlying theme of unity, love and treating each other with respect and it’s just a very positive message which is what I want my music to be about as well. Like the first two singles that I put out, there’s a lot of emotional messaging behind it that also is very about love and loving each other and I think that’s definitely where I try to go as a musician. I want my listeners to be able to connect to the music, whether it’s playing with their friends or being able to listen to it and take them to a place that uplifts them and make them happier, whether that’s at a concert or by themselves in a car, whatever, just to have that sense of positive emotion and connection.

 

  1. You have an upcoming tour, explain the experience that you want the concertgoers to live through. Tell me more about the new tour that you will be going on.

 

I’m going to be doing my second leg of the US tour. It’s going to be live again so I’ll be playing drum pads, pianos and keyboards live and I’m really hoping it’s going to be a fun experience like it was earlier this year. To really connect with the fans on an emotional level, give them a show that’s not just like a DJ set, to be able to perform the music that I’ve created in a live setting where they hear me actually really playing the instruments and do some improvisation and have a good time while doing it.

GRYFFIN
GRYFFIN

Photo Courtesy of http://www.gryffinofficial.com

  1. What was the proudest moment of your life musically or in any aspect of your life?

 

Honestly, one of the biggest things was putting out the first record, “Heading Home”. It’s a big step for me I guess. When I first started this project, I didn’t really know what was going to happen, I just made music and put it out online and hoped people would like it. Back then I was just doing remixes, not even official ones. I was just grabbing an a capella online, making a production out of it and putting it out there. But I think that putting out that first record on Interscope was a big proud moment for me because it’s the first time I’ve been able to put out my own body of work that I felt really embodied with what I’m trying to be as an artiste. So I think that’s probably, up to this point, my proudest.

 

  1. Was there something that didn’t go quite well for you but you learned how to overcome and improve it?

 

I don’t really have anything specific but you know everything in music is kind of up and down. Sometimes a song that you really like doesn’t do as well as you may have hoped, you’re not happy with how the production went, or a show didn’t go as well as it could’ve. Music’s a very high and low type of environment, so I don’t really have anything particular to point out, but no matter what, through the ups and downs, you just got to keep looking forward and surround yourself with a good team.

 

  1. Have you ever thought of naming your fan base?

 

Naming my fan base? Oh man, no! I think we were going to have like street team name kind of thing? Like flight club? I think I was maybe going to call them that because of Griffin with the wings, so flight club, but not like Beliebers or anything like that. People always say Gryffindor because of the Harry Potter books, but I don’t think I would call them the Gryffindors though. So Flight club I guess. I don’t know, I guess I better think of something.

GRYFFIN
GRYFFIN

Photo Courtesy of http://www.windishagency.com/artists/gryffin

  1. Any last words?

 

For anyone that’s listened to my music or is going to listen to it, I just want to let you know that I appreciate it. I appreciate you listening to it and hope that you like it and connect to it on some sort of level and that music is my passion, it’s what I love to do, and being able to share it with people makes me the happiest guy.

 

Writers: Prashain and Maxine Tan

Editor: Christy Heah

Radio Heatwave
Radio Heatwave is Singapore's first campus radio station, with well-known alumni such as Jean Danker, Vernetta Lopez, Justin Ang, Sonia Chew and many more. We are a youth-led campus radio station, which aims to provide Ngee Ann Polytechnic students with great music and programmes from Mondays to Fridays, 9am to 6pm. With a state-of-the-art LIVE radio studio similar to MediaCorp's, our listeners (17 - 25 years old) can tune in to our station through our school’s intranet or down at the Atrium, a popular campus hang-out site.
http://www.radioheatwave.com

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