New York native Gryffin delivered one helluva set at Billboard‘s Hot 100 Festival last week. He recently moved to Los Angeles to be closer to his label and management, and though he was only around the city for a day, it gave the producer a rare chance to catch up with friends and peers.
“I definitely find myself watching whatever live acts I can to see what’s working for them,” he says. It’s been almost a year now since he made the switch to live performances himself. “It’s fun for me to watch that now. I’m almost trying to teach myself what’s going on.”
It’s been a great switch so far, one Gryffin certainly finds both a challenge and a reward. The live sets are an offering of all Gryffin originals, but he recently began amping up his sets with special unreleased edits, vocal samples, and other unsuspecting surprises.
“That’s fun for a fan to see something different, and I’m trying to interact with the fans a little bit more to establish that connection,” he says. “I want to make sure I’m engaging with them, because I’m so busy playing the instruments at the same time. I want to still have that interaction with the fans while I’m juggling all these instruments.”
He’s not done with DJing by any means. The musician has actually been doing quite a few DJ sets around the country with Mad Decent Block Party or at other one-off events. The difference, he notes, is striking.
“When I do a DJ show, it’s more about the party, the energy and just having a really wild time,” he says. “But when [fans] see a live show, it’s not quite on that same level. There’s not as much raging or partying going on because they’re watching me. They’re watching what’s going on with the music and they’re listening to it more as opposed to just partying.”
His move has definitely been a benefit in the studio. New York is a musical mecca, but in Los Angeles, the opportunities for collaboration and experimentation are on a whole new level.
“It’s a mutual exchange … when there is availability, I pop over there, he or she pops over to my apartment,” Gryffin says. “I like the laid back nature. I think it’s better for creatives to just vibe together when we have free time instead of a structured, ‘We have to make a good song in four hours.’”
His latest single “Whole Heart” was produced in L.A and definitely carries a bit of that sunshine and fresh sea-air, musically speaking. It’s a track he was first introduced to as a rough, bare-bones demo from a writer in London. The lyrics tell the tale of a world gone awry and promises love is the answer. He was instantly moved by the song and started producing his own work around the idea. He tapped past collaborator Bipolar Sunshine to lay down the vocal work.
“It’s something that I’m very proud of showcasing as an artist at this stage in my career,” he says. “At this time almost in the world, I feel like its a really relevant song. It’s a different kind of tempo and production style for me, but I really feel like it’s a maturation of my sound and I think Adio (Marchant) sounds phenomenal on it.”
There’s a lot more to come from Gryffin. He’ll be joining more festivals. In two weeks, he’ll tour Asia for the first time. Before the year is up, he’ll announce his own fall tour and hopefully have a new EP out. For now, enjoy “Whole Heart” below.