Getting “Grizfolked” with Grizfolk
You won’t find the word “grizfolk” anywhere in a dictionary, and that’s a good thing. The Los Angeles-based quintet sounds like few other bands out there. Americana meets electro-pop, Grizfolk is a product of its influences. Founded by lead singer Adam Roth and his two Swedish friends (Fritze and Eriksson), Grizfolk is on the cutting edge. The band is made up lead singer Adam Roth, Sebastian Fritze, Fredrik Eriksson, Bill Delia, and Brendan Willing James.
OUT OF ORDER got to chat with the band before their performance at New York’s Mercury Lounge in a hallway below the stage. Surrounded by empty beer crates, exposed brick, and odd tchotchkes, Grizfolk opened up on their inspiration, “The Struggle,” and their love for Keanu Reeves. Now on tour with Bastille in Europe, their debut album is set for a late summer release.
OOO: Who would you say your biggest role model in the music industry is right now?
Adam Roth: Definitely Justin Vernon. I think we can all agree on that. Everything from Bon Iver to Volcano Choir. He never stops. You don’t know what he’s working on right now and then all of a sudden he pops up with the most amazing project you’ve ever heard of. And then you see him live, and you are like blown away. And he has soul and he’s a super talented producer.
Sebastian Fritze: And he’s not afraid of just trying new stuff out. Pushing the limits.
Bill Delia: It’s all different. But it’s all extremely genuine at the same time, I think.
OOO: Is that your dream collaboration?
Grizfolk: Yes, please!
BD: Maybe Dave Grohl.
AR: Dave Grohl. They are both up there. You can’t really say who’s number one and number two. Dave Grohl and Justin Vernon. They share the spotlight for number one.
OOO: What’s your favorite type of audience to play for? What’s the best concert experience you’ve had?
AR: Detroit. Detroit, yeah, the cities that are hard to get to. You know the places that maybe a lot of bands don’t really always go to are usually the funnest shows and the most energetic. Maybe people are sweating a little more. But we make every show fun. Actually, we played Pianos last time we were in New York. And it was a tiny room but for some reason that was the best show of the whole tour.
Fredrik Eriksson: We like to play all age venues, so where everybody can come, young, old everyone can come.
BD: Energy is key, crowds that are maybe not sitting there with their arms folded that are into it and having fun.
AR: The ones that are paying attention to what you are saying, and listening to the lyrics.
OOO: When will you known you’ve made it?
Grizfolk: When we’ve had a vacation!
OOO: Where’s the vacation?
SF: A remote island off of Fiji called Umpalikiliki?
OOO: You know when people say, “Oh that was such a so-and-so move. What would it mean if someone said, “Oh last night I pulled such a Grizfolk?”
AR: Oh. It would probably mean you didn’t sleep…
SF: Probably partied a little too hard…
Brendan Willing James: But you still made it there on time…
SF: You still crushed it.
BWJ: You’re worn yet punctual.
OOO: You’re worn yet punctual. That’s a great tag line “Grizfolk: Worn Yet Punctual.” That’s on the next album for sure.
SF: Definitely didn’t avoid fun.
AR: That’s our motto. We can’t avoid fun. So if you “Grizfolked”, you definitely had a blast. It’s definitely becoming something of a problem.
OOO: How do you define problem, you know?
AR: It’s all relative.
OOO: What music would you be embarrassed if people knew you listened to it? What’s your guilty pleasure? What has way more plays on your iTunes than it should?
FE: I’m going to say Taylor Swift.
SF: I would actually — I’m going to back you up on that.
AR: Every now and then I’ll listen to a little Kenny Chesney. I kind of would say Aerosmith, because no one that I know really listens to Aerosmith anymore. I like to head-bang to anything on the Get a Grip album.
SF: I got the most like, you know, bad feedback from Smash Mouth.
OOO: What would you be doing if you weren’t musicians? And what did you want to be when you grew up?
SF: I wanted to be an architect.
BWJ: Yeah. So did I. We would have been an architectural team. Fritze and James.
AR: I wanted to be a landscape architect. Basically I wanted to build like Edward Scissorhands. Build giant dinosaur hedges. I always thought it would be cool. Cause I love art, you know and sometimes I paint and do stuff like that. I always thought it would be cool to do that weird kind of art that disappears, like ice sculpting. You know, like, build a giant swan of ice.
OOO: How old were you when you had these dreams?
AR: It was when I was trying to make it in the music industry and nothing was working out. It was like, I talked to my dad and thought, “I’ll be an architect.”
OOO: What would you say in your career is the moment that you’ve been most afraid?
AR: For me it was like, when I was working on things in the music industry. The music industry has this weird way of doing things, like the check’s always in the mail and at some point it is kind of scary, because you’re working on a million different things and the checks are never showing up. It’s like, “Is this always going to be the way it is?” That’s kind of like the scariest part.
BWJ: Like stepping out and like doing music like full time. That was the scary moment for me for sure. I decided like I am going to make it work this way. And like it didn’t work that way for a long time so it’s scary but invigorating too.
BD: Dropping out of college is also really scary.
OOO: So was there ever a moment where you almost gave up?
Grizfolk: Oh yeah, a lot of moments. A lot of times. Absolutely.
AR: I was about to move back to Florida. I was thinking about it really hard, or Nashville or something. Yeah, and then I figured things out with Grizfolk.
SF: Yeah, I actually told Fredrik, we had this discussion, “If this doesn’t work then I don’t know what I’m going to do. I have to like give up a dream or something and find something else to do.” That’s what my mindset was. I told Fredrik, “This has to be my career right now.”
BD: You have to like completely and totally love music to do it full time. You have to genuinely love it because you’re going to get a ton of obstacles in your way.
AR: And you have to love the struggle. You know, like we love the struggle. No pun intended. It’s true, we actually live for it. You have to live to work. If it’s not a struggle, then we’re not interested. It’s been really rough, really hard. It’s probably going to be that way for the next 5 years, 10 years, I don’t know. I think in all of us, that’s what we all kind of share in common. You know that’s how we’re all kind of born and bred to want the struggle. The hustle. If it’s too easy, I don’t want it.
BD: You have to kind of find some joy in the ride. You have to be able to enjoy yourself.
OOO: If Grizfolk were to right now disband and you have to choose your replacements, who would they be?
AR: I would pick Justin Vernon, next.
SF: I’ll pick Keanu Reeves.
FE: I’d pick Kurt Cobain but, I don’t know, but he’s gone.
BWJ: I’d probably pick Les Claypool. Just change it up.
BD: I’d pick Dave Grohl, he’s one of my favorite drummers.
SF: I’d actually put Keanu Reeves in your seat too.
OOO: Just a band of five Keanu’s. That would be really cool. That would literally just be The Matrix.
AR: Hang on. That’s pretty cool. Five Keanu Reeves’s!!
BWJ: Someone get Keanu Reeves on the phone!
OOO: Get his cell!
AR: Five Keanu Reeves’s in our next music video!
SF: He’d probably do it too. You heard it here first.