Grizfolk Talks Giants And Troublemakers

Grizfolk - Best-New-Bands

Chicago – Earlier this month L.A. based electro folk-pop band Grizfolk released their highly anticipated debut album Waking Up the Giants, via Virgin Records. The band formed in 2012 when Swedish producers Fredrik Eriksson (guitar) & Sebastian Fritze (synthesizer, backing vocals) teamed up with guitarist and vocalist Adam Roth. Later bassist Brendan James and drummer Bill Delia joined the band, making for an unstoppable five-piece, who started to turn heads with the fantastic single “Vagabonds.” Back in 2014, Best New Bands chatted with Sebastian Fritze, when the band released the EP From The Spark, which beautifully mixed alternative, pop, and folk. In the interview, Fritze said the band’s captivating sound is influenced from their “different musical backgrounds” and the fact they are literally vagabonds: “We are constantly on the road and draw a lot of inspiration from the places we visit and the people we meet. We usually picture a landscape and imagine what that place would sound like and what story would fit in that environment.”

Indeed, the band seems to always be traveling through the U.S. or making their way across Europe. Grizfolk recently kicked off the Troublemaker Tour, hitting the road with Max Frost. Before partaking in a soundcheck, Fritze took some time to talk with Best New Bands, yet again. We discussed the making of Waking Up the Giants, getting wild on tour, and The Little Mermaid.

First of all, congrats on the release of your debut album Waking Up the Giants. It’s been a long time coming. I bet you’re all happy to finally have it out for fans to hear. You’d been working on the album since 2014, correct? 

Yeah, pretty much. Actually, we started in 2013!

Wow, that’s a long time! What was the recording process like?

It was weird, crazy. It was a mixture of Adam, Fredrik, and I sitting in our living room, messing around, writing songs, and then also being in big studios, where really big artists have recorded. It’s been two different worlds. It’s what you think a major label type of recording process would be like, and then also an indie version of that, as well.

A little bit of both worlds. 

Exactly! We did a lot of writing on the road because we’ve been touring since we started writing songs [for Waking Up the Giants]. We went on tour with a guy named Andrew Belle. It was a short tour, on the West Coast, and then after that, we just kept on touring. We’d been writing songs on the road and when we’d get the chance, we’d get in a studio, or when we’d have time off at home, we’d record.

The album title comes from a song title of the same name. What is this song alluding to?

We had most of the songs done, and then we had some extra time to get in a couple more songs. “Waking Up the Giants” was one of them, and the meaning behind it, well it has a couple different meanings. To me, it’s joining forces with people that I met four years ago. Everyone comes from different world. We all met in Los Angeles and joined forces, in a way, bringing out the best in each individual. We put it all together, for one sound… that to me is giant!

I love “Bohemian Bird.” Who wrote this song? I feel there was definitely a muse behind this song. Who or what was the inspirational muse?

We all wrote the song in Santa Monica, in the studio we were working in, at the time. We were inspired by, um when I think back, there was this festival in Sweden called Way Out West. They had this beautiful poster that had a background of different feathers. It was a beautiful art piece. Also, it was raining outside, I remember. It rarely ever rained, so we were like, “Okay, we’re going to write this song that takes place on a rainy day.”

Talk to me about “Troublemaker.” What inspired this song?

The road. We wrote it in a basement in New York… Adam had this song that lyrically talked about how hard it can be to have someone back home that you want to dedicate your life to, but you’re worried about being out on the road. The song is abut two lives that you have to live when you’re on the road. You struggle to have your personal life back home and also dedicating so much time to your work on the road, traveling. Is that person back home going to wait for you to come home?

I simply must ask, who is the troublemaker of the band?

[laughs] Mister Brendan Willing James!

And is there a practical joker amongst you guys?

They’d maybe say it was me, but I’ll say Adam is the joker.

What would you say has been the best tour prank?

Well, we ran out half naked at a show. [chuckles]

That’s hilarious! In another interview you did, you said as a kid you had a crush on Kelly McGillis’ character in Top Gun. That made me laugh because I had a crush on Tom Cruise when I was younger thanks to that very movie, and I especially loved the soundtracks from his movies. I had – still have – the soundtrack to Cocktail on cassette tape. It was one of my favorite soundtracks back in the day. I’m wondering if you had a favorite soundtrack as a kid?

I thought The Little Mermaid had a great soundtrack. [laughs]


Grizfolk is now touring North America. Let the band be “Part of Your World” by seeing a live performance. A full list of tour dates for the Troublemaker Tour can be found on the Grizfolk Facebook page. Waking Up the Giants is available for purchase on iTunes.

Photo credit: Gregory Nolan

Sarah Hess

Sarah Hess

At the age of six, Sarah Hess discovered True Blue by Madonna. This resulted in her spending hours in front of the bathroom mirror with a hairbrush microphone, belting out "La Isla Bonita" off key. Her love for music only intensified over the years thanks to her parents; her mother exposed Sarah to The Jackson Five and had her hustling to the Bee Gees, while her father would play her albums like 'Pet Sounds' and 'Some Girls' from start to finish, during which he'd lecture on and on about the history of rock & roll. Sarah would eventually stumble upon rap and hip-hop, then punk and alternative, and fall madly in love with Jeff Buckley and film photography.

After attending The School of the Art Institute in Chicago, Sarah went on to study education at Dominican University, earning a degree in history. When not teaching, writing, or taking in a show, she is most likely to be found with a camera to her eye or hanging out in a darkroom.

You can follow Sarah Hess on twitter at @Sarahhasanh and view her music photography on her website:
Sarah Hess

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