In preparation for The Griswolds gracing our fair city with their presence on 10th January, I have had a quick interview with Chris Riley – drummer.
All of The Griswolds’ songs conjure thoughts of road trips and singlets, pool parties and ice cream.
After hearing about their little shenanigan of leaving the studio they shot their video clip for ‘Heart of a Lion’ a complete mess and being banned, I had a preconception that these guys were a bunch of young, disrespectful kids who were only out for a good time but Chris’s thoughtful and sometimes unexpected answers suggest they are serious about their music as well as having fun.
Seems like it’s been a whirlwind for you since you guys formed in February 2012. What’s you’re secret to coming up so fast?
there’s a whole heap of luck involved, you never know what people are going to hate or when people are going to hear a song and make it go viral. I think we’re lucky that the timing worked out, who knows, maybe a couple of months later or earlier it would’ve been different? Whether luck is involved or not though, bands have to work every day at this. Dan and I work on band stuff like its a full time job, that passion and commitment made people wanna get on board and help us. Eventually we were surrounded by this amazing team of people that have helped bring this all together.
All your songs make great summer anthems. (One blog suggested your single ‘mississippi’ “should be on the commercial for a water park”) What do you guys love about summer?
Beer, vitamin D, inappropriate blow up toys at the beach, song writing on our balcony in the afternoon, tequila nights, midnight skinny dips , house parties, ice cream, family
The Griswolds as a group are starting to make quite a name for themselves but it’s hard to find info on the members that make it up. Can I get an introduction from each of you, who you are and how you all met?
Whitehall – vox/guitars/percussion
Dan Duque-Perez – guitars/vox
Christopher Riley – drums/vox
Robbie Balatincz – synth/samples/percussion/
Tim John – Bass/Vox/Guitar
Dan and I have known each other forevz, we’ve played in about 100 bands between us. We got so sick of playing in bands we didn’t love with people we didn’t love and after a drunk discussion one night, the Griswolds had a starting point. Dan showed me one lil’ 30 second riff he’d been working on and just like that we had decided on the sound of the band – carefree, summer party tunes (with a hip hop blend, coz we love Kanye more than anything). The other guys in the band are all long time friends that also had their own bands, but we’d all worked together before in some way, shape or form. They were the obvious choice for band members, we love each other like family. few months later we had our first gig booked:)
You’re video clips and websites have a distinct ‘arty’ feel and on your Triple J unearthed profile, you list Van Gough, Picasso and Salvador Dali as things that you ‘sound like’. What’s with that? Are you artists as well as musicians or is it just the image you like to channel into your music?
none of us are officially artists as much as we enjoy painting/drawing or whatever, although i’m sure Robbie is secretly brilliant at painting as he is everything else. We love creativity in any form, i think that comes out in our music, websites, film clips etc.
I hear you’re song ‘Heart of a Lion’ was played in over 20 countries. What country do you want to go on tour to first?
i think we’d just be beside ourselves to be on tour in different country, it’s not anything that any of us have ever experienced so far. There is currently a European tour on the cards and none of us really know what to expect, but we don’t care because the excitement of touring Europe is so overwhelming! So it’s looking like we’ll be going to the Netherlands first!
Let’s talk influences. But hey, to make things a bit more interesting, tell me one person dead or alive you’d like to speak to for inspiration and why
Dan and i are heavily influenced by hip hop and electronic music, i think eventually our music will head in a quite experimental pop kinda direction with BIG beats! I think i’d want to talk to the Dalai Lama or someone of the like, i’m not the wisest person in the world, far from in fact but someone like the Dalai Lama could make me see alot of beautiful things in a way i hadn’t seen before and i know i’d enjoy that.
Looks like there’s no stopping The Griswolds now, their sights now set on getting ‘Heart of a Lion’ into Triple J’s hottest 100. Will they make it? I guess we’ll all find out on the 26th!
There are still tickets available for the Django Django gig where they’ll be supporting so get to it! These kind of songs are just made to be heard live.