Okay guys, so I feel like this band is going to be big. I’m not a professional music critic or anything, but I just have a feeling about these dudes.
Grizfolk is a Los Angeles-based band, but they actually hail from around the Unites States and Sweden. Adam Roth the lead singer/guitarist is from Florida, drummer Bill Delia is from Pennsylvania, Sebastian Fritze, who plays synth/keys and guitarist Fredrik Eriksson are both from Sweden and bassist Brendan Willing James is the lone L.A. native. Sebastian and Fredrik had an electro-pop background and Adam had an Americana background- they started making music and the two backgrounds naturally formed together. Some call it “folktronic.”
Their EP From the Spark was just released at the end of February and they have a song ‘Way Back When’ on the Mr. Peabody & Sherman soundtrack. I actually included their single ‘The Struggle’ on my One Tree Hill birthday playlist back in September! With songs like these, I can definitely see Grizfolk joining the ranks with groups like The Lumineers, Bastille, 1975, Imagine Dragons, and American Authors on pop/hits radio.
I had a chance to interview the guys of Grizfolk before their Mercury Lounge show in NYC. The venue is pretty small, so we had to travel down to the basement/boiler room to have the interview. (Definitely my most interesting/weirdest interview setting.) We found a spot where the boiler didn’t rev.
Let’s just jump right in! EP just came out, you guys excited?
Adam: Super excited! Been a long time coming. The EP came out and we’re actually finishing the full length right now. It’s almost done.
Awesome! I read that you all write the songs together?
Adam: There are certain songs that we’ve all written together..yes. It just depends on the song. It started off as me and Fredrik just writing a bunch of stuff and then all of a sudden we found Sebastian and starting writing together. We’ve all been in bands together and stuff.
What inspires you when you write?
Adam: Everything. We live in California. You know, it’s a beautiful place, so the desert, the mountains, the ocean..
Sebastian: The beach! The surf!
Bill: The journeys.
Adam: Yeah, we try to not write about love as much and if we do, it’s more like the song ‘Vagabonds’, which is kind of a love story, but it’s more like they’re just kinda figuring out their way through life and being happy with nothing. You know, and comfortable with nothing. So it’s not really a song about love – it’s more like a song about two lovers making their way through.
Speaking of ‘Vagabonds’, The Vagabond Diaries video series that you guys have started is pretty cool. Who thought of that idea?
Adam: I think it was our buddy Rob, who comes out on the road with us. He’s coming to Europe with us. Really great dude and he’s an artist in every sense of the word. He’s part of the team and he’s always thinking forward. He thought of the idea.
It’s a great idea. I feel like all bands should have something like that. Just to show your fans what’s going on. And it’s also great for you guys to look back on and see where you’ve been.
Grizfolk: Yeah, definitely.
It’s awesome. It is like a diary – instead of writing it down, you have pieces of your journey captured on video.
Sebastian: Yeah, we’re really happy that he’s there and filming it and everything. Filming every. Little. Thing.
Every little thing? Wait, is he over here? filming this?
Just kidding. So if someone hasn’t listened to your band before, which song would you tell him/her to listen to?
Sebastian: I’d probably say ‘The Struggle.’
Adam: Yeah, ‘The Struggle’ seems to be the one that has opened up a lot of opportunities for us and I think it’s one that separates itself from the rest of the EP because it’s hard to really define what it is. But when you hear it, it’s like Okay, that’s Grizfolk. So I think it’s a good introduction to the sound of the band and stuff like that.
Billy: Yeah, it really touches on everything. It has some electro stuff and has some of the Americana lyric content and acoustic guitar. I think it’s a great intro. The perfect thing to say, “This is us.”
Adam: Oh yeah! We’re huge fans of Zooey. I actually wasn’t sure if she was going to be here because I brought a ring. [laughs]
Sebastian: So did I!
Oh, you all brought rings?
Grizfolk: Yeah, yeah we all brought rings. Dang it!
Billy: She wants five husbands..right?
Maybe. I mean, you guys all seem nice.
Sebastian: That’s like the other way of the Mormons.
Billy: Yeah, we’ll just reverse Mormon.
Fredrick: I’m probably the biggest fan though. I’ve watched all the episodes of New Girl.
[laughs] Well, I figured that was a fake dream tour…
Adam: No, we were actually serious.
No, I know you think Zooey is awesome, but for real..who would you want to tour with?
Billy: We love Justin Vernon and all the projects he does – Bon Iver, The Shouting Matches, Volcano Choir.. any of those incarnations I feel like would be awesome to team up with.
Grizfolk: She and Him. The Foo Fighters..for sure. Kings of Leon.
Sebastian: The Killers. There’s a lot of bands that we would like to roll with.
Awesome! Hmm favorite music movie? Like my favorite is That Thing You Do.
Grizfolk: The Last Waltz!
Brendan: Spinal Tap
Billy: Is Wayne’s World a music movie?
Adam: Yeah! We love Wayne’s World, so that would probably be number one. Oh, The Song Remains the Same!
Billy: There’s one underrated called The Rocker with Rainn Wilson from The Office. It’s sort of a cute like whatever movie, but it’s really well done. It was funny.
Oh yeah, I need to see it! How’s touring with Bastille?
Adam: It’s amazing. The shows are like huge and sold out and we’re super blessed to even be on the tour you know. It’s been an awesome opportunity for us.
Yeah, I feel like you guys fit well together.
Sebastian: I think we both bring a lot of energy when it comes to live shows and their fans expect that. When we open for Bastille, they expect it and we give it to them and it’s just a mutual connection. When Bastille goes on they go CRAZY, so it’s fun to hype them up a little bit.
Any funny tour stories?
Sebastian: One story is that we almost died..it’s not that funny. We were laughing after.
Billy: If you consider it laughing in the face of death, then it’s funny. We almost got crushed by a tanker truck up near Portland. Not even kidding. There was an accident on the freeway and we stopped and the tanker truck behind us didn’t. It was raining. It was 1AM. It probably missed us by about 6 inches going about 70mph. It was pretty gnarly.
So scary! Well, I’m glad you guys survived.
Sebastian: We are too. That was our first tour.
Billy: It was kind of a sign that we were on the right path.
You guys are definitely on the right path. Hmm I think that’s it. Looking forward to hearing you guys perform!
Grizfolk: Thanks for interviewing us!
Afterwards, I gave them all hugs and we traveled back upstairs. I talked to Sebastian and Fredrik some more about city life, Sweden, surfing, and HelloGiggles. Fredrik and his girlfriend read HelloGiggles and are big fans, so that’s pretty awesome! (Hey, Fredrik’s girlfriend!)
It was time for their set, so I went to the stage area. They started with ‘Waiting For You.’ I know I really like a band if I get the chills when I hear them perform live for the first time. Their entire set was great. It’s awesome seeing bands perfom at the Mercury Lounge because it’s such an intimate setting. I actually saw one of fun.’s first headlining shows there! It’s a place where big things start, so I think we’ll be hearing a lot more from the guys of Grizfolk.
If you’re a ‘Vagabond’ singing ‘Hymnals’ to get through ‘The Struggle’ called life, go check out Grizfolk on tour..they’ll be ‘Waiting For You.’ (Yeah, I just put all their EP songs into one sentence. That happened.) But for real, check out their From the Spark EP, catch them on tour, and say hi if you see them because they’re super chill guys.