“It’s very automatic for us now. In the last 90 days, we have had six days off. We don’t get a rest. We come home and then have three days off and then we will be back into rehearsals getting ready for the Australian tour. I’m not looking forward to a break. In this crazy time I want to be in it as much as we can possibly be in it when it’s going well.”
The Griswolds’ Be Impressive national tour stops by Amplifier on Saturday, October 18. GRAHAM BLACKLEY reports.
While we’ve been hearing The Griswolds on repeat over the radio for the last few months, they’ve been busy on the road in the US.
“The US tour has been nuts. It’s been very unexpected for us. It’s just been crazy. I think for the last month every show we have played every night has been sold out,” says guitarist, Daniel Duque-Perez, calling down the ‘line from a McDonalds during the band’s intense and fruitful tour.
“Last night was pretty nuts. We had probably about a 100 people rush the stage in our last song which was insane. Half of our gear got trashed. I had to pick my laptop up off the ground and my poor pedal board got annihilated. Amps got knocked over and all kinds of shit.”
This talented Aussie combo have certainly been kicking some serious goals in the massive and often impenetrable US market. Their catchy single, Beware The Dog, has made it into the US Top 20 alternative radio charts and the band performed a live set on LA’s famous radio station, KROQ. The band is also managing to shift plenty of merchandise. “US people buy more merch (than Aussie audiences),” laughs Duque-Perez, “But I think that’s because we’re doing a lot of regional shows where I guess people don’t get that much live music through so they are going crazy for it.”
The band has invested a phenomenal amount of energy into the US tour. “We have played about 80 shows in the last 90 days so we are definitely gig fit,” says Duque-Perez. “It’s very automatic for us now. In the last 90 days, we have had six days off. We don’t get a rest. We come home and then have three days off and then we will be back into rehearsals getting ready for the Australian tour. I’m not looking forward to a break. In this crazy time I want to be in it as much as we can possibly be in it when it’s going well.”
In addition to inspiring stage invasions, mounting assaults on the charts and clocking up the touring miles, The Griswolds have pumped out striking and memorable videos that are attracting plenty of attention. The hilariously over-the-top gore-splattered video for Beware The Dog has, for instance, been viewed over 150,000 times on YouTube.
“We wanted to make something that was different,” explains Duque-Perez, “We just wanted to do something that was really weird. We had a really big budget for the music video. Chris (Riley, drums) and I are massive horror movie fans. We wanted to make something that was pretty out there; something that would definitely jar people when they saw it, whether they loved it or hated it, at least they would remember it. The dog and the girl are a representation in an abstract way of what the lyrical content is.”
On their debut album, Be Impressive, The Griswolds showcase a sparkling sound that encompasses a decidedly electronic vibe. Comparing the album to the Heart Of A Lion EP, Duque-Perez says Be Impressive has “still got a lot of polyrhythms but with this record we sort of wanted to do something that was a little more kind of electronic. The drumming is more hip hop inspired.
“A lot of the reviews we are getting here in America are describing our sound as an indie version of Drake which is kind of interesting. Chris (Whitehall, vocals/guitar) and I really wanted to experiment and break out from what we were doing. We were starting to get to the point where we were sort of sick of the direction that we were heading in. We wanted to make something that would stand up on the international market.”
Despite the band’s ability to embrace high-tech sounds, they’re also adept at stripping their music back to the bare essentials. The unplugged version of Beware The Dog, which appeared on a Last.fm session, is a melodic treat.
“I think it’s one of the fundamentals on every song we write. If it doesn’t sound good with just a guitar and a vocal then it’s probably not much of a song. Before we send the demos to anyone we make sure that we can just grab an acoustic guitar and play it and make sure it stands on its own as a melody.”
With an Australian tour imminent, Duque-Perez explains what the audience can expect from The Griswolds’ live performance. “We are going to be playing the full record. It’s going to be really fun. It’s going to be a bit of a dance party. There will be a bit of a laser light show. We are going to have some great support bands which we will be announcing soon coming out on the road with us. We haven’t played more than half the songs on the record yet so that’s why we are going home and spending time in rehearsals. People can expect to see us being really happy playing a bunch of songs we are playing for the first time.”