Gryffin details ‘Gravity, Pt. 2,’ securing Carly Rae Jepsen for ‘OMG,’ and reinstating his remix roots
In just a handful of years, San Francisco native Gryffin has asserted himself into headliner-status prestige, aside some of dance music’s most critically acclaimed acts. To formally discover himself atop the electronic apex, Gryffin shaped out a formerly untrodden pathway early on in his career by establishing an exhaustive record of hungrily streamed indie SoundCloud-hosted reworks, for Grammy-associated talents such as Ellie Goulding, Tove Lo and the late Whitney Houston. After formally anchoring down with a batch of original productions, including his debut release “Heading Home” in addition to “Whole Heart” featuring Bipolar Sunshine, Gryffin was properly equipped to roll out the first segment of his freshman effort, Gravity beginning in late 2017.
Meticulously stamped with Gryffin’s rhapsodic acoustic arrangements, Gravity, Pt. 1 surfaced nearly one year thereafter, having spawned six imaginative productions including “Nobody Compares to You,” “Remember,” “Just For A Moment,” and perhaps Gryffin’s most famed original thus far, “Tie Me Down.” After a mild interlude following the album series’ first arm of releases, the producer sought to conclude what he started with another scattering of singles during 2019’s first half. Four tracks have been credited to Gryffin’s name since the year commenced, including numerous high-profile collaborations alongside Slander, Aloe Blacc, and most recently, Carly Rae Jepsen. Surprisingly enough, the fourth output from Gryffin in 2019 was something that his core audience had been longing for as he re-entered the aural avenue that helped jump-start his career with an official remix for Shawn Mendes’ hit single, “If I Can’t Have You” this past July.
As Gryffin set his eyes on the premiere of “OMG” just days before he was bound to appear at Chicago’s Lollapalooza, he noted to his fans that the album was still slated for an early fall release, though he was still fine-tuning the project’s final tracklist. During the Saturday afternoon preceding Gryffin’s sensational GRAVITY LIVE spectacle during Lollapalooza Perry’s Stage sunset slot, Dancing Astronaut took the chance to down with him to learn more about his plans for Gravity, Pt. 2, readying its coinciding GRAVITY II LIVE show at The Brooklyn Mirage, honoring Avicii alongside Aloe Blacc at Coachella, and more.
During your Coachella set this past April, you treated fans to not just one, but two unreleased originals, including an early version of your Carly Rae Jepsen collaboration, which is officially out now. How did “OMG” actually come together?
I basically had been working on that one for a while and the end of last year was when I really started finishing it. Ali Tamposi was the vocalist. She’s an incredible writer along with Andrew Wyatt, who are a lethal team that’s made so many smashes together. She was an amazing part of the song and she wrote an amazing record so once I finished the production on it, I was just sitting on it for a while. I was just trying to figure out what was missing in terms of who could cut it and some of the production elements weren’t quite there. I then played it at Coachella and as a Hail Mary. I messaged Carly’s team and said “You know what would be sick for this record is if Carly Rae Jepsen sung it.” Through some channels we got to her management and they were like “Hey so we actually really do like it and we’re going to play it for her. She’s super selective on this stuff.” Within the next day, they said that Carly loved it and wanted to cut it next week in LA. The next week I met her in the studio for the first time and we were cutting it and within the first five minutes of her singing the hook, I just had crazy chills. It felt really strong and I was so excited about it so it took me a couple weeks to finish it all up.
Towards the end of 2018, you released the former half of your debut album, Gravity and now you’re officially three singles deep for the latter portion of it with “All You Need To Know,” “Hurt People,” and now “OMG.” What can we expect from the remainder of the project and can you disclose any other collaborations you have in the works?
I’m basically finishing it up right now but I honestly can’t say anything about who’s on it. There’s some big things coming though and I’m trying to put it out in September because my tour starts in October. It’s just a matter of how fast I can finish up these records in the next few weeks.
This is set to be your first Lollapalooza appearance since 2017 and it wasn’t explicitly labeled on the lineup poster, so are we experiencing a ‘GRAVITY LIVE’ show or a Gryffin DJ set? Either way, what do you have in store for it? Any surprises we can prepare for?
So it’s going to be the live Gravity show. I’m going to have Quinn XCII for an edit of “Winnebago” and Elley Duhé is coming out for “Tie Me Down” so I’m really excited for that. For these multi-genre festivals, I try to always do it live and even though I’m on the Perry’s Stage, I felt it’s a better representation of my music.
Earlier this summer, you re-entered the remix game with your very first since 2017 with a spin of Shawn Mendes’ “If I Can’t Have You.” What was the driving force behind the decision to release another remix and do you have a particular preference between doing those versus creating original music?
Nowadays I’m definitely a lot more focused on my originals with the album. I always like to do a remix because it’s fun and that’s how everything got started for me anyway… but I just haven’t prioritized it for a while. Shawn hit me up, asked me to remix it and we were communicating back and forth on feedback. It was a cool process working with him that closely and I just felt like it was a cool opportunity because I really liked the original. I immediately had an idea of what I wanted to do with it so it just worked out that way and I’m going to do remixes again for sure but right now it’s just total album mode.
Throughout the length of your career, you’ve obviously worked alongside a list of some impressive names. If you could narrow it down to just one, who was your favorite artist you’ve worked with?
That’s so tough because they’re all so different and awesome in their own ways. For a producer collab, working with Illenium was really cool because we just vibe on a personal level really well. We’re both from the Bay Area and we’re both chill people so it was a really fun process working on that record. On the vocal side, probably one of my best friends out of all them was Bipolar Sunshine. He’s one of my favorite human beings and he’s one of the coolest dudes ever. The Carly track was honestly really cool too because I had never really worked with an artist that was that big in the pop level so that was a cool experience. Even working with Aloe Blacc too.
That Avicii tribute at Coachella on the first anniversary of his passing was seriously nothing short of unbelievable...
Thanks man and it was Aloe’s idea too. I didn’t even put that on him at all. We were just planning to do “Hurt People” and he said to me “Hey, what do you think about this tribute?” So he was the one who pitched the idea and I had thought of it but I definitely wasn’t going to make Aloe do that. If he wanted to do it, I was down.
If you could pick just one release that you’re most proud of between all of your remixes, originals and collaborations, which would it be?
My personal favorite is “Nobody Compares To You.” That’s one of my favorite tracks that I’ve ever done because that was just a really meaningful record to me personally and I was really proud of that production. On the songwriter side, “Feel Good” and “Whole Heart” were both really fun to do. Honestly some of these upcoming ones too are big ones for me so I just really feel fortunate because lately I’ve been able to work with a lot of really cool artists on both the production side and singer/songwriter side so it’s been a good ride and I’m excited for the new music.
You’re set to premiere the official first performance of your GRAVITY II LIVE show at The Brooklyn Mirage just a couple of weeks following Lollapalooza. What do you have in store that we may not be able to experience here in Chicago?
It’s basically going to be the most Gravity II show of the tour. I’m not going to play the full album because it won’t be out by then but I am going to sneak in three or four new records that people haven’t heard yet so I’m really hyped about that. I haven’t even been able to go there yet but my team wanted me to play there so I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve got a lot a prep to do before then but everyone tells me that it’s the spot to watch music in the summer.
Featured image: Lollapalooza