The Griswolds Reveal Chatroulette Beginnings, Favorite Aussie Sounds + More
With tons of touring and a slew of positive reviews for their debut LP, 'Be Impressive,' the Griswolds have been on a constant high enjoying the fruits of their labor this year.
The Sydney-based pop-rock outfit traveled to New York and Los Angeles to write and record what would turn into their first album via Wind-Up Records. With so many bands coming from Down Under and trying to make it in the U.S., the band's carefree attitude and energetic, fun style has captured fans on this side of the world -- so much so that many have wondered when the Griswolds would get the chance to play live on North American soil.
Diffuser had a chance to talk to singer and guitarist Chris Whitehall about the recording of the new album, Aussie music and how Chatroulette help start the Griswolds.
How did the band get together?
I met Dan [Duque-Perez] on Chatroulette one night. He was nude and playing guitar. It immediately intrigued me, and we met up and started songwriting straight away. We then recruited two of our favorite dudes, Lach [lan West] and Timbo [John] to complete the band lineup and wrote a bunch more songs.
Is there a story behind the band name?
We were drunk one night discussing '80s culture and what we should call our band. We were actually going to go with Weekend at Bernies or the Chevy Chasers, but we had band members threaten to quit on the spot if we were called that so we went with the Griswolds.
How did Sydney influence your music?
I don't really know actually. Most of our songs have been written in either New York or a beach house two hours north of Sydney.
Australian artists are slowly making their way to the U.S. Who are some Aussie bands and artists who are on your radar right now that you think we should be listening to?
Gang of Youths, DMAs, Delta Riggs, the Preatures and Violent Soho.
According to your website, you wrote the songs for 'Be Impressive' in New York City and recorded in LA. What were both experiences like?
Writing in New York was amazing. We had this great studio right in the middle of Times Square. It was the middle of winter, too. So it was actually quite motivating to just stay inside and write songs. Plenty of inspiration in New York City, too. So the creativity was really flowing. Then, recording in Los Angeles was [the] polar opposite. It was really hot and sunny. We had the best time recording our album. Tony Hoffer, the producer, was the best dude to work with. It felt like we all just sat there for six weeks having the time of our lives [and] somehow we recorded an album as well.
What is 'Be Impressive' about?
It's about a lot of things. It's mostly about the band's journey over the past 18 months. We've spent a lot of time touring and partying and missing home and having amazing experiences all over the world. The album is mostly about that. The phrase, "Be impressive," came from a bit of a piss take. We're not calling ourselves impressive but more, everyone else was telling us to to be impressive. And we were like, "F--k it, lets just write songs that we like."
'Beware the Dog' has gotten a massive response and loads of listens. How did it feel when you found out about the positive response?
It was a huge relief to see that 'Beware the Dog' got a great response. So much work went into the album, and you never really know how it will get received. So it was pretty amazing when we saw the lead single climbing the radio charts and receiving millions of play from all over the globe. Felt really special.
What's a track on the album that you're most excited to play live?
I love playing 'Right On Track' and 'If You Wanna Stay.' Those two songs are just really easy to move to.
You recently finished touring and (according to Facebook) already miss it. What's the best part about being on the road?
Playing music to your fans is by far the best part, it's the payoff for me.
What is the venue you hope to play one day?
What's in your touring survival kit?
Acoustic guitars, a bottle of Fireball, board shorts [and] an air freshner.
What's next for the Griswolds in 2015?
We start the year with an Australian tour with the Kooks and Catfish and the Bottlemen, which we are really excited about. After that, there is a rumor in the works that we might be coming back to the states, but its just a rumor. [Winks] Other than that, we'll probably get started on album No. 2.
While Whitehall was trying to be coy during the interview, the Griswolds are actually coming to North America in the spring to tour with Walk the Moon. Check out the dates below to find out when they'll be coming to your town.
The Griswolds 2015 North American Tour
March 10: House of Blues San Diego - San Diego
March 13: House of Blues Anaheim - Anaheim, Calif.
March 16: The Catalyst - Santa Cruz, Calif.
March 17: Ace of Spades - Sacramento
March 19: Roseland Theatre - Portland, Ore.
March 20: Neptune Theatre - Seattle
March 22: Commodore Ballroom - Vancouver
March 25: Fillmore Auditorium - Denver
March 26: Granada Theatre - Lawrence, Kas.
March 27-28: First Ave - Minneapolis, Minn.
March 29: Orpheum - Madison, Wis.
March 31: Egyptian @ Murat Theatre - Indianapolis, Ind.
April 1: Bogart's - Cincinnati, Ohio
April 2: LC Pavillion Columbus, Ohio
April 3: House of Blues Cleveland - Cleveland
April 4: House of Blues Chicago - Chicago
April 7: St. Andrew Hall - Detroit
April 8: Phoenix Concert Theater - Toronto
April 9: Lupo's - Providence, R.I.
April 10: Asylum - Portland, Maine
April 11: House of Blues Boston - Boston
April 14: Terminal 5 - New York City
April 16: 9:30 Club - Washington, D.C.
April 20: Mercury Ballroom - Louisville, Ky.
April 21: Orange Peel - Asheville, N.C.
April 23: Cone Denim- Greensboro, N.C.
April 24: Marathon Music Works - Nashville
April 25: Tabernacle - Atlanta
April 26: State Theatre - Tampa, Fla.
April 27: Revolution Room - Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
April 29: House of Blues New Orleans - New Orleans
April 30: House of Blues Houston - Houston
May 1: House of Blues Dallas - Dallas
May 2: Stubb’s Amphitheater - Austin
May 4: Cain's Ballroom, Tulsa, Okla.
May 6: Sunshine Theatre - Albuquerque, N.M.
May 7: Rialto Theater - Tucson, Ariz.
May 8: Marquee Theater - Tempe, Ariz.
May 9: House of Blues Las Vegas - Las Vegas