Those who are familiar with electronic producer and saxophone player GRiZ know that he is adamant on releasing his music for free in every way possible. Just last week he dropped his fourth studio album Say It Loud, March 31st to rave reviews. As an ever-growing musician constantly challenging himself, he sought out to create an album with live instrumentation and original samples. He flew across the country to record horn sections in New York, a children’s choir in LA, as well as singers and musicians in all different states. His efforts didn’t go unnoticed and his album is a beautifully crafted fusion of funk, soul, R&B and sax with the modern sounds of driving electronic bass music.
Having only been out for a week the album is already getting massive amounts of support online. On Soundcloud alone his album collectively has amassed well over 3 million plays and was downloaded over 220,000 times on BitTorrent in the first forty-eight hours. What is truly remarkable though is that despite giving the album away for free in just about every way possible, people are gravitating to iTunes purchases to show love and spread love. In the week it’s been out it has already reached the #2 spot in album sales.
If you haven’t heard the album yet we urge you drop everything and vibe out. You can stream the album on his soundcloud below. If you haven’t bought tickets for one of his tour dates we highly recommend that you do because you don’t want to be that one sad sally at the lunch table who isn’t talking about the saxual healing that GRiZ threw down the night before. Scoop up tickets here. Also, for those of our readers in New York City that weren’t able to get tickets to his sold out show at Terminal 5, don’t fret. He just announced that we will be doing a late night set at Output. You can cop tickets here.
In between shows in Atlanta and Charlottesville GRiZ took some time to chat with EARMILK about his tour, the album and his favorite N64 game. Here is what he had to say.
EM: What’s up GRiZ? So how was the Atlanta show last night?
GZ: It was the best show we’ve done on tour so far. I think I played music for six hours straight. I got The Floozies guys to come out with me. We went from playing the show to djing back in the green room to playing an after party. I haven’t had that much fun in a long time. I’m definitely paying for it this morning.
EM: You kicked off the Say It Loud Tour in Asheville, NC at the Orange Peel and have a ton of sold out shows along the tour. What can you tell us about this tour?
GZ: This is the most recent progression of creating a live show vision and balance everything. We have a sound engineer with us that’s front of house every show making everything sound really dope. When it comes down to it, you’re playing music so you want it to sound good. We’ve got the Floozies coming out for most of these shows and Exmag for some of the shows. Both of those guys are super sick, they’re blowing up. They’re so amazing. We’ve got Artifakts – a young dude killing it. Then you got Muzzy [Bear] coming out for a little bit. This is definitely the best show we’ve put together and I will be very honored to say that every tour we’ve gone out on we’ve out done ourselves. If you’ve ever seen me do a show before then this is the next best awesome shit and you will not see a funkier show all year…. Unless you go see Stevie Wonder.
EM: Are any of the guys going to be coming out and throwing live instrumentation over your sets?
GZ: We’ve been throwing the funk down. We’ve got our saxophone game sounding better than ever. Hitting licks. Because the album was made all across the country, we’ve got guys from all over coming out on stage to play these songs, which is really cool. Matt Hill of The Floozies has been sitting in with me playing some guitar on some of the stuff, which is awesome. So it’s been this really cool collaborative experience. I did the whole like semi-band thing, having horn players come in, but it’s really nice to have different special guests every other evening. It spices things up a little bit.
EM: That’s cool. So every person that comes to see you on this tour will get a different experience than any of the previous stops?
GZ: Yeah. So before the tour I created three pretty unique sets. As you’re traveling with this show, you’ll see a different show every night. I worked really hard to put all this shit together but I think people are noticing, so that’s good.
EM: Absolutely. Speaking of the album, even though you gave it away for free it is still blowing up on the iTunes charts. Why do you think that is?
GZ: I believe it’s really cool man. I get tons of message from saying things like, “I downloaded your album for free because I believe in the free music thing too.” It’s like this ethos that all people believe in this thing. They believe in free music and they want to participate in it but then they also buy it on iTunes because they want to support it. That’s awesome because I have a really hefty bill for the production of the album. I spent a lot of time and money recording a bunch of stuff that you’re getting for free. I think that having something for free is really important. Sometimes you want to buy something because it feels like it is more part of a collection or like you are participating in the music a little bit by contributing and gaining this ownership about it. It’s that kind of relationship with the music that you build that drives your passion to purchase something that is offered for free. I think that people want to get as close to this music as possible and that’s how they go about making a decision to support it like that. I’m really happy. I can’t believe that you give something away for free and people want to support it. Sending out a lot of love to everyone, they’re all really great people. Everyone who helps me helps me to have faith in humanity. It’s one of those shimmers of light.
EM: Absolutely. For this album you wore a lot of different hats and orchestrated a lot of live instrumentation and sounds. How has this experience of creating Say It Loud changed you as a musician?
GZ: I feel like it’s changed my perspective a little bit. It made me more patient. I was really adamant on making things happen right now, I just wanted to do it. I wanted to sit in front of a bunch of kids and a get a recording of this choir of children. I wanted to make shit happen. I’ve made a lot of new connections. I know a lot more people now. There’s a lot more people who also are interested in working with me which is cool. You’re earning your stripes as a producer. You start getting involved and growing this community of people. Everyone that I’ve played with is really really good. These people were the ones that I was surrounded with and they all did a great job. I definitely want to work with them again. We’re growing. We’re accumulating more phone numbers, handshakes and conversations. We’re building out a know how of how to approach writing a live album. It was a fun process. There were a lot of moments that had their downfalls and it was like, fuck what am I doing? But now that it’s over I know how to spend my money a little better. I know how to record better songs. I know how to direct a room of musicians and collaborate together. This experiment and the album Say It Loud is the first step into many different sounds that can come from that. This album was very funky and fun to direct. It has this very happy whimsical feeling to it. I’m excited to put a lot of energy into the live album. Lots of growth ahead.
EM: Okay – we’ve got a couple rapid fire question about the tour life. You ready?
GZ: Let’s do it.
EM: What’s your favorite go-to snack on the road?
GZ: Pepperoni, cheese and French bread.
EM: Favorite movie you can watch on repeat?
GZ: Harry Potter 1-7
EM: Favorite game you have on N64?
GZ: Zelda 64. No. Doubt.
EM: Favorite fast food craving on the road?
GZ: Taco Bell.
EM: First CD you ever bought?
GZ: Californication – Red Hot Chili Peppers
EM: Celebrity Crush?
GZ: Bill Clinton. That guy would play me saxophone all the time and make really good decisions.
EM: Guilty Pleasure?
GZ: I don’t have guilty pleasures. I’m not guilty for shit. I love everything.
Be sure to catch GRiZ at one of the dates below.
Say It Loud