Multi-instrumentalist producer and performer GRiZ has released his fifth studio album, ‘Ride Waves’. Drenched in the creative passion and cultural connectivity of the artist, the LP sees GRiZ immerse himself into the soundscapes of his influences and the causes of today. The album is the culmination of the last two years for GRiZ – a period pillared by his own creative exile, high impact socio-cultural issues, and a slew of communities and relationships in which he has embedded himself.
‘Ride Waves’ comes paired with a world tour, which will kick off at the beginning of May and will see him touch down everywhere from Brooklyn to The Netherlands, to the eclectic stages of Shambhala, Firefly, and lastly, Bonnaroo where he has the honour of curating this year’s Superjam. Despite the hectic schedule, GRiZ took some time to sit down with We Rave You to discuss his new album, influences and his upcoming tour!
Congratulations on the release of your new ‘Ride Waves’ album! Can you tell us a bit about your inspiration behind it?
“It’s a lifestyle album about coming to the realization that life is this dynamic thing that goes moment to moment, and in those moments, you realize that nothing lasts forever. I was trying to find something metaphorical, and I love nature, so the idea of tides and waves brought that out in the album.”
The album’s overall sound takes a more Hip-Hop/Electronic approach, while still maintaining your integral brass/acoustic sound. Was this always your intention, or was this something that evolved during your creative process?
“It’s just kind of what I do. I can’t get away from those sounds, they’re just what move my heartbeat.”
The album features the likes of Snoop Dogg, Wiz Khalifa and DRAM! Please tell us about how those collaborations came about!
“When making the album I decided that I wanted to include more hip-hop features, as that sound is probably my favourite and the music that I listen to the most. With all of the crossover tunes I make, it made sense to reach out to them. They were stoked about the tunes so they sent over their material and it was instantly a good match.”
Fresh off of a hot performance at Ultra and following a long run of US tour dates you’re set for Europe, where you’ll perform at festivals such as Nass Festival (UK), Dour Festival (BE) and We Are Electric (NL). What can your European fans expect?
“I’m playing sax and we have a guitarist. It’s a crossover between Motown, funk, future EDM sounds and just a focus on what’s going on today. It’s fun and wonky and people will leave with a big old smile on their face.”
Are there any more European dates you can tell us about? We’re excited to experience the GRiZ live show!
“Excited to party with you all! I’ve just been announced for Metropolis in the Netherlands and Mad Cool Festival in Spain which I’m stoked for, and there are more dates coming soon. Keep a look out!”
You’re a well-known advocate of positivity and love! In addition to this, your charitable efforts have raised a huge amount over the past few years. How empowering is it to give back to the community you care so much about?
“I think if you have the opportunity to help out you have to take it. The world is a place that has experienced a lot of hurt and the people that are going to uplift the community are us, so if we don’t do anything about it nothing is going to happen. Just feels like the right thing to do.”
You’re also an avid spokesperson for the LGBTQI community, having come out a few years ago yourself. Can you tell us a bit about what you do to squash the negativity surrounding the LGBTQI community, and the impact you try to have?
“I think one of the biggest things you can do is to walk the walk. I’ll always speak out on social media, with friends and on the public platform against negativity. The best way to create change is to be a role model, and I try to live as part of that community in an honest way that is genuine to me. In a way, it is stereotype breaking, as I feel like I’m doing things and acting in a way that is not necessarily what the average gay person is doing. It’s not always about being flamboyant, and when I was young I was looking for that representation – I’m queer and that’s normal. If we could have more diversity in the scene we’d have more representation. The best way to create change is by just being yourself and being visible.”
Gun-control is a large issue in the U.S right now. While much tragedy has spawned from gun-violence, you’ve been doing your part to help the issue. Can you tell us some of the efforts and collaborations you’ve taken part in, dedicated to this cause?
“There are things in life I see that are really frustrating, and when I’m feeling those frustrations I want to do something. I don’t want to stand idly by while people are getting shot and no one’s talking. The way I can make a difference is by campaigning, lobbying for change and opening up the conversation in order to create a dialogue. If people are talking about it and it’s in someone’s mind it’s something that people might do something about. If you can create a consciousness people will dive in to make a difference. My platform is music, and I feel it’s important to me to use that platform to make a difference.”
Last question, do you have a message for the people that will come and see you play this summer?
“I challenge you to come to a GRiZ show and not be impressed. I guarantee it’s something new and something you haven’t seen before. It’ll be a great time – hope to see you out there!”