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Interview:
GRiZmas 2016, 5 Things To Know
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

» See more SOUND CHECK

GRiZ has good reason to believe that "Good Will Prevail," as the title of his latest album states.

The electronic instrumentalist and DJ from Southfield (real name Grant Kwiecinski) and a graduate of Birmingham Groves High School, is in the midst of his usual December roll in his home town, hosting a GRiZmas week of good deeds and innovative events culminating in performances in Royal Oak and Detroit. This follows the September release of "Good Will Prevail," by far his most musically varied and ambitious work yet, with a stellar guest list that includes Eric Krasno, Big Gigantic, Brasstracks, Eli Paperboy Reed and Tash Neal of the London Souls.

GRiZ recorded parts of the set at Tempermill Studios in Ferndale and at Detroit's Masonic Temple during last year's GRiZmas shows. He keeps an apartment in downtown Detroit as well, though his heavy road schedule and another residence in Denver keep his time there limited. Nevertheless, GRiZ is home for the holidays and enjoying every minute of it...

GRiZmas has grown from one show to more than a week's worth of events, including bonfire parties and caroling in downtown Detroit and bowling in Farmington. And as far as GRiZ, 26, is concerned, bigger IS better. "I feel like we're kind of pushing the limits of the connections we've made to make it even more special this past year," he explains. "O do think the climate of the city is creating more of a population of attendance for these adventures we're having for kids -- and adults. I think what's fantastic about these vents is just getting people to come down to Detroit and hang out in Detroit. A lot of the kids are from the suburbs, so what we're doing in effect is showing them what Detroit is to us, even if they are Detroiters. It's a lot of education in a sense, 'cause we're doing events all over the city, not just in one area."

GRiZ went into the new "Good Will Prevail" album with just one creative goal. "I always want to outdo myself a little bit -- try new stuff, try to make the production sound a little better, try to be more musical, maybe," he says. "For me an album is a collection of music made in a certain time in my life that definitely reflects that moment. That's what I want to explore, the idea that this is a phase of my life, from the start of the album to the end of the album, even if it's not, like, a straight-line story from A to Z."

"Good Will Prevail's" title has been taken as a reference to the charged presidential election that was going on at the time of its release. GRiZ says that's a fair interpretation, but he adds that there's more to it than that. "A lot of 'Good Will Prevail' has personal reasons behind it," he says. "I made this piece of art for me. I made it so I can have a reminder of this time. It's not just creaming, 'OK! It's gonna be OK! Things are fine!' But the (political) thing is there, too. I think even, like, activists, they need their own help sometimes because it's not easy. I'm sure there's moments of self-doubt and all that for them, too. So I'm trying to be encouraging and positive and at the same time say it's going to be up to us to create this change or these vibes that are going to perpetuate the good."

Off the musical tip, GRiZ also launched his own strain of cannabis this year. "Y'know, having fun with it is such a huge part of this," GRiZ explains. "Weed is probably the least serious thing I do. It still has this connotation of still being illegal in certain places but creating your own strain of weed is, come on, just fun. So now I'm trying to dream up 2.0; I feel like we learned so much from the first one, so hopefully this time around we can really craft something brand new and beautiful."

The next GRiZ album is already in motion. "I've started working on a few new songs and have ideas on what I want them to look and feel like," he reports. "I love being post-album. This album means everything to me right now. I'm really happy it's out and people can digest it. But the other side is that I'm freaking out, like 'I hope I can write something this good again.' So fingers crossed; I just try to keep myself into the music-making process all the time.

GRiZ plays a DJ set, along with Brasstracks and Jonah Baseball, Thursday, Dec. 15 at the Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. Fourth St. Tickets are $25 in advance, $35 day of show. Proceeds benefit Little Kids Rock. Call 248-399-2980 or visit royaloakmusictheatre.com.

GRiZ's shows, take place Friday and Saturday, Dec. 16-17, at Masonic Temple, 500 Temple St., Detroit. Big Wild, Gosh Pith and Flint Eastwood join him on Friday, while Louis The Child, Sunsquabi and Freddy Todd perform on Saturday. Doors open at 8 p.m. and tickets are $39.50 each night. Call 313-832-7100 or visit themasonic.com.


Web Site: www.grizmas.com

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