Dan Griffith, known by his stage name Gryffin, is a 31-year-old American DJ, producer and musician. His style caters to the melodic and tropical house crowds within EDM.
Early in his career Griffith quickly earned appreciation by fans remixing popular tracks, such as Tove Lo’s “Talking Body,” and Ariana Grande and The Weeknd’s “Love Me Harder.”
Originally from San Francisco, the artist is a classically trained pianist who also plays the guitar. While studying electrical engineering at the University of Southern California, he crafted his musical skills in the dorms. Now a Venice Beach resident, he’s returning to Indio this weekend (after playing 2017) with a new live show and higher expectations.
The Weekly spoke with Griffith recently, learning about his stage production and when his debut album is set to drop.
OC Weekly (Michael Silver): How did you end up studying electrical engineering at USC? What was your goal after graduating?
Dan Griffith: I’ve always been into music. I grew up playing classical piano around seven, and guitar in high school jamming around with friends. When I got to USC I started to fall in love with dance music. Artists that were blowing up at the time like Avicii, Skrillex, all those guys were making crazy sounds, music I’d never heard before, it was inspiring.
I was doing electrical engineering and not that I didn’t like it, but it wasn’t my passion. In Leavey Library I was studying away, but to keep myself from going insane I downloaded Ableton and started making beats. Eventually uploading them to SoundCloud, just for fun. I never thought it would become a career. All of a sudden these tracks were getting a lot of exposure and it started snowballing from there.
Record labels started hitting me up, asking to remix songs from other artists. When I was finishing up school it became a real thing, being asked to do live shows. Music became my passion and I decided to go for it and here I am, it’s all working out so far.
Which styles of music influenced you growing up? Any bands or DJ’s that made a lasting impression?
I loved Disclosure when they first came out. Anything by The xx, Tame Impala, all kinds of music. Even pop music growing up. I’ve always been into a bunch of different genres.
The new single “All You Need To Know” is a track between yourself and Slander. How did that collaboration come together?
The Slander guys, we never really hung out or crossed paths. We’ve known each other through friends and producers. They hit me up a few months ago to do something together and I was super down to collaborate with them. I had this song concept and sent over a demo. I fell in love with everything its about. It feels like that traditional dance music, Swedish House Mafia and Avicii era, very uplifting and emotional.
We were skyping back and forth, editing, pretty remotely. Two or three weeks later it was ready to go. I still love writing in a room, starting from scratch because it’s the most rewarding way to make music, but nowadays people are so busy touring, so being able to pass files digitally is a very different way to make music.
— GRYFFIN (@gryffinofficial) April 10, 2019
You’ve played major festivals across the country. What was your reaction when Coachella became a reality?
It’s amazing. Being from California, Coachella is the festival. Outside Lands is also special being from the Bay Area. Coachella is the ultimate festival, so getting the opportunity to play it is an unbelievable honor. I’ve got a lot of planning to do in the next week getting ready for it. I’m super pumped about it.
Does your Gravity II set officially kickoff with Coachella or is that a NYC special date?
It is a one off in New York, but it’s really the beginning of the next phase of the show. Coachella will be mostly Gravity I, but I’m premiering two new records this weekend.
Is there a release date for your debut record? Who would you love to work with in the future?
The date isn’t exactly set in stone, but it’s looking like late May or early June. There’s going to be a couple of more singles coming out before that which I’ll be premiering this weekend.
In terms of dance music, I’m always a huge admirer of what Calvin Harris does. I’d love to work with Tame Impala, in the more indie electronic sphere. Working with someone like Lorde would be really cool. Even someone with an amazing voice like Sam Smith, I could go on forever (laughs).
Do you have any thoughts on Billie Eilish and her new sound?
We’re on the same label so I’m familiar with her stuff, it’s great. I think she’s a really cool act for pop right now. She’s not the typical pop star, kind of anti that which is really cool. Her brother Finn who does all her production and helps with her songwriting is an incredible producer. I’m definitely stoked for all her success over the last year, it’s crazy seeing her assent. That’s a set I’m looking forward to this weekend.
What can fans that have not seen your live show expect these next few weekends in the desert?
That’s a great question. They can expect a lot of great energy. Fundamentally it’s a dance show so be prepared to have fun, but also know it’s a lot more than a DJ set. I’ve got a band now; there are three of us performing live music to the dance beats. The visuals and production is very well thought out in terms of the branch, gravity, and show I’m trying to give. I’m really trying to push the needle and envelope in what electronic music can be live. There’s a lot of musicianship that actually goes into making the music and the live show. I’m really hyped to be debuting new wrinkles to the show at Coachella this year, and looking forward to seeing what people think.
Michael Silver is a journalist and photographer based in Southern California. He covers music, sports, technology, and streetwear. Tips & pitches: firstname.lastname@example.org