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'Waiting up' with GRYFF | An Interview

It's fair to say that this gent has made an indelible mark on the scene and no more so than with his newest release 'Calypso Drip FM' which came out in September to great critical acclaim.

From Brisbane and with a knack of fast tracking his fans to Miami he sent the scene into a tail spin with his trademark punchy synths and vocals that go down smoother than a long island iced Tea. He topped off an incredible year by signing to one of the scene's foremost Retrowave music labels 'Aztec Records' and what a perfect partnership!

You'd be forgiven for thinking that Gryff is relatively new amongst the masses but he's been plying his sunny trade since approximately 2016. Forged couldn't wait to interview him in a year that's seen him grow to become a real breakout Star..take a look.


Congratulations on all your success so far and your signing to one of the scenes biggest Retrowave labels ‘Aztec Records’! How are you feeling about it all now that you’ve had a chance to process it a little?

Working with Aztec Records has been such a great experience and really awesome for my music, I feel. I’ve always wanted to see Calypso Drip FM on vinyl and we had some talks about it and they helped me realize that and push my music to audiences I would never reach. Now that the dust has settled, I’m just riding the wave of elation and enjoying what people have to say about the album and how it’s affected their daily routines and lives…

You’ve been on the scene since around 2016 how do you think your sound has developed up to now?

I went from doing some indie-pop stuff trying to break out into the scene what was on the charts at the time… and I was really battling with finding where I belong there. When I started looking towards more 80s sounding music, embracing what I loved about the 80s, I found it was so much easier to write music and find a sense of belonging and fans and a scene. I’m glad I did it. I owe a lot to Synthwave.

What would you say is most distinctive about the music you create?

The authenticity of 80s music. I always try to write songs that could’ve come straight off of an 80s movie soundtrack, or some B-side from an artist. I don’t want to make 80s sounding music. I want to write music that sounds like it came from the 80s.

Who where your musical inspirations growing up? Has that changed a little over the years?

Australian dance music, especially 90s/2000s. Savage Garden, Madison Avenue, Empire of the Sun, The Presets, Miami Horror, Cut Copy, Sneaky Sound System. I really got into the 80s stuff around my teenager years like Phil Collins, Joy Division, Genesis, Human League, Duran Duran, Talking Heads, New Order, Tina Turner, Fleetwood Mac… Look I could go on! But I won’t.

You can guess I’m into pretty much everything, it’s all shaped my music. Another big part was video game music; Sonic, Aliens Trilogy, Dance Dance Revolution, Hotline Miami, and most importantly Grand Theft Auto: Vice City which is what the album is basically a love letter to.

Are there any Artists or Bands of the scene you’d love to collaborate with? Who? Why?

Oh so many. So many people I’m not worthy of messaging. Power Glove, Kavinsky, The Midnight, NINA, The Weeknd, FM-84, PYLOT, Ollie Wride… I wish!

I’d like to collaborate with Power Glove, Kavinsky, PYLOT for that dark sound I’m in love with and nowhere near good enough to emulate. NINA, her voice is stunning. The Weeknd is just a powerhouse for the scene and pop music in general. The Midnight, FM-84, Ollie Wride, those guys are just legends, I’d love to watch them write or produce…

In your entire discography what track are you most proud of?

You’re making it way too hard for me. I really love all of these tracks… I think, Jessie. It was my entry into the scene, and the track that’s seemed to have gone the furthest. I built this whole story for it, inspired by Black Mirror’s San Junipero and I think the chorus slaps real hard in it.

What do you reckon has been the most cherished memory of your career to date?

Working with Jordan F. I’ve been such a massive fan of him, and he’s been one of the leaders of the Synthwave scene, especially in Australia. Working on Without You on his latest album Memory Collision was so effortless and easy and fun. Then the music video happened which was great, I got to meet some really talented people for that.

What has been the best advice you’ve been given in life?

If you can do it in 5 minutes, do it now. I think that applies to procrastination though. In terms of a mantra, I’ve always said ‘The harder you work, the luckier you get’… and I’m a little bit spiritual but I think that advice is more-so showing that the harder you persevere, you hope, you work, you grind.. the results will be better and the outcome will be more fruitful.

Calypso Drip FM was hugely well received, how long did it take for you to pull the album together? Where you nervous about how it would be received?

I think some of the songs were from about 2 years before hand, just waiting quietly for the right time to be released. And most of the funkier songs came 4-5 months before the album dropped. So it’s been a while- I’ve had the concept for Calypso Drip and then it eventuated into Calypso Drip FM when I really wanted this whole package of songs like an experience. A driving album, an album to a fake radio station, an album of moments or scenes in a movie that hasn’t been made yet. Working with Yoko Honda on the art was a dream as well, she really brought the album to life. I can’t stop looking at the album art.

And yes- I was incredibly nervous! I was coming off the back of The Midnight’s Monsters and I really self-doubted myself with that release date. I was also away for work so I couldn’t use my socials properly. It was a nightmare… until I flew back home and saw how well it had gone. I didn’t expect it. I didn’t expect people to stream it, let alone by vinyl, cassettes and posters. Getting Bandcamp’s New and Notable was also really exciting.