I spoke with Gryffin, a DJ who used to be one half of the duo, White Panda, while he was in Santa Barbara for his “Castle in the Sky” tour. Recently, I had the opportunity to do an interview with him to talk about his upcoming EP, the song that made him get into music, and the possibility of a future album.
What was the song when you were a kid that made you want to get into music?
In terms of electronic music, I remember the first song I heard was Daft Punk’s “Around the World” and that was just a memorable moment listening to that song for the first time. Other influences were Swedish House Mafia, Avicii, and Skrillex were some others that got me inspired too, and wanted me to pursue electronic music.
You are classically trained in piano too. What made you want to play the piano?
I started playing when I was 7 years old. I played very classical stuff. I did weekly piano and music theory lessons. Music has been a part of my life for a really long time. I used to play a lot of piano and guitar when I was younger. I played more rock type music but it wasn’t until I was a bit older that I started getting into electronic music. That’s when I started making more music like the type I make today.
Did your parents make you play piano or was it a decision that you made?
It was definitely my parents, but as I got older I started appreciating it more and now I am super happy that they made me do piano lessons. I think in the very beginning, there was a lot of pushback because of getting told weekly I had to go to piano lessons as a kid. It wasn’t my favorite thing but I’ve always loved making music on my own and doing this kind of stuff. I’m very glad that I have that background now.
Did you name your latest tour after the “Castle in the Sky” movie by Hayao Miyazaki?
Unfortunately not. I came up with the name because I thought it sounded cool and it fits my aesthetic. I always try to make music that uplifts people emotionally and puts you in a higher state of mind. Gives you a feeling that it takes you to another world. That’s what I want to do with this tour and with the music itself. I’ll be releasing an EP called Castle in the Sky that has some of my previous singles as well of a couple of new ones. It should be coming out in early 2018.
What performance has been the most memorable to you?
Being from the Bay Area and California, I’ve always dreamed about Coachella. That was the festival I attended when I was younger. As an artist, you always want to play that one because it’s just one of those iconic music festivals. Being able to play at Coachella and just having the set time we had, the turnout we had, having all the guest vocalists I had on my previous singles come out and sing the songs with me while I performed, everything about it was just so perfect. Definitely the highlight of the year, without a doubt. My favorite festival performance for sure.
You have your Cast in the Sky EP coming out soon, you’ve said in other interviews of another EP coming out next year as well, but when can we expect a Gryffin album?
I want to say soon but at least right now, I’m just focusing on doing EPs. My music is pretty single-driven and I haven’t quite come up with a full album concept yet. I really want it to feel like a cohesive body of work with an arc and tells a story. Right now I’m just putting together music that has a similar sonic identity but doesn’t have a theme from start to finish all the way through. That’s my goal for an album. To have a well thought-out concept. So, hopefully soon, but I want to say first I’m finishing this current EP and I have even been working on the next one. I’ll probably start conceptualizing an album after that.
If you were turned into food, what would you be?
I’m a huge Italian food fan. I love penne alla vodka pasta. I love a good pasta. You can’t go wrong with an ice cream sundae. I’d probably go with being an ice cream sundae.