“We really wrote most of the [new] album at home, but we recorded it with Andy Dawson [Kanye West, Jay-Z]. So we really did want to do this one in Sydney, because we did the last one in LA… It’s been good. We had really nice accommodation, and our label hooked us up with some really large houses. But it’s definitely time to go home now. There’s no place better than Australia.”
– Daniel Duque-Perez (guitar/synth) on upcoming album High Times For Low Lives.
No-one would have thought that it all began at a Sydney house party four years ago.
It was vocalist and best mate Chris Whitehall that challenged the guitarist to write a riff on the spot, and it’s that creative stint that saw the birth of our local indie rockers. 2012 was a massive year for The Griswolds, with the boys being featured by triple J Unearthed after securing a slot on the Parklife Festival line-up, alongside heavyweights like Passion Pit and The Presets.
The release of their Heart of a Lion EP that year was what spring-boarded the four-piece, who cracked the US (after extensive Aussie touring) with their first live appearance in New York. It wasn’t long before the band signed with American label Wind-Up Records, jetting off to make their debut record with Tony Hoffer [Phoenix, M83].
Be Impressive (2014) was, well, nothing short of that. As Duque-Perez affirms, “You only get to make one debut album, and we wanted to make ours as impressive as we possibly could. Working hard and late nights mean nothing when you’re working on something you love. So Be Impressive became something we thought about all the time.”
Fast-forward two years and the rockers have been working hard on their sophomore record High Times For Low Lives. Recording the album with Andrew Dawson back in LA, the musician reflects that the powerhouse producer’s approach was “so different to any other producer that we’ve ever worked with. He will try anything“.
“We didn’t have a budget or a timeline for this album. So we basically started and finished when we all thought we were happy, and that’s how Andrew likes to work. It’s been such an organic process, it’s like he was a fifth member of the band.”
Fresh single ‘Out of my Head’, the first song the band wrote for the record, is a glimpse into the various hip-hop and R&B influences they’ve been drawing on. After Duque-Perez showed the song to Whitehall, he discovered that the vocalist “already had the story [for the track] ready.”
“He was in the middle of a breakup with this girl that was an absolute nightmare, and he was like ‘I need to get this off my chest’. The whole album is very much like that… The message across it is very reflective on relationships.”
Now that they’ve recorded the album, the boys are ready to come home. So what better way to celebrate than by partying it up at Pandora Radio’s first ever Aussie warehouse party? Kicking off this Saturday, you won’t want to miss out on all the action, featuring sets from stellar acts including Seth Sentry and Ladyhawke – oh, and they’ve handpicked tracks for the Pandora Warehouse Mixtape, which you can spin here.
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Check out the rest of our chat below as the guitarist talks bonding with electronic duo Magic Man, being pushed by Whitehall “both physically and mentally”, and the band’s first appearance on the US Today Show.
Also be sure to secure your spot at Pandora’s first ever Aussie warehouse party here, and have a crack at which song The Griswolds are going to play first for your chance to score a MEET ‘N’ GREET with the guys. But only 1000 people are going to be allowed in, so get there fast.