Before debuting at MTV’s SnowGlobe Music Festival in 2015, American producer/DJ Dan Griffith (known by his stage name Gryffin) was mixing music in his dorm room at the University of Southern California, where he studied electrical engineering. The San Francisco native blew up after remixing songs by famous pop artists, like Tove Lo’s “Talking Body” and Maroon 5’s “Animals,” and now performs at major music events worldwide. Released through Darkroom/Geffen Records, Gravity is Gryffin’s debut studio album. Metropolis spoke to the rising star about his latest release, Japanese roots and what to expect from his upcoming gig at Shibuya’s TSUTAYA O-EAST.
Metropolis: How has 2019 been going for you?
Dan Griffith: 2019 has been truly unreal. I’ve been touring a lot which has been awesome, but the biggest moment of the year was definitely releasing my debut album, Gravity. It was a tour year process that culminated this October and I couldn’t be prouder.
M: Tell us more about about Gravity. What does this album mean to you?
DG: Yeah, as I mentioned, it took two years to make the album. I originally hadn’t intended to put out an album, but as I continued to make more songs, I realized that I had all this awesome music I was super proud of and it was coming together cohesively. It was at the end of last year that I really decided to commit to the album because I saw the full picture and how I was going to get it done. The album means a lot to me because it’s a moment that really solidifies the Gryffin project as an album-based artist, rather than a remix or single-based artist, which is something I’ve always wanted.
M: You’ve performed in Japan several times since 2016. Tell us about that experience.
DG: Japan is amazing every time I play and I always look forward to coming back. My mother is from Japan so I have family there and I’ve always felt a special connection to the country. I’m very excited for my show in February though, as we’re planning on bringing the Gravity show with the full band for the first time to Asia with that show.
M: So you have Japanese roots. Have you thought about remixing Japanese songs or incorporating some Japanese elements into your own work?
DG: Totally. My team and I have tossed around different ideas and I think we’re just waiting for the right opportunity to make sense. I have a lot of flexibility now that the album is out so maybe something in the near future.
M: You’re returning to Japan to showcase your live set. Are there any differences between doing a DJ set and playing live?
DG: Yes, there’s a huge difference. Both shows live in their own world and I’m really proud of both in their own right, but the live show is almost all exclusively Gryffin music while the DJ show I’m able to have a little bit of freedom to incorporate other songs and artists I really admire to create a different type of set.
M: In light of what you just said, what can we expect from this upcoming Tokyo show?
DG: I’m just really excited to bring the Gravity show over. It’s really a major step for me as an artist to have a show of almost all my own music, and the band format really adds a variety of elements.
M: Do you have any favorite areas in Japan?
DG: Kyoto is such an incredible city with so much history and is probably my favorite city to visit in Japan. Within Tokyo, I love being in Shibuya and Ebisu. I had a really good time walking and shopping in Daikanyama last time I was there, too.
M: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
DG: I see myself still trying to grow the Gryffin project and also producing for other people that I admire and want to work with outside of the Gryffin project. I have a studio at my house that I’d like to renovate and make into something like a cool hang where artists can come, work on music and just vibe out.
Gryffin Japan 2020
2F, 2-14-8 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku