It’s been a decent while since The Griswolds have been back home, with the Sydney boys having made quite a little nest for themselves beneath the Los Angeles sun. Working away on their sophomore album, not to mention touring America like mad things, The Griswolds have been making sure that their time away from Australia would be worth the homesickness.
Turns out, it has been.
TV spots and a recent inking of a huge Apple Music deal which has seen the band become the face of the giant’s latest Student Plan ad campaign has meant that for Chris, Lachy, Dan and Tim, they’re standing to become more than just a bunch of Australians setting up shop in the US. They’re heading toward household name territory.
But let’s turn the attention back to the homefront for a minute. Tomorrow, the boys play their first show in Sydney in a long time, performing at the massive Pandora Warehouse party alongside the likes of Ecca Vandal, Ladyhawke and Seth Sentry. As far as homecomings go, this is a big one.
“I’m really looking forward to playing some shows back home,” Dan Duque-Perez says during a recent catch up. “It’s been way too long. I miss you guys, I miss the accents!”
“We definitely need to spend more time in Australia; we’ve definitely been talking about that a lot. Reconnecting with Australian audiences. We’ll definitely be spending more time there in the next twelve months.”
Linking up with Grammy winner Andrew Dawson in the studio to produce their new album, it became evident for The Griswolds that whatever would come next after their debut record Be Impressive, would be something considerably larger than what they’ve done before.
“It’s been the most fun I’ve ever had.” Duque-Perez says of the process. “It was good to get away from the indie-rock sound and really start exploring the boundaries a bit more. I was starstruck when I first walked in the room and you know he’d [Dawson] be sitting in the chair next to me working on our song. I was such a fan of his, all these albums I’d been crushing over so hard for so long and then to find out it was all made by him, as a songwriter, a producer… he definitely has his thing and he definitely brought a lot of that new thing to this record, which is awesome.”
Exploring broad influences from The Weeknd to Tame Impala throughout the process, Dan notes the difference in approach The Griswolds now have towards making music. A tighter and definitely stronger creative unit, the last year of writing and touring has really galvanised the band’s writing dynamic.
“Things have definitely gotten stronger,” he agrees. “There’s a lot more trust now. I mean, Chris and I write all sorts of music and now that he trusts us to do it [too]; when we started, he couldn’t be much more polar opposite to what the rest of us sounded like. The label didn’t get it but they were just like, ‘We trust you guys that it’s going to work out once we get a bigger picture’. It’s more like a family unit than a ‘band’. We don’t treat each other as colleagues. I’ve never been in a band like that where, even down to our crew, they all have to have that same temperament because you’re living together. You’re family. You’re in the same house or on the road on tour. You have to love and respect each other, otherwise the whole thing implodes.”
Last in Australia touring with Walk The Moon, The Griswolds returned to the States not long after to continue ploughing the US tour circuit. The momentum that has surrounded the band since Be Impressive‘s release in 2014 has kept generating and it’s testament to the relentless schedule of live shows The Griswolds have powered through since the album came out that they’re now reaching levels of recognition Stateside that many Australian artists would kill for off the back of a debut release.
“It’s been crazy.” Duque-Perez admits. “The amounts of press we’ve done in the last three weeks since [current single] “Out Of My Head” came out has been pretty incredible. “Out Of My Head” had something like two million streams week in its first week on Spotify and Apple Music and now we’ve been doing Rolling Stone interviews, or Billboard interviews…it’s surreal.”
“We were really starting to feel it [things picking up] and then we got picked by Apple Music to be the face for their next campaign,” he adds. “It’ll be on billboards and buses and the big LED screens in Times Square. It’s [time spent abroad] definitely starting to pay its dues because we’ve been working at it really hard to make it here. It’s so expensive, and they’re like us – they want to take care of themselves, first you know?”
Still, being back with family and the familiarity of home for the next little period of time is something the band isn’t taking for granted, regardless of how well things may be travelling abroad. 2017 stands to be a big year for The Griswolds but as we’ve seen through 2016 already, their wave of success is one they’re riding and navigating extremely well so far.
“We’ve been away for so long because we had to make our record,” Dan says. “We were away writing the record before we went to record it; the album took almost five months to make. It’s always good to come home.”
“We’ve been lucky dudes. I really feel like we’ve been in the right place at the right time, as cliché as that is, it’s pretty spot on for us.”