They say we all have two wolves inside of us; but it’s rare to find someone who’s wolves are as contemplative and articulate as the ones inside Grandson, who will be sicing them on Australian audiences for the first time this February.
Like the lines in the peripheral vision, the more you try to put a focal point on Grandson, the more you’ll lose definition. He’s an artist that isn’t driven by tuning or structures but by energy and curiosity. Progressive in the truest form given that Grandson refuses to subscribe to any particular genre.
And it’s clear it’s what the people want. Totalling more than 3.5 billion streams – with a b – Grandson is becoming more than a moment, and starting to look like a movement, with plenty of big names, both in music and elsewhere, drawn to this momentum whether it be Senator Bernie Sanders, director James Gunn or Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda.
With the dust yet to settle on his latest release, 2023 I Love You, I’m Trying, Grandson is once and for all bringing the spectacular to our shores.
You’re finally heading to Australia. We’re a small, distant part of the world – but we tend to make up for it with sheer volume in the comment sections. Otherwise we miss out!
Grandson: You are fucking loud. I think because of the relationship you guys have to the rest of the world, rock fans in Australia are maybe more digital. Like a lot of American Rock fans, they don’t even have Spotify yet. They’re still listening to the radio predominantly and not really reaching out to bands on Instagram necessarily.
There’s more reassurance that bands will be coming to New York City or wherever it is. So I think because of that, you do see people in your comment section that went looking, especially at the beginning of my career, you’re not going to find me unless you are the kind of music fan who is seeking new, and this is a genre that’s really been held back by people not wanting anything new.
In other countries, people are a little more curious and a little more online, looking for that next thing. And so I think that’s where I started building a relationship with Australian fans; fans that have been waiting and got the tattoos in my lyrics and stuff, it’s awesome. I feel super lucky.
You’ve built a reputation for being able to combine the literal with the metaphysical, you seem to be able to phase between the two for you music. They say the most important things to say are the hardest, but to make them sound so poetic is another thing altogether. How is that process for you?
Grandson: That’s a good question, dude. One of the biggest ways of doing it is doing it; Spend time trying. I think that a lot of people get discouraged somewhere in the process.
Songwriting has been a thing I’ve been using to work through my anger with the rest of the world and with myself for over 10 years now. Half the time when somebody’s excited and has a lyric [of mine] that means a lot to them, I’m just as confused as they are or surprised that it connects them.
I was on my last album and making something really personal about self-harm and mental health. And yeah, it’s an incredible gift that people give me; validating my experience by sharing with me how they relate. It makes me feel like, yeah, we grow up in other parts of the world listening to much of the same music, doing the same dumb shit with our friends and wondering what the world that we’re inheriting is going to be better than it was for our parents or whatever.
And then when you don’t know, when nothing makes sense, that’s where the guitars can say what can’t be said. And that’s why ultimately many of the moments in my music. I talk a lot and I think a lot and I express myself, but the parts that hit people the most sometimes are instrumental and they’re just a feeling. Sometimes you just can’t put it into words. And then thankfully you have a sick guitar riff and a fat drumbeat in your face and you don’t have to say anything when the guy next to you just elbowed your drink out of your hand or something. There’s something powerful in that too.
You’ve mentioned before a desire to not just talk about what you experience, but change it. You’ve shared screen time with Bernie Sanders, and you’ve really positioned yourself close to the actual mechanism of change. Does that impact you as an artist at all?
Grandson: It does change you when success or momentum come your way. I do think it is really exciting, the possibilities of ‘what can be’ feel much more realistic and attainable. The downside, I would say, or the challenges of, okay, I’m not over here just dreaming anymore, I’m actually now understanding just what it takes to make these things happen. Now I gotta ask myself, how can I unlearn so much of that stuff? And just get back to my imagination?
How can I re-access that possibility and that imagination? And being a songwriter, being an artist, you need to protect and maintain that state of play. That’s how the biggest artists in the world reach new heights constantly. I’ve done a lot. I’m really, really grateful for that. I’ve played a lot of shows for a lot of people and written songs that people connect with. And this year for me has been about how do I dream as big and bold and crazy as I did to even put myself in this position?
What better way to start that than by going to places I never could have imagined in my life. There would be an audience for me to sing my songs. Being able to start this year in Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Japan, and then come back to America, there’s something very, very exciting about how that’s going to strengthen my imagination and my sense of what’s possible.
There really are two wolves inside of Grandson, is there: The grounded; the hard worker, the 10,000 hours guy, then the fantastic, the one that takes it all the way to Mars, huh?
Grandson ‘I love you, i’m trying’ Australian tour dates
Tickets available now.
Tuesday, 30th January
Powerstation, Auckland 18+
Tickets: Destroy All Lines
Thursday, 1st February
Princess Theatre, Brisbane Lic AA
Tickets: Destroy All Lines
Saturday, 3rd February
Liberty Hall, Sydney Lic AA
Tickets: Destroy All Lines