Grant Kwiecinski aka GRiZ describes himself as “somewhere between classically trained fuckin’ jazz instrumentalist saxaphone meets stoner meets technology meets bass music.” And for that very accurate, no holds barred, depiction of himself, we love him even more. As sad as we are at AMG that our Road To Counterpoint artist spotlights are coming to an end, we are thrilled that the festival is finally here! We will see you all at Kingston Downs this weekend, but first we’ve got a very special interview for you with the one and only GRiZ.
I took a year off from playing the saxaphone my first year of college, and I was like wait this would be really fun to play with the hip hop beats I’m making. Then I realized it would be really cool to play live while I was doing my djaying thing. I was already playing all my own songs, so I decided to play sax with it. It was really hard to start, but it finally turned into a real thing. Now it’s a really real thing, just keeping the efforts going to make things sound even better.
You can find GRiZ’s music all available for free on his website, released by his own label, Liberated Music. “I’m not trying to sell you the emotion. I want you to be able access it in your own special way, and be able to enjoy it whenever you want to. I’m not going to limit anyone’s access to it. It’s for the people and myself, so why not make it free?”
He started Liberated music originally to simply have a name to release his music under. Ever since his music career took off, starting his own label had been on the mind. “I want to surround myself with people who inspire me, experiment with new things, new collaborations, respond to new ideas, push the boundaries, all for this amazing culture of kids that I’ve been lucky enough to have support me and vice versa.”
As for the future of Liberated music, we will just have to wait and see. “I don’t want to talk too much about the future because it’s happening now. In the immediate future I just plan to keep releasing music with great artists for free.”
GRiZ has most recently been touring with Michael Menert, the first artist ever signed to the Pretty Lights Music Label.
Michael Menert is a good friend of mine. We just chatted, and I was like man you should come on this tour with us. It sounded like the most fun thing ever. It really did turn into one of the coolest touring combos that I’ve ever been a part of. Both of our teams know each other really well. Basically you just get to hang out with your best friends, ride around on a cool bus, and play music for awesome people.
That was hardly the first time Grant got to share the stage with his best buds. I was lucky enough to catch Big GRiZmatik, the Big Gigantic, GriZ, Gramatik supergroup live at Electric Forest 2013, and admittedly had a huge fan girl moment, and had to ask if there was any chance the collab could be resurfacing soon.
Maybe. Not at Counterpoint, but maybe. We all want to do it. The thought is there. We haven’t forgotten about it. At one point I looked to my left and my right and I’m with my best friends in the world. That was really memorable.
GRiZ brings a universally agreeable sound to the table. People with all different tastes in music can find something they love in his sound, but is it possible to appease a crowd of Deadhead jam fans and kandi kid ravers at the same time, a crowd in ATL and also Paris? GRiZ thinks so.
I just play what I want to play. I change it up based on how I’m feeling about the night. I use a formula of pacing that leaves a lot of room to be able to change things. I’ve been inserting a ton of new tracks. My sets don’t change up so much regionally. When I’m in the south I don’t necessarily want to play dirty hip-hop beats and in the north play head-bob vibing shit. I want to change it up in new markets and make it more interesting for me to play on stage.
You always want to be the best representation of yourself so when it comes down to playing to jam kids or kandi ravers, I’m going to play the same set. I have shit for both of y’all, which is so special about what GRiZ has to offer, aspects for both cultures of kids. The only time its an issue is when I’m playing a frat show or something. I know I have to play to a quick mix crowd, but if kids are there to see a good show then they know what’s up. I try to not cater too much to what they think they want to hear.
So what can we expect for GRiZ at the festival this weekend? Some of his most memorable sets have been in torrential downpours, but when I suggested we do a little rain dance for the weekend it sounded like Grant might be ready for a warm, sunny backdrop to his set instead.
One year I was playing Summer Camp Festival, and just was I was throwing down a remix by Lorin (Bassnectar) it starts raining like crazy. It was such a happy moment, one of ultimate serendipity. Then at the Detroit Electronic Movement Festival or Movement, it was raining through the whole set, but it was one of the most epic, energy-crazy, mental-emotional moments ever just having 10,000 kids in the rain going nuts. There was so much passion behind it. Everyone was there even though it was cold, wet, and miserable in Downtown Detroit, playing “Hard Times”, and it was so powerful.
Don’t miss GRiZ destroy the Steeple Stage at Counterpoint Music Festival on Saturday, April 26th from 9:45 p.m. to 10:45 p.m.