Grizfolk, In The Valley Below
9081 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA, 90069
This event is all ages
The story behind the band Grizfolk unfolds like a richly episodic Beat novel: it’s a collection of character-driven vignettes that give way to one another with ease, with songs like chapters in a traveler’s cherished diary, suspended in time and space above an aural landscape of blue-collar romanticism and electro-inflected folk-rock.
It’s the story of a small-town songwriter from the South who leaves the Bayou on a wanderlust whim and heads West across the desert toward California, bending his course to the bohemian back-roads of old Americana with a jazz-like, improvisational fluidity.
It’s the story of two bigger-city producers from Sweden who decide to trade the snowdrifts of Stockholm for the palm trees of SoCal, bringing with them a haunted, dreamlike moodiness to the artificial, electronic paradise of pop music.
Above all it’s story of three musicians who journey to Los Angeles as strangers, finding inspiration and comfort in the emotionally barren yet mysteriously enticing sands of Venice Beach’s “ghetto by the sea,” eventually making it their home. Alongside the vagabonds and bottled blondes of Venice legend, Grizfolk’s music is a casually-indefinable, artistic paradise of its own, built upon a bedrock of lush electronic tones and analog textures, stomp-and-clap guitars and heart-swelling vocals.
The band’s sound layers glittering synth harmonies atop barn-burner rock hooks, mixing America’s country music heritage with that of an electro-pop persuasion. The result is an undeniably catchy collection of pop songs that sound both futurist and revivalist at the same time, drawing upon the digital of today as much as they do the organic, decaying reminders of times past.
Evoking a sense of both sentimentality and conquest, Grizfolk’s music paints the picture of a vivid folktronic world in which listeners can fully immerse themselves, drifting in and out of different eras and places, much like escaping down a literary rabbit hole and getting caught-up simultaneously within the tangled futuristic narratives of Philip K. Dick and the timeless Bunker Hill dreams of John Fante.
Grizfolk’s music is where folklore meets four-on-the-floor; where tumbleweeds meet turntables. Imagine a Head First Alison Goldfrapp making out with Tom Petty in a dimly lit, Prohibition-era speakeasy while The Knife’s Deep Cuts spins somewhere in the background on a loop.
“In Los Angeles you don’t have to seek out pop music. As long as you’re listening, it’ll find you,” says Grizfolk’s frontman Adam Roth. Both casually and confidently, he explains how despite growing up on different continents and possessing vastly different musical backgrounds, each band member at his core is really just a pop-purist at heart.
Although they’d technically met once before on the sidewalks of Abbot Kinney two years prior, it wasn’t until late 2012 that Adam Roth, Fredrik Eriksson and Sebastian Fritze truly connected as a band. The trio was ultimately brought together by an intense, shared appreciation of pop music and the intoxicating thrill of discovery that only a never-before-heard, truly great hook can provide.
“Pop can be country, grunge, dance, blues, indie-rock, funk, hip-hop—anything and everything, you name it,” Roth says. “But for us pop isn’t a genre; it’s a way of thinking. It starts with ditching the connotation of pop being a dirty word, and starting to treat the songs with respect as they try and define new things. One reason to love pop music is that it’s totally fearless in the way it accepts or even embraces an artist’s urge to experiment and push boundaries. Whether we’re talkin’ The Beatles or Queen, Michael Jackson or Lady Gaga, or even Amy Winehouse for that matter, pop celebrates and rewards those who take exceptional artistic risks. Period. For me and the guys, pop comes down to less about whatever the mainstream is doing, and more about allowing ourselves develop in new directions as artists.”
Like Roth, for the other two members of Grizfolk, Eriksson and Fritze, the choice to become professional musicians wasn’t actually a choice at all; it was a destiny. The art is simply in their blood. The desire to make music and learn their music came at an early age for all three, but whereas Grizfolk’s New Orleans-born singer-songwriter grew up in the Southern sticks on a steady Cajon diet of folk, blues and rustic Americana, the multi-instrumentalist Swedes that make up Grizfolk’s production backbone were both reared from the sparklingly clean and pretty city streets of Stockholm, where their musical upbringing was inescapably influenced by Europe’s prevailing fascination with super DJs and the culture of electronic dance music. Although seemingly disparate on paper, in the studio it’s their musical differences that actually ignite the spark that cracks Grizfolk’s collective creativity wide open, resulting in a truly synergistic band much greater than the sum of its parts and without a doubt one of this year’s most intriguing new acts to follow.
In The Valley Below
Vocalist Angela Gail puts it frankly: In The Valley Below make “mostly music that we would want to listen to,” an honest and unapologetic statement from the Los Angeles duo, rounded out by vocalist/guitarist Jeffrey Jacob. In The Valley Below is a new musical pairing delivering hushed swirls of male and female vocals forged with dark stories of brooding riddles and romance. Jeffrey grew up in the storied musical town of Memphis, given a guitar at the age of 13 and creating music from that point forward. Angela left the binding depths of a “mostly cold and cloudy town in Michigan,” for a life at sea, finding initial songwriting inspiration while living on a small boat in the West Indies. In The Valley Below was created when these two found each other, having crossed paths in artistic circles after they separately made their way to Los Angeles. The duo honed their craft together, using faithful archetypes as their inspiration, “Our biggest inspiration is powerful subjects like sex, crime and religion. And how that fits into the lives we’ve chosen, our dreams and struggles, mistakes and heartbreaks.”
In The Valley Below produce and record their own songs, mixed by John Congleton (St. Vincent, The Mountain Goats, David Byrne) and vocals tracked by Pete Min (Debbie Harry).
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