Interview: Grieves


Grieves at the May 10 Portland stop of the Rhymesayers tour



By Tom Roth

I had the opportunity to sit down with Grieves during the Rhymesayers tour stop in Portland on May 10.

Tom Roth: In May 2010, you’d just played Bamboozle Festival in New Jersey. How does where you are now compare to where you were last year?
Grieves: Yes, I did play Bamboozle last year. I also played it back in 2008 with Mac Lethal. It seems that steadily from 2007 on, everything we have been doing has been on a positive incline. I got a super great team working with me and I feel everybody has done a great job a harnessing our momentum and keeping it constant. Some people focus on a big “blowout” but have no clue what to do once they hit the ground running. Not us… we all got our stripes now and we’re ready to up the speed!

TR: How do you compare your first shows to the ones you’ve had on this tour?
G: My first shows… like back in 2005 were real thin but I was just getting out there. It took a few years to really get the ball rolling and gain that fan base. But like I said above, I got a great team now that helps me focus my energy in the right spots to help things grow. It’s really nice to see how far a lot of this has gone.

TR: You’ve had a history with Chicago, Fort Collins, Seattle, and Brooklyn. When you’re touring/performing, where do you feel the most at home?
G: Every one of those places holds a sense of home for me, including San Diego (which was left out). For me though, I feel most at home in two places. Seattle, because that’s where my house is, my friends, and my heart. I love that city! But then there is Fort Collins…. the city where my family lives, where I pretty much grew up, and the city in which I have a support system unlike any other. Every city I visit has its slice of comfort, but these two places I consider home.

TR: Soundset is coming up on May 29th. Will that be different than any of the other shows on this tour?
G: Sure! Soundset is a festival… a BIG festival full of some of the most amazing artists and fans in the country (and the world!! shout outs to the Looptroop Rockers!). That dynamic is different than a venue tour… it would be more comparable to something like the Warped Tour. I would say the closest thing we did to that on THIS tour would be the show we just did at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley. I believe there was something like 8,000 people there… it was AMAZING!

TR: “Together/Apart” drops on June 21st. Where will you be on that day and what do you plan on doing?
G: It sure does! On that day, I will be on a plane to Minneapolis for a signing at the Fifth Element store. This day is by far one of the biggest days of my life so you can bet I’ll be doing a lot of smiling!

TR: “Bloody Poetry” is available for download on the Washington Post’s website. What’s your reaction to having your material featured in an international publication like that?
G: At first it blew my mind. I couldn’t wrap my head around why they would want to feature me over there but that’s kind of the beauty about all of this. You never know who you are going to influence or how. I learn that more and more each day.

TR: What was it like shooting the “Bloody Poetry” video?
G: It was great! Griff is a long time friend of mine so I feel very comfortable around him. A lot of video shoots can be a bit uncomfortable due to the fact you got a bunch of people you have never met before standing around watching you sing a song they have never heard before while they stick a camera in your face for 20 hours. You eventually warm up but those first few hours can be a bit uncomfortable. Not with Griff. Dude knows my comfort level and knows how to push me when he needs it.

TR: Did the video reflect what was going through your mind when you wrote the lyrics?
G: I think Griff nailed it. We sat down and talked about the imagery for a while but it was really his story and his vision. This was his favorite song off the album and I feel that he and I were pretty like minded on our perception of the song so keeping that haunting and ominous feel that the song provides… I think this is Griff’s best video to date.