Copyright Dave Nakamura 2012

Copyright Dave Nakamura 2012

With a soulful sound straight from the heart, Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds are a powerful force to be reckoned with. After a stellar performance at Electric Forest 2014, I was able to meet up with lead vocalist Arleigh Kincheloe and ask her some questions.

MOJO: How is traveling with a seven-piece band?

ARLEIGH: Well, it’s pretty crazy. It has its own challenges, but it has its own merits and rewards because we’re such a big group and we’re all so tight knit. We’re like a party on wheels. (laughs)

CopyRight Renee Ramge

CopyRight Renee Ramge

 MOJO: Your sound is on point and I really dig it. During your set I heard a song that combined Rage Against the Machine’s “Bulls on Parade” with Led Zepplin’s “Rock And Roll”. How did the group go about composing that?

ARLEIGH: Thank you! Everything that we do is really pretty collaborative. I write all the songs, but we arrange them together. So I’ll bring songs in with what I want it to sound like, but we’ll work it out and make it sound dirty or whatever.

That actually happed because we did a cover show. We had our fans vote on an album they wanted to hear us play cover-to-cover. We gave the fans a list of 10 albums and they choose Led Zeppelin IV, which was great. By a landslide, that’s what our fans wanted to hear us play so we learned all those songs.

“Rock n’ Roll” was on there and we were like, “What can we do to make it different?” It came together when were all in a room rehearsing. We really don’t do too many cover songs, but it’s nice to do something different with it. You know – surprise people with it.


MOJO: Do you consider yourself a Led Zeppelin fan?

ARLEIGH: I mean, yeah.  Who isn’t, really? (laughs) I grew up listening to them. Houses of the Holy was one of the first CDs I ever bought myself.

MOJO: On that note, where do you draw inspiration and creativity from?

ARLEIGH: I grew up listening to a lot of… well, my parents listed to a lot of Boni Ray, Little Feat and The Band – that kind of stuff. My parents were also musicians, so they would play on the side for fun or on the weekends. I grew up playing with their band and they played a lot of that sort of old rock and roll, Americana, blues as wall as some funk and soul. I can say that my parents certainly inspired my musical taste a lot.

As far as song writing, I guess my inspiration comes from all over. Recently I wrote a couple songs for my family. I’m the youngest of four so I have a lot of siblings. Family is really important to me. My brother and cousin are both in the band, so were trying to keep it going.


MOJO: Over time the band has played many, many shows. Am I wrong to assume that you’ve witnessed your fair share of odd concert shenanigans? What’s the weirdest or most outlandish thing that has occurred?

ARLEIGH: (laughs) Yes, some weird stuff has definitely happened to us. I’d say the craziest thing that ever happened was while we were we were playing this festival in Johnstown, PA called Flood City Music Fest. It was a great festival. We were playing a cover of The Doors song “Road House Blues.” My brother was playing this awesome harmonic solo and then this crazy woman took her shirt off in front of everybody – and it wasn’t even that kind of festival! She was screaming and throwing beer and then all of a sudden she disappeared. Then she’s on stage with us and she starts bear-hugging Jackson, my brother, from behind while he’s soloing. It was the craziest thing!

To connect with the band, check out Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds’ website and listen their Latest EP Fight.

Fight cover art web

SisterSparrow-01-HiRes-300 dpi

Reflecting on Electric Forest 2014 brings back memories of mystical occurrences, mind blowing shows, and mass amounts of positive vibes. While many may be talking about The String Cheese Incident, or perhaps maybe even Flying Lotus, there is one lesser-known group that deserves to be talked about: Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds. They performed, hands-down, one of the most powerful sets of the weekend.

Wiping up a flavorful mix of blues, rock, funk, jazz, and a hearty dose of soul. Sister Sparrow and The Dirty Birds command The Forest stage on Saturday afternoon June 28th, their set came with an in-your-face attitude and masterful musicianship. It was a quaint stage nestled beneath the pine trees in the northeast corner of the venue, decorated with an elegant blue curtain, gold candlestick chandelier, and a backdrop that looked like the hallway of a fancy palace.

Sister Sparrow logo - hi res

Given the early evening set time, the crowd was lackluster, but the lack of enthusiasm did not prevent Sister Sparrow and The Dirty Birds from performing at 110% and rocking well past 11 (Spinal Tap reference).  Their performance was straight from the heart and it was clear that they let nothing hold them back.

Beginning with an original song entitled “The Long Way” the group’s guitarist, Sasha Brown, started a twisting guitar lick.  His tone was crisp with a hint of distortion.  The guitar line was held under control, yet poised to peak at any moment.  Eventually drummer Bram Kincheloe joined in with a steady bass drum build-up. The rest of the band accompanied the bass drum hits by clapping along.

“Please clap along with us,” Arleigh Kincheloe, The groups singer, addressed the crowd.

When everyone was clapping, the group propelled into the tune, unleashing their groovy spell upon the audience.

Copyright Ryan Tuttle 2013

Copyright Ryan Tuttle 2013

At one point the brass section – which consisted of Baritone saxophonist Brian Graham and trumpeter Phil Rodriquez – came in with a sound straight off the streets of New Orleans. Graham’s bari Sax produced a rich, velvety bass tone while Rodriquez used a plunger mute to produce the squawking wah-wahs  associated with the dirty blues.  Rodriquez eventually ditched the mute and began to serenade the crowd with a soulful vocal like trumpet solo. Graham also added tasteful high hat hits for a few measures before launching the band into the next piece. Launching is no understatement either; the band literally jumped into the piece.

Sparrow and the Dirty bird’s crowd was radiating positivity throughout the whole set. One individual placed a bubble-blowing contraption on the stage- a simple act that produced a mass amount of bubbles, but also produced a mass amount of smiles. Those smiles, along with the soothing grooves of Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds sent the crowd to another level of positivity.


Pulling out what would be the musical equivalent of a rabbit in a hat, Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds performed a combination of Rage Against the Machine’s “Bulls on Parade” and Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll”. Arleigh’s vocals and harmonica player Jackson Kincheloe’s blazing harmonica solo gave Led Zeppelin a run for their money.

Sister Sparrows and the Dirty Bird’s set has left its mark. When the show ended singer Arleigh Kincheloe stayed on stage to speak with the crowd, shake hands, accept compliments, and thank those who stuck around. The gesture was one of a truly caring musician.  Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds delivered a set full of mind-blowing musicianship and massive amounts of positive vibes.

Photo by Tobin Voggesser © Electric Forest 2014

Photo by Tobin Voggesser © Electric Forest 2014

Festival junkies take heed: if you’re in need of a healthy dose of bass, have an insatiable urge to rage, and are looking for an inexplicable good time- Electric Forest is a must see. The festival celebrated its 4th running this past weekend starting on Thursday June 26th and ending on Sunday night, June 29th. Returning once again to the grounds of the lovely and beautiful Double JJ Ranch in Rothbury Michigan, the 2014 installment proved to be a powerhouse of rambunctious shenanigans, great music, psychedelic light shows, and improve – tomfoolery that no one will be forgetting anytime soon.

Thursday – June 26th

Thursday marked the first night of the festival. EOTO fed the crowd a healthy portion of crunchy beats and fatty bass. The sound cut out twice, but drummer  Jason Hann was unphazed,  performing a powerful acoustic drum solo without any amplified sound,  ending just as the PA  came back on to  say “Yeah… to sexy for this PA”.

Photo by Brian Spady © Electric Forest Festival 2014

Photo by Brian Spady © EOTO Electric Forest Festival 2014

Later that night Umphrey’s McGee slayed the stage with their unrelenting lightshow and mind-bending improvisation. At certain points, their set sounded more like an Iron Maiden concert than a progressive rock show.  During their second set, the group performed a stellar mash-up which combined MGMT’s “Kids” , Nirvana’s “Come As You Are” , Dead or Alive’s  “You Spin Me Round” and Rage Against the Machine’s  “Know Your Enemy”. The crowd was in awe; some cheered with delight, while others stood there stunned and trying to figure out where they were.  Later, Brendan Bayliss informed the crowd that, drummer Kris Myers was, “rocking out so hard” that he had broken a tooth…

Indy homeboys Cosby Sweater performed an insanely groovy set during the Umphrey’s intermission, creating an Umphrey’s Sweater Sandwich.  The crowd was unsure at first, but was up and dancing to the funky trio in no time. The trio grooved out hard, debuting their new remix of Escort’s “Cocaine Blues”. Umphrey’s keyboardist Joel Cummins even came out and threw down on a jam.

Friday – June 27th -

Photo by Ben Slayter © Electric Forrest 2014

Photo by Ben Slayter © Ms. Lauryn Hill Electric Forrest 2014

Friday brought the festival in to full bloom. Ms. Lauryn Hill’s set started a bit later than expected, but the former Fugee delivered a performance like none other. Belting out songs with such swagger and confidence, one couldn’t help but think “Damn, she’s foxy.” The soulful performer delivered a tasty mix of originals, Fugee hits, and Bob Marley classics.

The String Cheese Incident set the tone for the evening upon commencing the first of their six scheduled sets for the weekend. Starting off right out the gates with powerful, groovy “Colliding”, the crowd was overcome with an insatiable urge to dance.  Afterwards on a nearby stage, STS9 performed a super- spatial set that transported the audience into a dream world. The vibrant hues of the light show, cover of nighttime, and the chill vibes of the glowstick-covered crowd was the definition of bliss.

Umphrey's MCGee Photo by Brian Spady © Spady Photography

Umphrey’s MCGee Photo by Brian Spady © Spady Photography

Closing the night strong, Umphrey’s McGee once again slayed the stage like no one’s business. The group ended a bit early but the crowd insisted on an encore. The band emerged to perform a three song encore which included a rendition of Pink Floyd’s hit “Time”.

Saturday – June 28th -

Saturday was HOT, in every sense of the word. The crowd seemed a bit mopey and sleepy from partying all night, but were soon up and working off their hangovers through Xavier Rudd‘s ancient ritual of dance.  He impressively played a 12 string guitar while simultaneously playing didgeridoo, making guitar-and-harmonica seem like child’s play.

Saturday also saw a performance by a member of the Marley family, with Stephen “Regga” Marley featuring Ghetto Youths Crew. Stephen Marley saturated the crowd with classic Bob Marley hits, as well as a handful of originals, leaving nothing but positive vibes and smiles in his wake.

Photo by Dylan Langille © Electric Forest Festival 2014

Photo by Dylan Langille © The String Cheese Incident Electric Forest Festival 2014

Later that night The String Cheese Incident performed a set which people are unsure really happened. During a rendition of the piece “Valley of the Jigg” the crowd became a part of an elaborate video game-infused rave party of sorts- complete with Mario-themed stage videos, Princess Peach rope dancers, giant inflatable question mark blocks, Pac Man ghosts, inflatable balls, fireworks, confetti, lasers and more. Anyone in the vicinity had their minds subsequently blown.

Upon leaving Electric Forest one cannot help but be overcome with the festival blues as they realize they must once again integrate with formal society. But never fear; Electric Forest will be back next year, only with new and improved tricks up their sleeves. So in the meantime, if you’re still in need of a healthy dose of bass, continue to have an insatiable urge to rage, and is looking for an unexplainable good time, mark your calendars for next year.

Photo by Tobin Voggesser © Sharewood Forest Electric Forest 2014

Photo by Tobin Voggesser © Sharewood Forest Electric Forest 2014

As the last of winter melts away and spring is set upon us, music fans the world over are joining in a collective daydream of something long lost to the months of cold. It is something loved and dearly missed. It is a sanctuary. It is a place for movers, shakers, and music makers. It is a long travel into the middle of nowhere. At the same time it’s just a short trip into the city. It is drum circle, and yet it’s a turntable and subs. It is an electric guitar, too. It is the great outdoors. It is sunny days and moonlit nights spent dancing under the stars. It is the unmistakable smell of patchouli and shenanigans. What is our dream, you ask? Simply put: Festie Season.

Here at IndyMojo, we’ve undertaken a project to help you decide where your summer mischief will be best spent. We’re compiling a festival roundup of sorts, detailing the ins and outs of America’s best music festivals. By no means should this be viewed as an all-inclusive or all-encompassing guide. Instead, it should be regarded as an informative look into festivals both large and small, created with the intent of helping you find your own unique path for the summer.

Because this is such an immense project to undertake, the guide will be broken up into a multi-part mini-series. For part one of the Midwesterner’s Guide to Music Festivals, the focus will be on festivals located in the heart of our home, the Midwest. Here goes…

1. Summer Camp Music Festival

Summer Camp Photo

When: May 23rd-25th, Thursday Pre-Party May 22nd

Where: Chillicothe, IL

Cost: $212 GA* (tier 2), $33 Thursday Pre-Party GA*

*Prices Include all facility and service fees

Style: Multi-genre focused on jam and EDM

Extra Attractions

Late night barn sets (extra ticket required), musician workshops, community activism workshops, Soulshine tent, and kid’s area.

Things to Know

No car side camping (be prepared to walk with your camping gear). Limited shade in most camping areas, no outside alcohol allowed.

One of the largest festivals in the Midwest, the 14th annual Summer Camp Music Festival will take place this year in Chillicothe, IL. Founded in 2001, Summer Camp has grown from an initial attendance of 1,000 to over 15,000 in recent years and has previously hosted acts such as Moe., Umphrey’s McGee, Widespread Panic, Pretty Lights, The Flaming Lips, Skrillex, George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, and many more.

As for Summer Camp 2014, the lineup has an incredible mix of both organic and electronic music, and one will be hard pressed to find a better combination of artists in once place this summer. To reiterate plainly, this year’s lineup is INSANE: Bassnectar, Umphrey’s, Lotus, Yonder, EOTO, and Trey, all on the same lineup. Say what!?

Some key things to remember, though, there are extremely limited forest camping spots so plan on bringing extra sunshades for your tent and camping area. Outside alcoholic beverages aren’t allowed in the park either, so plan accordingly if you want to get your buzz on over the weekend.

All in all, Summer Camp is one of the must-attend festivals of the summer, especially for those living within a few hundred miles. The acts listed below barely even scratch the surface of the Summer Camp, and there are still more announcements to come. There’s a little something for everyone in Chillicothe this year, head on over to the Summer Camp site to check the rest of the lineup out! 

Headliners (More to be announced)

-Moe. (x3)

-Umphrey’s McGee (x3)


-Trey Anastasio Band (x2)


-Slightly Stoopid


-Zac Brown Band

Deeper Lineup Surprises

-Yonder Mountain String Band


-Keller Williams



-Beats Antique


-The Werks

-The Devil Makes Three

-The Floozies

-Cosby Sweater

-UV Hippo

-Manic Focus


2. Electric Forest 

Sunset over Rothbury, MI

Sunset over Rothbury, MI

When: June 26th-29th

Where: Rothbury, MI

Cost: $265 GA plus ticket fees

Style: Jam and EDM

Extra Attractions

Sherwood Forest, silent disco, numerous workshops, additional curated events in the Tripolee area.

Electric forest is held at the Double JJ Resort, infamous for the whimsical Rothbury Music Festivals held there in 2008 and 2009. Since then, the festival has transformed into a new beast. For the fourth consecutive year, the Double JJ Resort will be converted into the Electric Forest, a vibrant playground for the mind, body, and soul. For those of you who been to the psychedelic Mecca known as EF, it is a sight to behold.

A mulit-genre festival that highlights both organic and electronic music, Electric Forest has top-notch artists from all styles to keep any music lover enthralled for days. Ranging from three nights of Cheese (with one night billed as the Ms. Lauryn Hill Incident) to sets by Xavier Rudd, Papadosio, and The Glitch Mob, there is a musical diversity on the EF bill that will keep everybody entranced. Whether you love jam, electronic, and/or everything in between; you will find what you’re looking for up in Rothbury.

The luminous Sherwood Forest

The luminous Sherwood Forest

Located in the heart of the festival grounds, Sherwood Forest is the optical masterpiece that Electric forest is named after; it comes complete with light, sound, visuals, and all things merry. It is a place of wonder, amazement, and indescribable astonishment that inspires awe to all who pass through it. Sherwood Forest alone is enough reason to go.

Car side camping is a big plus at Electric Forest, you’ll be able to pack a little more without worrying about carrying everything in and out of the festival. As with Summer Camp, though, the camping grounds are in an open field so plan to bring a source of shade.

Headliners (More to be announced)

-The String Cheese Incident (x3)

-Steve Angello

-STS9 (x2)

-Lauryn Hill

-Zeds Dead

-Flying Lotus

-The Glitch Mob

-Stephen Marley



Deeper Lineup Surprises

-12th Planet


-Paper Diamond

-Bro Safari

-Emancipator Ensemble


-Rising Appalachia

-Xavier Rudd



3. Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival 

The 11th annual Bonnaroo, 2012

The 11th annual Bonnaroo, 2012

When: June 12th-15th

Where: Manchester, TN

Cost: $285 GA plus service fees

Style: Multi-genre encompassing all styles of music.

Extra Attractions

Silent disco, comedy theatre, cinema, on-site newspaper, The Academy (interactive arts experience and workshops), poster art exhibit, water slide, Centeroo fountain, yoga, kid’s area.

Things to Know

It’s freakin’ hot! Be sure to stock up on sunshades and water before this festival. Due to the dirt in the air, you might want to bring a gangster bandana as well.

What do Elton John, Kanye West, and Skrillex have in common? They’re all playing Bonnaroo! If you haven’t heard of the infamous ‘Roo yet, you’ve been buried deeper than just under a rock. For 4 days, Manchester, TN is home to one of the most eclectic and headliner-centric lineups in the world. Bringing heavy hitters in from too many countries to count, there’s something there for music lovers of all shapes and sizes.

If it’s EDM that works you up, check out Skrillex, Kaskade, and The Glitch Mob. If you’re big into the indie scene, head over to see Pheonix, The Arctic Monkeys, or Broken Bells. If it’s folk and Americana that gets you going, Neutral Milk Hotel, Yonder Mountain String Band, and Ed Helms’ Bluegrass Superjam will do quite nicely. For you metalheads, Meshuggah and Mastodon made their way onto the bill. Literally, every genre is represented here, and it’s beautiful.

The infamous Centeroo Fountain

The infamous Centeroo Fountain

In addition to the music, Bonnarroo offers some of the most creative extras that one may come across at a festival this summer. There’s a comedy theatre, an air-conditioned cinema, a solar powered stage, a waterslide, a salon (ha.), an on-site newspaper, a beer garden, a silent auction, and much much more.

Remember, though, that it’s almost guaranteed to be a scorcher. Bring out the sombreros, bandanas, and crazy lids to keep cool. Bring the tarps, tapestries, and easy-ups to provide shade. Bring extra gallons of water and bottles sunscreen to keep hydrated and safe. Basically, prepare for a middle Tennessee campout in June. Don’t let us scare you, though. If you’re prepared then there’s nothing to worry about.

After all, you’ll be dancing your ass off day and night to some of the best acts in the world. You’ll be basking in the mushroom fountain in Centeroo. You’ll be raving it up in the silent disco. And, on the ride home, you’ll be calling up your buddies to ask why they didn’t grab a ticket and come with.

Headliners (More to be announced)

-Elton John

-Kanye West

-Jack White


-Arctic Monkeys

-The Flaming Lips

-Neutral Milk Hotel

-The Bluegrass Situation Superjam hosted by Ed Helms

-Superjam with Skrillex and Friends

Deeper Lineup Surprises 

-John Butler Trio

-Umphrey’s McGee

-Slightly Stoopid

-The Glitch Mob

-Yonder Mountain String Band

-Break Science


4. Paradise Music & Arts Festival 

Paradise Music and Arts Fesival 2014

Paradise Music and Arts Fesival 2014

When: July 11th and 12th

Where: Hustonville, KY

Cost: Early Bird, $60, GA at the Gate, $80

Style: Multi-genre focused on jam and EDM

Extra Attractions

25-30 minute professional fireworks show, yoga, workshops, live art/visual performances, hoop troupes.

Things to Know

There are only 500 total tickets available so plan on purchasing yours early!

Paradise Music & Arts Festival is a new kid on the block and a force to be reckoned with. For a first year festival, the lineup is chock full of insanely talented regional and national acts, and it’s near the top of the list for don’t miss smaller festivals this summer. A 2-day festival, lovers of jam, jamtronic, EDM, bluegrass and more will want to call this festival home for the weekend, and it’s looking to be a rip roaring good time!

Set in the rolling hills of Echo Acres in Hustonville, KY, the camping area is scenic and relaxed. The lineup boasts top acts such as: The Werks, Dopapod, Zoogma, Govinda, and Moon Hooch; lending an experimental vibe to this festival. Get your tickets quickly, though, with only 500 tickets to be sold you don’t want to sleep on this one!

Headliners (More to be announced)

-The Werks

-Dopapod (x2)



-Kaleidoscope Jukebox

-Moon Hooch


Deeper Lineup Surprises

-Broccoli Samurai

-The Macpodz

-Blue Moon Soup


-The New Old Calvalry


5. Phases of the Moon Music and Arts Festival

Phases of the Moon Music and Arts Festival 2014

Phases of the Moon Music and Arts Festival 2014

When: September 11th-14th

Where: Danville, IL

Cost: $230 GA plus ticket fees (tier 1), extra costs apply depending on camping location.

Style: Multi-genre focused on rock/jam/bluegrass/funk

Extra Attractions

Tthe Sanctuary, numerous workshops, 170-acre lake on-site, hiking trails, fishing (with valid IL fishing license), and kid’s area.

Phases of the Moon is a first-year, 4-day, all jam/rock/bluegrass/funk camping festival held at the 3,000 acre Kennekuk County Park in Central Illinois. It will be a funky spot for a festival; the property comes complete with turn-of-the-century buildings, prairie lands, and several lakes, and streams on-site. The Sanctuary, and everything that goes with it, is an exciting little tidbit from the festival’s site preview too, head over to their page for an in-depth description of what it is!

Musically, the festival boasts an all-organic lineup, meaning that there isn’t a single DJ on the bill. Be prepared to jam out for days with Widespread (two sets), Bob Weir, Gov’t Mule, and many more. Art will also be a big focus of the festival with interactive sculpture, live art, and performance art playing an integral part of Phases of the Moon. 

Headliners (More to be announced)

-Widespread Panic (x2)

-Bob Weir & Ratdog

-Lunar Landing Conspiracy

-Railroad Earth

-Tea Leaf Green

-Tedeschi Trucks Band

-Gov’t Mule

Deeper Lineup Surprises




-The Main Squeeze

-Moon Hooch


-The Rumpke Mountain Boys

Next in the series: The Midwesterner’s Guide to Music Festivals Pt. 2 : On The Front Porch

griz rebel era

image via Instagram

Producer, DJ and classically-trained saxophone player Grant Kwiecinski (a.k.a. GRiZ) is currently traveling the country on his biggest national headlining tour to date. A brilliant artist at the ripe age of 23, GRiZ borrows the fool-proof recipe of funky, electro-hip hop and makes it his own by adding the soulful special ingredient- saxophone. Check the video below for a behind-the-scenes peek at tour life, then read our discussion on mental organization, his swift rise to fame, recent release Rebel Era (streaming in full at end of post), and how GRiZ is putting the “M” back into EDM.

MOJO: Being on the road so much, always traveling in a car, plane, playing shows five nights a week- how do you keep it all together?

GRiZ: I think you really get used to the chaos of everything. It becomes familiar and very comfortable, so when you actually slow down, you start to get a sense of, “Shit… I need to be doing something. I need to be moving.” It definitely makes it hard to work on music because you don’t have a formal space or personal space with speakers and all the amenities of it. But it does add a little inspiration- all the things you experience, so many different things daily.

MOJO: Is there ever any sense of a regular schedule? Do you have a Zen time of the day where you get to sit down and think to yourself?

GRiZ: You never know when you’re really gonna have a chance to have an hour to sit down and work, other than the mornings, and [then] you never know if you’re going to be waking up at this time or that time. It’s a crapshoot, but it’s totally cool and I’m down with it.

MOJO: What else is required to make sense of the chaos?

GRiZ: My laptop and my tour manager.

MOJO: Let’s travel back in time to Electric Forest 2012- the super-secret set on Saturday night. Do you remember that set?

GRiZ: Hell yeah! I will never forget that.

MOJO: People really started talking about you after that performance. How did the details of that set come together?

GRiZ: My manager at the time has this website called and Electric Forest offered a showcase spot on a secret stage. So those were his set passes he gave away to us. He offered a spot to Gramatik. Then we were just like, “We should play together.” We had a song together and Dominic played saxophone on it and he was there and he was down so, we kind of put it together in a day- the day of, it just kind of materialized- and it was amazing.

MOJO: Would you agree that that was kind of a turning point?

GRiZ: That was one of those moments where things started really coming together in a good way for us. All the things that we had been working for started paying off.

MOJO: And then it was just like the snowball effect and things have been building ever since. What’s been the biggest surprise about your elevated fame?

GRiZ: That I get the opportunity to talk to all these people that were, and still are, my idols. I remember seeing Bassnectar at Lollapalooza in ’09 and just being in the crowd watching it having the greatest time. It was like, “I could do that someday.” Now it’s like, Lorin and I are good friends and he’ll just text me every now and then to say what’s up and it’s like- holy shit.

rebel era grizMOJO: Let’s talk about your new album, Rebel Era. That took you longer than originally expected, did it not?

GRiZ: Seemingly so. My expectations were to put it out two months before it came out. We were dealing with some copyright sample clearance issues. Back in the day you could just put some stuff out, but now that we’re a little on the radar, you don’t want to run into those issues because people are kind of gunning for you at this point.

So that was one of the big things. The other thing is I just want to make sure to get things right- listening to it and trying to make sure that every single little second works perfectly, how I want it to be.

MOJO: That’s another thing that I really appreciate about your work is that you prefer a complete, developed album that you put a lot of time into as opposed to putting a single out every couple weeks. Can you talk about why and how you came to that opinion about the way that you put material out?

GRiZ: I think that the music that I like most has always been presented to me in that way. There’s a lot to deal with in the presentation of a product. I’m trying to convince people this is something great. And that being said, there’s so much that I have to say and so many things that I think about. It comes down to wanting to represent my ideas in the best way possible because to me, it’s worth it to take that time to put together this idea and not to just release half processed thoughts or little, quick sounds. I feel little more respective about everything. Everything has a deep and textural side to it that I want to put out there. I want people to think about it and I want them to play it for years.

lodge detroit griz

GRiZ headlines the Masonic Lodge in Detroit, MI (October 25, 2013)

MOJO: You recently played your biggest non-festival, solo headlining gig to date at the Masonic Lodge in Detroit, your hometown. That was probably pretty fun.

GRiZ: Yea, hometown crowd. There was so much love in that room that evening. It’s hard to describe that feeling. I felt like everyone was vibing in the same way. Everyone was just there in the present moment. It was so thick you could feel the energy in the room. It was unstoppable.

MOJO: Was your costume Elwood Blues from The Blues Brothers?

GRiZ: Yep!

MOJO: And you also had fellow Detroit native Danny Brown on the bill that night. Did you happen to discuss with him that whole situation that went down with Pretty Lights?

GRiZ: No, I didn’t, because that’s really not my matter. I literally had five minutes to talk to Danny. I know that that’s something he’s probably not too happy about. It’s like if you just got a job at a new place and everybody knew the situation was that you got fired at your last job and all everybody wants to know is how you got fired from the last job; that’s not going to make you feel very good.

My whole management and booking talked about it and the implications for us. The way that Derek dealt with Danny- they’re cool, they’re fine. It just wasn’t the right fit for both of them and they won’t make that mistake again and it’s all good. They both create really awesome art in the form of music. It really proves the fact that music is 100% subjective. There’s no objectively good or bad music. It comes down to what people think about it and if you get the wrong crowd to play in front of, sometimes things go bad.

griz still

A still from “Smash The Funk”

MOJO: I know you get asked often about your opinion on the state of the scene right now. People are always trying to predict the next sub category of EDM. But based off of what I’m reading and hearing, I feel like electronic music artists are getting tired of electronic music. People are always talking about short attention spans and getting back to the roots with bands. As an artist who lies somewhere in the middle of those two ends of the spectrum, are you advocating for a renewed focus on instrumental music like psychedelic rock, rowdy folk, and even blues?

GRiZ: I’m just trying to figure out what I want to do with music and I think that everyone is trying, too. It’s hard to just be like, “Yea, this is where I stand on music,” if you don’t really know. I stand completely for taking a little bit of the “E” out of EDM or maybe playing a little bit more of the “M” back in EDM. I stand for musicianship. I stand for mastery of an instrument- whether that is a computer or a synthesizer or a guitar or saxophone- whatever it is. And I stand for quality product, not cheap tricks. I think that sometime cheap music sells millions of copies and kids don’t know it. Chance The Rapper had this really, really amazing line- “Sometimes the truth don’t rhyme. Sometimes the lies get millions of views.” And that’s just how it goes.

MOJO: I know that you have kind of a really badass mustache and I was just curious if you participate in Movember?


GRiZ will perform in Indianapolis on Thursday November 28th at The Vogue, which just-so-happens to be the night of Thanksgiving. So take your turkey nap early and don’t drink too much wine at Grandma’s because you’ve got twice as much to be thankful for this year, including a party in Broad Ripple that I guarantee will keep you moving and grooving all night long.

Thursday, November 28th
10pm / 21+
The Vogue Theater
6259 N College Ave
Purchase tickets here:

Win tickets here:

Detroit, MI (Liberated Music)

Support from:
SUPERVISION (Pretty Lights Music)
Dallas, TX

CHRISTIAN (G9Collective)
Indianapolis, IN