GRiZ bears all at the Sonic Bloom Festival

Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

Grant Kwiecinski grew up in Detroit, the American breeding ground for finer electronic music, and home to the Detroit Electronic Music Festival. Having been mentored through classes with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Kwiecinski found his sound in the alto saxophone and has managed to hybridize it with hip-hop samples and danceable electronic beats. His affinity for music evolved into an obsession, and before he knew it, he was supporting a Gramatik national tour and promoting his own music under the pseudonym GRiZ. In the midst of a relocation to Boulder from his home in Lansing, Michigan, GRiZ is gearing up for a late-summer album release and preparing to take the festival season head-on.

Westword: You could sit up at the mixers and just hit play — so what are you doing to change up every show? Basically, how do make each show as much fun as the one before it?

GRiZ: Right. I think that's a great question, especially when it comes down to doing a tour. That's a true test. It's a personal question, too, because you need to ask yourself, 'Am I doing the same set every night? What am I doing?' You're playing a show every day for two months straight. Since you're playing your own music so frequently — and I really respect people who play their own music, or a large chunk of their set is their own music — when it comes to those producers, artists, DJs, whatever you want to call them these days, you think, 'How do you switch it up?'



GRiZ, Sonic Bloom Festival, Thursday, June 21, through Sunday, June 24, Shadows Ranch, 1259 Alvarado Road, Georgetown, $35-$200, www.sonicbloomfestival.com.

My whole thing, to keep myself interested — and you know I'm a huge hip-hop head — I have tons and tons of a cappellas. So I do these live remix mash-ups with my tracks and just throw them in there. You get a little bit of that on select dates, where it's either a headlining show or a bigger-production type of show.

When it comes to those kinds of shows, I'll play my saxophone live. I also think something that makes the whole live performance fun for me is that I love my music. I made it; this is the shit that I get down with, so I can't help but enjoy myself when I'm on stage. That way, it will never get old to me. For myself, I go in there with a blank slate, with all my songs in an open Ableton session. Right up until I go on stage, I just leave it open.

So do you have samples, or just hip-hop a cappellas that you just use randomly?

It will come down to a new track being released, and maybe I can pull a verse from it. Sometimes it's just some dumb shit that I used to get hyped on when I was in high school. I delete a lot of those samples, because music can be so ephemeral, and especially when I've done it for two months, I delete 'em. I used to use [Bassnectar's] "Cozza Frenzy" with a "Where's the Love" sample, and it hit, but I just deleted it. I like to just keep it fresh by cycling through stuff. I know what it sounds like. I'm not going to put an a cappella in that I don't know, but I'm willing to get choppy if I have to. If you're not fucking up every once in a while, you're doing something wrong.

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.