The Australian indie-rock band The Griswolds formed back in 2012 in Sydney, Australia and since then have supported bands such as Walk the Moon, Django Django and San Cisco. The four-piece band recorded their debut album Be Impressive in 2014 with producer Tony Hoffer (Fitz and The Tantrums, Arkells, M83) and found massive success with singles “Beware The Dog” and “If You Wanna Stay.”
When asked about the sound on the band’s sophomore album High Times for Low Lives, lead guitarist Dan Duque-Perez relied on his mom’s words saying, “My mom said it really well, and she knows nothing about music. She said, ‘I couldn’t tell if your first album was you or a million other bands. With the new album, I’ve never heard music like it. I know it’s you.’”
The Griswolds have been touring the U.S. since February 2017 with supporting act DREAMERS. The shows have been “selling like hotcakes,” according to drummer Lachlan West, and the guys just released a slew of tour dates back at home in Australia.
“To be on the other side of the world and have people singing your songs back to you, it’s the best feeling in the world,” Lachlan says of performing in the States.
Dan and Lachlan sat down with DuJour to chat about High Times for Low Lives, other possible band names the guys came up with and who they’re listening to now.
Were there any other band name possibilities for you landed on The Griswolds?
Lachlan: The Griswolds was taken from the National Lampoon movies. We also considered being called The Chevy Chases.
Dan: A Weekend at Bernies.
Lachlan: Either way it was going to be an 80’s reference because we all grew up with that.
How do you think High Times for Low Lives differs from your first album Be Impressive?
Lachlan: I think we put more pressure on ourselves for this second album. You’ve got your whole life to prepare for your first album and then like, a year and a half for the second. It’s definitely a different ballgame.
Where did you write the album?
Lachlan: We booked an Airbnb out in Australia in the middle of the bush for like four months. We had no distractions and we could make noise all night.
Dan: It was a real crib. An outdoor swimming pool, sauna, barbecue, it was great. The upstairs was super Australian and then the downstairs was like a chateau. It was cool.
Lachlan: There was no reception there so we had to hike a mountain to get any reception to send a text message. It was kind of nice though because no one could bother us while we wrote.
What inspired you while you were there?
Lachlan: Musical inspiration is anything we listen to. Today was Action Bronson, could be Slayer tomorrow or the Beach Boys. With this album, we wore our influences a bit harder on our sleeves. Our producer on the album, Andrew Dawson, is known best for writing and producing songs for Kanye West. It was great because if we wanted to pursue a certain hip-hop beat, he was the guy to make it happen.
Dan: He was the loveliest guy on earth. He’s just a music lover. He looks at music the way a five-year-old kid looks at a brand new bike. He would work 14 hours straight and not be worn out.
How did that relationship develop?
Dan: Our record label kept sending us indie-rock producers and we weren’t really interested in that for this album. We started listening to all the songs that we thought sounded super dope. Andrew Dawson’s name kept coming up attached to everything we liked. So we wanted him to mix it and engineer the record, and our record label got in touch with him and he loved it.
Lachlan: It was definitely weird being in his studio and looking around at a Destiny’s Child Gold record, three Kanye West Platinum records, all of the Grammy awards; it was crazy.
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
Lachlan: We’ve never stuck to anything. We used to have the four-way push-up which is pretty self-explanatory. That’s good fun, but lately we’ve been doing the quote from Cool Runnings, “Feel the rhythm, feel the rhyme, come on Griswolds, it’s bobsled time!” We say it with a Jamaican accent.
What would you be doing if you weren’t in this band?
Dan: I would still be working at the accounting firm I used to work at. I reckon I’d be running the place now.
Lachlan: I like to think I would be an alligator. They have good, pointy teeth. I have an alligator head that I keep in our tour van; it’s name is Eric.
What is a band or artist that fans would be surprised to know you listen to?
Lachlan: Well, Dan’s first concert was Van Halen. I grew up in a Beatles household. Right now though, Beyoncé’s album Lemonade is my jam.
Did you watch Adele’s speech at the Grammys when she won Best Album? She basically gave the award to Beyoncé.
Dan: That is awesome. Adele is so great. She’s doing it the right way. There’s not enough artists like her, keeping it wholesome and just making good music. “Rolling in the Deep” is one of my favorite songs. The rhythm section is just sick.
Lachlan: She definitely seems like one of the best role models for any young person making music.