Griff: ‘I just want to feel the extreme of both emotions all the time’

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Griff: ‘I just want to feel the extreme of both emotions all the time’

Words by Brandon Bentley

The spiral is a symbol that can represent many things. For Griff, it’s a journey through life’s turbulent nature. Whether that be the instability of emotions or the uneasiness of living in today’s world. 

On the release of her debut album Vertigo, Griff uses this symbol as a means for exploring herself deeply. “The reason the idea of vertigo stuck and why I named the album this, was because emotional vertigo is a constant feeling for me,” Griff muses. “The physical condition is like losing balance. The world’s spinning and there’s this feeling of dizziness. I really resonate with that.”

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After signing with Warner Records in 2019, Griff released her debut EP The Mirror Talk followed by her first mixtape, One Foot in Front of the Other. After gaining traction online by connecting with fans through her most intimate music, she took a leap of faith by first releasing her debut album Vertigo in two parts. “I didn’t like the two singles then the album thing. That terrifies me.” Vertigo Vol. 1 released late last year followed by Vertigo Vol. 2 this past April. “I’d rather go from this really insular, recoiled feeling to something that’s super expansive and euphoric. Drip feed that feeling.”

Now releasing as a complete collection, Griff looks back fondly on the tough process of crafting her debut. “It kind of felt like starting at the most honest place wasn’t very natural to me.” While developing the album, Griff found that her music emerged as somewhat of a lifeline. “A lot of these songs are old, and a lot of these songs were a bit of therapy for me.” Griff explains.

“Whatever you hear in the album is very honest and autobiographical.”

Over the years, Griff has dealt with imposter syndrome. Dealing with the recurring feeling that her validity in the musical space was being questioned. Add in the pressure of writing, producing and performing, there’s another layer of stress to handle. However, Griff doesn’t let that hold her back. “It’s the only thing I know how to do. I know how to be in my corner, write songs, produce songs, and hopefully the world will see it, right?” 

Her music has always been a saving grace. A way for her to honestly examine her mental headspace and her relationships. She often uses her songwriting to dig deeply into the recesses of her life experience and see how it connects with people. “What I love about songwriting is that I can write it from one perspective and someone else can hear it from another,” she explains.

With raw lyrics in songs such as Into the Walls, expressing her desire to hide away, Griff refuses to pull back. Her dedication to seeing her music through from song-writing to production infuses a part of herself into every piece. One that she can play around with. Cycles, a song that ignites a pop-dance energy, can still be stripped back for her to play on a piano. “It’s about making sure the song’s great and then having fun with the production to reflect what the song’s about.”

When it comes to the heart of the album, there was one clear choice. “Vertigo was the moment where I was like, I know what I’m writing now. I know what the album is now. One big spiral. And I’m constantly spiralling.” As the song builds upon some intense feelings, the bridge spirals into a climax that creates a sort of unsteadiness for listeners. It’s as though you’re right with Griff teetering on the edge and trying to remain upright. 

Riding through Griff’s “journey of sonic” within the remainder of the body, you’re met with rhythmic synths underscoring her emotional and cathartic lyrics. It’s almost like she’s daring you to cry and dance at the same time. “Maybe it’s me being greedy with all the emotions. I just want to feel the extreme of both emotions all the time.” She laughs. 

Now on the eve of the Australian and New Zealand leg of her tour, Griff hopes that fans enjoy a special connection with her on stage. “There’s a lot of fun and a lot of tears to be had. I think it’s going to be like a whole explosion of both, you know.” Experiencing every song in an intimate space, Griff desires for everyone to express themselves unlike they have before. Whether that be through crying to Astronaut or screaming ‘that’s Mexico’ as loudly as possible.

“I want people to feel all of those feelings in a really tangible sense.” Griff continues. “I want people to listen to the album a few times. Give it a chance. Let it live, let it go, let it breathe.”

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