Sydney natives The Griswolds burst onto the niche Australian music scene in early 2012 with no-frills indie rock jingle, “Mississippi.”
The foursome has since played major festivals like Big Day Out and Homebake, and after a May 2013 gig in Brooklyn – their first show on U.S. soil – they signed with Wind-Up Records.
The Griswolds will open for Walk the Moon, the band behind light-hearted jams like “Anna Sun” and “Shut Up and Dance,” on April 16 and 17 at the 9:30 Club. The Hatchet talked to drummer, surfer and self-proclaimed Beatles fanatic Lachlan West about the band’s quick ascent, party antics and criss-crossing the United States on tour.
How did the four of you meet?
Lachlan West: We usually tell people that we all met on Tinder, but that’s not quite true.
We were all just playing in bands in Sydney before this. We weren’t too happy with the bands we were playing in because they were all crappy hard rock bands. The Sydney music scene is pretty tiny, so we all played shows with each other’s bands … and we just decided to start something fresh and new.
You guys have only been together for three years and have already had a ton of success. (Their latest single, “Beware the Dog,” spent four weeks on the Sirius XM Alt Nation Alt 18 Countdown, and Rolling Stone nominated the song Best Video Clip and Single in 2014.) What does that feel like?
LW: It has been pretty quick, as opposed to other bands who have been together for three years. We basically started touring internationally within a year, which is kind of crazy. I think it’s a different trajectory than most bands. It’s been pretty awesome … We’d all been playing in bands for a long time before that and not been getting much love for it.
Who have you been listening lately?
LW: We love Bear Hands. We played a festival with them last year in Kansas and ended up sharing a green room together, and let’s just say shit got a little weird. We love those guys. After that, we listened to their record a few times and fell in love with it.
The new Drake record is on high rotation with the band at the moment, [but] we listen to a lot of old music. We’re all kind of old metal heads at heart.
So we have Iggy Azalea, Tame Impala, Vance Joy and now you guys, too. How does it feel to have some major artists from Australia taking the United States by storm?
LW: Some of our favorite bands are Australian bands. INXS was one of the original first bands to make it to the world stage from Australia, so that’s got us inspired from seeing their successes. We idolize those guys.
We played Firefly festival last year in Delaware and ended up hanging out with Vance Joy there. It was just great to see Aussie faces and see people you recognize from the other side of the world.
What do you miss about Australia, and what do you like most about the U.S.?
LW: Friends and family is the biggest thing. If they could all be over here with us now, I think we’d all be in heaven. Apart from that, I’m a surfer, so I miss the beach. I know there are a lot beaches here but we’re currently in Indianapolis, which is one of the more landlocked cities in the whole country.
What we love about America is the sheer size of it. It’s incredible, especially for touring. In Australia, the population is almost exclusively coastal. The middle of it is uninhabitable, so no one is there. So the fact that we can tour over here for two months straight, playing all those major cities, and in Australia we can tour for like two weeks and get all of Australia done, so it’s kind of crazy.
Do you have any funny stories from being on tour?
LW: I’m not sure legally how much I can say. We’ve had some good times. One of the most memorable times was in Florida. We had been driving for like two days straight [and] we finally saw the ocean for the first time in about two months. We were so excited, we didn’t even check into the hotel. We … jumped straight into the water because we had been missing it so much. We later found out that it was like stingray and jellyfish-infested waters that we should not have swam in. But we were OK.
How would you describe the band to someone who has never heard your music before?
LW: Let’s say dirty pop.
Do you have a favorite song on your album?
LW:I think “If You Wanna Stay” is probably my favorite. I think it’s a good indicator of what the album songs like, sort of a medium of all the different types of songs.
The music video for your hit song, “Beware the Dog,” features a kind of horror red riding hood. Where did that idea come from?
LW: We were getting video treatments from directors, sort of ideas for videos to make [and] we just weren’t really happy with any of them. So we sat down and came up with the idea. Mainly [lead vocalist] Chris came up with the horror-ish film idea.
What was it like playing festivals like Firefly and Bonnaroo last summer?
LW: We absolutely loved it. We had so much fun. At Firefly, it was a surprising crowd for us. We didn’t really expect to see that many people because we played at midday or 1 [p.m.], sometime stupidly early for a festival, and there was still a huge crowd. We were taken aback by that. That was massive for us. So we loved Firefly. That was great.
Bonnaroo was interesting. We had a great time there and got to see a bunch of great bands, but we basically flew from Australia to L.A., picked up a van, had to drive straight from there to Tennessee, and then partied like crazy because we had been in a van for three days. And then had to play the next day, in the morning, and we were so hungover. We just played the worst show we’ve ever played. So it was a little disappointing with the set, but we had a good time.