INTERVIEW: E. Grizzly
Hi E., welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
I’m good. I’m on the road in Seattle now. Got a nice hotel with a view. Life is pretty great.
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “My Bad”?
This had more to do with the video. I had a Mac that was giving me problems. Then it wouldn’t even start and it was collecting dust. I love the movie Office Space. Of course. And I wanted to Office Space this computer. The video was inspired by the movie. The song My Bad matched the video.
Did any event in particular inspired you to write this song?
Oh yeah. It’s a song about fucking up. I’ve made a lot of mistakes. I’m trying to take responsibility for the wrongs that I made.
How was the film experience?
I got to smash a Mac with a baseball bat. It was nice. My good friends Alex Halpin and Moira Katz filmed it. We’ve done a few video shorts in Philly. We have a good time with it.
The single comes off your new album Felipe Pupo – what’s the story behind the title?
I was supposed to start this band with my good friend and bassist Jason Pupo. We came up with the idea together. We wanted to be an English reggaeton calypso punk band. We just thought it would be fun. We were talking about it for months. Then a day before our first practice Jason Pupo passed away. Me and Scott Labenski finished the project but I want Pupo to be a part of it. So it’s called Felipe Pupo. He will always be in this band.
What led you to make a concept album?
Most of it was inspired by Pupo. Having a good friend die so suddenly is heavy. This album is about how you can live with trauma like that. With the ghosts that haunt you. But it’s a not a funeral, it’s a celebration. That’s why it sounds like a Caribbean punk dance party.
What role does Philly plays in your music?
I’m from Philly. I live there so it always plays a role. The Philly punk scene is dope. The Philly hip hop scene is dope. Sick bands. Sick MC’s. It really forces you to make good music. You can’t just half ass stuff. You won’t get any shows.
How did you choose which other genres you would be blending with Hip Hop and so on?
It was just trying to have the most fun possible. I’m Puertorican. I grew up on salsa, merengue, bachata, reggaeton, cumbia, afrobeat etc. 70 year old salseros are my favorite musicians. It makes me happy to see old men still living out their dreams and having fun. They inspired me to experiment with Caribbean and African rhythms. Me and Pupo played in a rock band before too called Alukard so it was an easy transition. The idea was making music that you can dance and rage to at the same time.
Does one genre tends to shine out the most depending on the lyrics’ theme?
Any thing that’s really up tempo. The fast punk stands out. The fast reggaeton/calypso beats stand out. Everybody is a sucker for up tempo stuff. It keeps the energy high.
What aspect of ghosts and the supernatural did you get to explore on this record?
It’s mostly about the memories that haunt people. The memories are the ghosts. Even if you see or hear a ghost it’s most likely there because of a traumatic memory that imprinted itself in reality. That’s why you see ghosts doing the same things or wearing the same outfit. It’s like a memory that never died.
Any plans to hit the road?
I’m on the road now. Doing shows in Seattle this week. Off to Miami next week. I wanted to celebrate this release with my old band Alukard. We all loved Pupo a lot and it felt right. The singer from Alukard lives in Seattle and the rest of the band lives in Miami. I’m going to play with all of them.
What else is happening next in E. Grizzly’s world?
The physical release will be on December 17th at Everybody Hits in Philly with Moor Mother, Carl Kavorkian, Hirs and Static Bros. It’s actually a triple release. Me, Carl and the Static Bros are all releasing new stuff. I’m playing with a band that me and Scott Labenski put together. Scott produced most of the instrumentation on Felipe Pupo. He’s sick with it. But I’ll be practicing with them a lot until we get our set perfect. Then I’ll be doing tons of regional shows with them next year along the east coast. I’ll Probably do a hip hop release next year too so I can have new material for my hip hop set but I’m going to progressively leave the classic hip hop genre and just do the Felipe Pupo thing. I have dreams of being an old salsero so I’m a have to start working on that. My Spanish is terrible though so I would settle with just being an old blues player. But yo thanks for having me and showing me love. I wanted to share the Felipe Pupo story with the world and you are helping me. It’s very much appreciated.