Grizfolk Talk Motorcycle Culture and Finding Their Roots on the Road
The journey is the destination for Grizfolk
The journey is the destination for Grizfolk. The quintet sing of vagabonds, bounty hunters and angelic saviors, while the melodies explore a warm place where folk meets electro pop. Vocalist Adam Roth pairs raconteur spirit with arena depth, supported by drummer Bill Delia and guitarist Brendan Willing James. The band juxtaposes this ramblin’ man sound with electronic splashes reflecting the pop sensibilities of Swedish transports Fredrik Eriksson and Sebastian Fritze. Through their sound, the band’s love of travel and in particular, motorcycles, shines through. There’s a palpable sense of manifest destiny in the band’s sweeping, heart-sparked anthems; a reverberating echo of forward momentum powered by joyous discovery. “We’re on the road all the time,” says Fritze. “As a traveling band, we have a set goal. We have to be at a destination at a certain time. Everything in-between is up for grabs. That’s our time of freedom.”
The road is an adventure, and Grizfolk embrace the lifestyle, whether kicking up dust on the track or exploring blue highways. “Fredrik and I are Motocross riders,” says Fritze. “It’s all about getting out on the tracks and having fun.” The band’s Harley-Davidson photo shoot allowed the guys to play around and ride a Harley-Davidson® Forty-Eight® model, a classic reborn for a new breed of riders. The iconic gas tank, introduced in 1948, has been outfitted for a new generation with better seat, better suspension and new lightweight mag wheels. “Comfort is really a priority,” says Fritze. “I like a loud motorcycle that has torque. I want to feel it. I like the power.”
The beginnings of Grizfolk trace back to 2011, following Roth’s relocation to Los Angeles from his native Florida. Roth and drummer Delia were playing in folk rock act La Vie, and Roth met Eriksson while pulling double duty at a music production house. The two clicked and following Eriksson’s introduction of Fritze, the three began jamming, combining Roth’s love of Americana with Eriksson and Fritze’s love of synth and house, honed from years of Swedish production and DJing. The band’s first incarnation was Griz Adams, a cheeky homage to the fictional 70’s TV character, the burly and bearded frontiersman Grizzly Adams. The title was also a reflection for the band’s mutual wanderlust and passion for the great unknown. “We’ve never toured on a bike but that would be awesome,” says Fritze. “We should have 5 bikes and a bus behind us to lug gear. Living in Los Angeles, the PCH is such a nice road to ride. I take my bike up to the mountains and camp around Mount Diablo. You hit the peak and have the Sierras beneath and the Golden Gate to the west.”
Keyboardist and Grizfolk synth man Sebastian Fritze’s love of bikes began early, inspired by his father’s passion. “My dad owned a bike,” says Fritze. “He always took me out on rides when my mom didn’t want him to. He bought his bike in the early ‘80s. He told me that he could choose between a Harley Sportster and another bike. They were the same price and he always regretted, to this day, that he didn’t get the Harley. I regret it too, because that bike would be mine now.” The Harley-Davidson Forty-Eight® is a survivor, an old guard favorite challenging stereotypes of what’s possible on a Harley-Davidson.
Grizfolk has also smashed conventional wisdom regarding folk, genre-bending as their sound harnesses house energy with complex and personal lyricism. Their music is a new breed, a giddy, freewheeling reinvention tailored to a young generation sick of cabin, crying-in-your-whiskey folkies. After cultivating a dedicated local fan base, the Grizfolk buzz built with their breakout single “The Struggle,” attracting the attention of Virgin Records, who quickly signed the band. From there, their journey as road warriors began with a high-profile tour supporting Brit-poppers Bastille. Much has changed and life is hectic, but Grizfolk is taking it in stride. “It’s a really cool time for us because we are super busy, always growing and working with new people,” says Roth, acknowledging the opportunity the band had to spend the day with SPIN and talk about their love of bikes. “When you think about a motorcycle you think about a Harley,” says Fritze. “There’s no other brand that comes to mind.”