Grieves on his new record, stage fright and moving to Minneapolis

Grieves on his new record, stage fright and moving to Minneapolis

Seattle MC Grieves has been on the road for quite some time. Playing shows in support of his Rhymesayers debut Together/Apart for over a year, Grieves winds down his tour this Saturday at First Avenue for his final show of 2012. We spoke to Grieves about life on the road, and what he has in store for his first time playing the historic venue.

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Prof and Grieves release "Super Scary Monsters" for Halloween

Soundset battled extreme weather at Canterbury Park, 5/27/12

With this Saturday's stop at First Ave being your final show of 2012, how's this year been for you on the road?

It's been a really busy year for me. Putting out this record [last year] on Warped Tour was badass, but it was a two-and-a-half month tour that kept us from going on our typical touring cycle, so we didn't even get to tour the record the way we normally would until late fall. And that kept on through out the year, and then we did Europe stuff. I'm looking at it as a year and some change later, and I'm just now done touring that record. So, it's been busy, but I'm taking this time off to try out some new stuff and I think I've earned that time.

What made you decide to have the final show in Minnesota?

When we came through [last time] we played the Varsity, and I always wanted to play First Ave, I just didn't know if I could do it. When we sold out he Varsity, everyone was like "First Ave, next time, you're doing it." I'm excited, I love coming to Minneapolis. If it wasn't so damn cold, I'd move my happy ass there.

You've mentioned before that Redman was the first MC that inspired you to rap. In terms of live performances, do you recall the first artist that made you want to get on stage?

No, because I never wanted to be on stage. When I started making music, that was the last thing I ever wanted to do, and it took a lot of people forcing me to do it. Which, is weird now [that] I'm so comfortable with it. I grew up having gnarly panic attacks, so if you asked me now to stand up and give a speech, I [couldn't] do it, but I taught myself to manage on the performance side of things. I've learned to just kind of understand it for what it is.

How did you deal with those jitters?

I used to drink a lot. [laughs] I don't drink before I play. I can't drink while I play, it dries me out. If you're playing an hour-and-a-half long set, you're talking the whole time. I encourage anybody to talk loudly for an hour-and-a-half. It's hard, it takes a lot out of you.

Speaking of scary things, this week you dropped "Super Scary Monsters" with Prof. What made you decide to do a Halloween track?

I was in the studio, I didn't have much time, and I made this beat that felt spooky. I put the hook on it first and thought it had a Halloween vibe so I wrote a verse and put it on. I didn't want to do it by myself, then it clicked that Prof would sound awesome on it.

So, being this Saturday is your last show of 2012, is there anything you've been wanting to do on stage all year that you're getting the chance to do now?

No, I've manned up and I've been having some problems with a few songs, [and] it's now me, Budo and a guitar player now. So, I've been able to add some extra things we weren't able to do before. We haven't done this show in Minneapolis, so I'm excited to bring that.

After the show, do you have big plans for the rest of the year?

Yeah, I'll be in California most of the winter, working on a new record. I already have a few tracks done, and I don't want to make Together/Apart again. I want to do something a little different. I want a bit more energy this time around. I always wanted to make Together/Apart, a melodic record with hip-hop sonics. We mixed that record at Blast Off in New York, which is where they did Lupe Fiasco's record and Gucci Mane's. It was cool to bring that style in there and still get a big huge sound out of it.

It wasn't the most energetic record, and I didn't want it to be the most energetic record, but I'd like to put more a little bit energy into this one. This year's been so crazy and filled with so much awesome energy that I want to put that into this new record.

Grieves and Budo perform at First Avenue on Saturday, November 3 with The Tribe & Big Cats and Sweatshop Union. All Ages, $15, 6 p.m.

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