Ever wonder what it would sound like if The Shins, The Kooks, Interpol and Modest Mouse created a good-looking musical baby? Cue Grizzly Business.
This San Diego-based band (made up of Walter Ayllon, Matt Burke, Corey McComb and Brian Vilven) are creating waves with a much needed poppy-go-lucky sound that makes our ears happy and forces us to move side-to-side without even trying to.
DiscoverSD recently sat down with Walter, Matt and Brian of Grizzly Business to talk about their rise, the San Diego music scene and the future of the band.
DSD: How did you get started as a local band in San Diego?
Brian: Well, I am from University City, Matt is from Santee, Walter is from Chula Vista and then Corey is from the Santa Barbara area. This current lineup has been two-and-a-half years.
Matt: Let me untangle this in my mind. We had a cover band, me and Walter. I met our old bass player over at Hamilton’s and I was in a band. He told Walter we needed a guitarist and then us three went from there. We threw a bunch of members together, and then eventually the four of us, me, Walter, Cory and Brian came through.
Walter: Brian was playing The Casbah with his band at the time, and I went up to him to tell him how much I loved them. From there, it was just a big mix of all of us random people.
DSD: Has it been easy for you guys to rise-up in the San Diego music scene?
Matt: It’s definitely doable to succeed here. There’s the idea that you’re supposed to move to one of these places like L.A. or New York. I think the internet - although we’re probably not the best at using this “internet” - is like the ultimate thing to do. It makes it where anyone can be from anywhere and make a name for themselves if they get their music out the right way.
Brian: One of the things we are really fortunate with is how many awesome venues there are here. You could look at that as a positive or negative, because you’re competing for those shows, but in a lot of cities there’s only a few venues, and that would be even tougher.
DSD: Your guys’ last album was your 2015 self-titled album, “Grizzly Business.” Are you working on something new this year?
Brian: Yeah, so one of my best friend’s from my childhood [is] Michael Bokosk. I’ve played music with him for a long time, and he’s an awesome musician. He’s been building up gear and a recording studio for a long time and he’s finally got all the pieces in place to have a home studio. We are his first project or band he’s taken on at this studio. It’s been a learning process for everyone involved and we’re kind of like, the guinea pig band. We have five songs.
Matt: He’s like really naturally good at doing this for his first time. He has just been trying to make us feel comfortable. Michael is really good at that and has let us just experiment with different stuff.
Brian: Michael’s got a great ear, he’s super talented and he’s also super humble.
DSD: When will it be released?
Walter: September is our goal.
DSD: What’s the vibe of your new album?
Matt: I felt that drum-wise it was very tom heavy, a lot boom. It’s got a very poppy, likeable sound to it. It’s bright-colored, and has a bright vibe.
Walter: What I’m most excited about is the use of piano on this album. We used a lot of piano and background vocals, too. I’m a huge Dr. Dog fan and that’s a lot of background vocals so we’re implementing that and trying to get them singing too.
Matt: Yeah, I really like Creed so I’m trying to incorporate them onto the album too. laughs
Brian: For this one, a lot of it was figured out in the studio. We had a lot of ideas and had played a lot of the songs at least once or twice live to get the feel for them. In terms of arrangements and all that, though, nothing was set in stone when we walked in. We had access to this beautiful grand piano in the studio and if it doesn’t work, we dispose of it. No idea is a bad idea.
About the brew
Tiger!Tiger! is a beer pub located off El Cajon Boulevard known for having a killer craft beer tap list, creative food and a community-focused feel. The owners of this establishment also own Blind Lady Ale House and Automatic Brewing Co.
3025 El Cajon Blvd., North Park. tigertigertavern.com
DSD: Who are your favorite local artists to go see?
Brian: The album The Verigolds just released, I listen to a lot. I’ll go down to the beach and listen to the whole thing through. Craig, their drummer, is the most supportive musician in San Diego so it’s really easy to support those guys.
DSD: What’s the long-term goal for Grizzly Business besides making it big?
Walter: For me, if my kid knows that I used to play shows around San Diego that would be really cool. It shifts a lot. When we started we thought if we could play The Casbah that would be the epitome of awesomeness, then a year later we got to do that. I would be super thankful if we got to play Coachella or something. I try to keep them short-sighted, and I’m just thankful that we get to do this.
Matt: It’s just growth. It’s steps, not an elevator and goals change with each step. I think, what would 18-year-old me think of 25-year-old Matt? I wouldn’t think I’d be where I am already and 90-percent of musicians don’t get to do what we get to do.
Walter: It’s funny how if you’re starting a business, people are like “that’s really cool” and supportive of it. In a band, you do it and you kind of feel like you’re not allowed to be proud of it even though you use the same principles to build a band.
DSD: It’s because music is abstract... There’s a stigma that you’re doing something risky when you play music.
Brian: Right, If we go to Lestats and are on a computer emailing out to set up shows for eight hours, people are like, “Get a job,” and it’s like, I am working.
DSD: Who are your biggest musical influences?
Brian: Rodger Waters is a huge one for me and Matt Stoermer, the bassist of The Killers.
Matt: Beck is my absolute hero of all time, and I want to be everything he is. He is the bomb.
Walter: Steven Malkmus from Pavement and Britt Daniel from Spoon.
DSD: What’s your biggest pet peeve?
Matt: Cigarette butts, people not using their blinkers, laundry, adult-ing. I live in a small studio apartment and I feel like anytime I eat a bowl of cereal my kitchen is dirty, so that too.
Walter: I don’t like smart phones. I have one now and I don’t like the culture of being on your phone all the time or putting yourself on the internet all the time.
Brian: I really hate improper grammar usage but even more so than that, I hate the grammar police.