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The Griswolds' Kanye West connection

AAP logoAAP 16/11/2016 Danielle McGrane

Sydney band The Griswolds worked with music royalty on the follow up to their debut album Be Impressive.

They lived up to the title of the record, managing what so many Aussie bands have tried to do and charted in the US, a place they've also toured extensively.

For their second album they decided to take some risks and collaborated with Kanye West's mixer and producer Andrew Dawson.

It's a collaboration that came out of the dreams of the band's singer Chris Whitehall and lead guitarist Daniel Duque-Perez as they sat and listened to their favourite Kanye album, Dark Twisted Fantasy.

"We both just love the production on it. It's insanely creative and free. He (Dawson) wasn't restricted by rules in the way that he produced. Andrew mixed that album and produced it and wrote some stuff on it as well," Whitehall told AAP.

But the idea was to get Dawson to mix the album, not produce it. That was a job they had already paid people in advance to do.

"We definitely had a bunch of different guys in mind and had people locked in and Andrew was on our wishlist to mix the album. But he came back to us saying 'No, I need this album. I want to produce it. I want to mix it. I want to do the whole thing. I'm going to cut my fee in half. I love the demos, I love everything about it. Let me have this album'," he said.

Faced with this plea from a Grammy Award-winning producer who has worked with Beyonce, Kanye West and US band fun. it was a no-brainer for The Griswolds.

They told honest stories about the darker side of being on the road and were influenced by classic Motown sounds, R 'n B, old-school hip-hop and modern artists such as Kendrick Lamar, Tame Impala and, of course, West.

The only catch was The Griswolds had to share Dawson with West, as he worked simultaneously on the rapper's last album The Life of Pablo.

"Andrew was doing finishing touches on Pablo while we were in the studio. He was still getting calls from Kanye and still having to re-work things and finish things because Kanye is a nutjob when it comes to the way he works," Whitehall said.

Miraculously for The Griswolds, West's incessant tweaks didn't hold back their creation.

They've just released their second album, High Times For Low Lives, an ambitious album that pushed them into different territories traversing genres such as funk, soul, psychedelia and indie rock.

"We really did go into it consciously thinking that we wanted to take a few more risks and we didn't want to stay in the safe zone of being another indie band, or rock band," he said.

"We don't want to sound like another candy-pop indie band."

* High Times For Low Lives is out now

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