“printer friendly is a computer rock project by griffin ashburn”
I came across this line in the Spotify bio of (printer friendly), and it succinctly captures the essence of their music. The album Theodicy features a unique blend of lo-fi rock songs infused with electronic elements that add a distinct flavor to each track. Unlike many other lo-fi slacker rock songs that often sound similar, (printer friendly)’s songs are characterized by a distinctive style and feel that is hard to find elsewhere. From start to finish, I was thoroughly engrossed in the upbeat and energetic melodies, which were accentuated by various experimental twists that kept me on my toes. Listening to this album was a refreshing and enjoyable experience that left me wanting more. I look forward to revisiting these songs and blasting them at full volume while I work from home, reveling in the freedom to listen to whatever I want, however, I want.
I have reached out to Griffin to get answers for our 3 Qs.
What inspired you to start making music and what keeps you making music?
I have always found the most fascinating (and unique) aspect of recorded music to be the experience of moving through and witnessing the imagined “spaces” that form in one’s head while listening. While visual art and literature can evoke a similar sense of physical location, I find recorded music to allow for more creativity and a greater depth of variety, unencumbered by the sorts of physical or syntactic constraints that exist in other mediums. Because the spaces aren’t tangible or “real” in any strict sense, they can be nebulous and nonsensical – there’s the potential to create experiences fully distinct and dissimilar to anything in the real world. Sometimes the scene can feel faded at the edges and incomplete. Sometimes it can feel all encompassing and approach torturousness. I started learning guitar and getting into production more seriously when I was nineteen with the goal of creating unique and fascinating places for the music to exist in.
What was the most challenging thing in your music (artistic) path?
In case it’s not abundantly clear, I tend to overcook and overstuff my tracks a bit. I have an extremely hard time leaving sections bare and open. There’s some sort of mental block for me, surely stemming from an insecurity with the lyrics. As such, I tend to bury my vocals, with them oftentimes overlapping, generally suffocated by layers upon layers of instrumentation. I just don’t know when to stop adding new parts and tend to “work in two’s” a lot while recording, where one panned element will always have a related accompaniment in the opposite channel. It tends to spiral out of control quickly. While this complexity is always used for effect and is meant to be at least a little bit disarming, the songs almost always approach the “too busy” line – oftentimes shooting waaay past it to the point of unintelligible clutter. I’m working on this though! While the record’s still a bit too overstuffed, it’s not quite as bad as some previous projects, and what I’m working on now (hopefully) feels more pointed and intelligible. For the first time for me as well, time synced lyrics for this record are available to view on streaming.
What would you dream to do if anything was possible?
It’s a pretty simple and practical one, but the hope is that someday income from production work, streaming royalties, merch, etc. can eventually get to the point where I wouldn’t have to work this bunk ass retail job I have now. I don’t think the path towards that is necessarily (printer friendly) – I don’t really have much of a head in the numbers game, and the payout scales of streaming services aren’t exactly encouraging – but I’ve been having a ton of fun the past three years working on the project, and don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. This past year, I’ve done a lot more production work for other artists and friends, which has been incredibly enjoyable and a (nicely) creatively challenging experience. I helped produce a few singles and mixed four records, all of which were a blast to work on, and certainly paid a hell of a lot more than streaming royalties.
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