Griffin Hawk Millwee is also known as griffin.h.m. is a talented musician based in Austin, Texas. His music is a quintessence of a sad soul, summer mornings and those moments when you carelessly bike through the alleys in a little town. Well, at least these are my associations. These are the perfect songs to listen to during the rainy days or early mornings somewhere in July. Griffin not only writes his lyrics but he is also one and only behind the beautiful sound. He writes his music by himself and when I learned about it I was truly surprised because his songs have such high quality! I pictured at least a few people and honestly, a manager behind Griffin’s album “Schiele“.
Read the interview to learn a little bit more about Griffin, his music and creative process.
How would you describe yourself as a musician? Your music is beautiful yet sad, do you think you’re a sad person or it (music) is only a certain part of your emotions and experiences?
Thank you kindly! Sad, not so much. I’m sentimental to a fault, and I have a chronic fear of impermanence, though in full, I am a very happy person. I do think that the music reflects melancholy, though. Each song is a love letter. Words chosen with calculation and care. Whether it be a fondness, a heartbreak, or a memory I’d like to convey through the lyrics, I aim to texture the songs instrumentally to encapsulate the feeling.
Do you make everything yourself?
It’s all me and my little shelf of equipment ! : )
Is music your profession or just a side project?
It’s what I know and what I will do so long as I am roaming the earth. I’m interested in teaching, but would find instant content in a musical profession. I think that the process of meticulously recording, EQ’ing and listening back to a plethora of mixes for one song at a time is truly my means of catharsis. It’s never easy. Each song is first a cherished idea, but it’s not complete until I absolutely can’t stand hearing it anymore.
Do you feel awkward listening to your songs?
Upon completing a song, I tend to listen to it repeatedly through the evening on which it’s finished; checking for minor background noises, line delivery, etc. Though once that first evening is past, I tend to feel pretty awkward when hearing myself. My sweet girlfriend teases me often by playing my music as she knows it drives me crazy. But that’s love ❤
What instruments do you play?
I began with the guitar at roughly 7 years old, though in total, I play the guitar, bass, piano, and I know my way around electronic automation (producing). I’ve been thinking about picking up the flute sooner than later
For me, your songs are a complex design with different sounds, deep beautiful lyrics and it all makes perfect sense when I listen to a song, every bit fits perfectly. How do you write your music, how do you “design” it? Is there a certain process you follow? And what comes first – lyrics or music?
Thank you a million! Hearing that means everything to me. The process of building can vary. More often than not, it begins with a guitar track. I’ll add subtle keys or bass lines when necessary, EQ [equalizing], then export a file to listen to over some days. I’ll hum a rhythmic melody alongside it until it’s just right. Then comes the tricky part – lyrics! Rhyming and syllables, my enemies!
Where do you find inspiration for the lyrics?
My busy mind which knows not how to shut up.
So do you carry any notebooks for favorite lines or words? Or do you write lyrics only when you need them?
No notebooks for me. When a lyric or even a simple melody comes to me, I typically record a voice memo through my phone.
Tell us more about your latest song “woolgathering”. What was the inspiration behind this song?
Woolgathering is about someone being lucky enough to have somebody once familiar, then far away; now near and present, there to guide them through a tumultuous time and state of mind.
And what about your album “Schiele“? Why this title, is it a reference to Egon Schiele?
Indirectly, yes! “Schiele” is the name of the avenue in which my direct family and I first lived together. The avenue was named after Egon Schiele. I began making Schiele about two years ago, starting with the song entitled “Forty Five”. At the time, I remember feeling whole and complete in terms of how I wrote the song, feeling that I’d accurately expressed what I’d wanted to. As time went on, I gravitated towards a specific idea of carrying the sonics of “Forty Five” and composing a short album out of them. Minimal, guitar based, no percussion, no synths. I see the songs like small vignettes, brief accounts of times past. This is also why you may notice a large dark green vignette on the cover.
You said this album is about friendship, your personal experience. How did you feel after you finished the album? Relieved?
I don’t know about relief, but I did feel a soft calm.
Do you plan to film any music videos soon?
If my humility will allow me! I’d love to do a video, though I would want to plan everything out far in advance with specific equipment in mind. If I was as cool as Solange, I’d do one in front of a webcam, but this is not the case.
What’s your dream project or ultimate goal music-wise?
In plain, all I could hope for is that someone out there, doesn’t matter who, can find solace in a song, maybe even in a singular line. It’s a busy, crowded, unpredictable and overly competitive world; I just want people to feel a little less alone.
Thank you Griffin, for the interview, photos, and beautiful music!