Arts & Culture / Mosaic / Music / Special Topics / March 6, 2013

One student with two projects makes music a priority

Sophomore Griffin Belzer plays with his band Of The Fact from La Crosse, Wisconsin. (Courtesy of Griffin Belzer)

Sophomore Griffin Belzer plays with his band Of The Fact from La Crosse, Wisconsin. (Courtesy of Griffin Belzer)

For sophomore Griffin Belzer, music is a priority.

While he balances his life at Knox, Belzer plays guitar and sings for his band, Of the Fact. He also hones his interest in hip-hop and dance beats under his label GRYFN.

Of the Fact is located in La Crosse, Wis., and has been together for almost four years. Belzer has been playing guitar since middle school and was in another band before forming Of the Fact.

“We wanted to make a whole new band that had nothing to do with what we had done before, and we wanted to really take it seriously rather than just jamming in our garage or something,” Belzer said.

Of the Fact’s style can be described as “pop punk” but could also be grouped into “scene.” The band derives inspiration from punk bands from the nineties, as well as bands like Blink-182 and Third Eye Blind.

The other members of the band live in La Crosse.

“I’ll record stuff here and send stuff back for them. Over breaks we rehearse, record, play shows, stuff like that,” Belzer said. “It’s definitely difficult and it kind of sucks because we’ll go two and half months at a time without rehearsing … it’s hard to get anything done.”

Still, the band appears to have made it work and is gaining a lot of attention locally. The band released their first single in September 2012 and received acknowledgement from other bands in La Crosse. The response was “overwhelming,” Belzer said.

“The first time we recorded … it was crazy to see how far we’ve come in terms of our sound and songwriting … it’s really exciting,” he said. “We’ve been talking about touring … but I’m just focused on recording.”

Meanwhile, Belzer has been focused also on his solo project, GRYFN. He also DJs on campus.

“I’ve always liked hip-hop, but I never really got into it for lyrical content or rapping. … I started off trying to do some DJ stuff … I just really fell in love with hip hop instrumentals and making stuff that people will want to rap over and just making it sound really cool,” he said.

Belzer said that it can be difficult to divide his time between his academic and musical interests.

“Sometimes I just have these creative surges and create for days at a time because I’m inspired. … I have to balance [school and music] well because [I] get off track when I have a lot of ideas,” he said.

Though Of the Fact and GRYFN are different types of music that require different types of attention, Belzer spends an equal time on both and enjoys both alike.

“I love all sorts of music and I love being able to play rock music and play live music …  but [GRYFN is] very different,” Belzer said. “It gives me something to do and a way to make music when I’m not with the band and writing with them.”

GRYFN has been releasing music for about a year and released a mixtape on March 1. The tape is a collection of work that Belzer is most proud of. GRYFN’s target audience is mainly Internet surfers and local rappers, Belzer said.

Belzer seems excited about his debuts and hopes to continue creating mixtapes and performing live.

“I want to get more well known and get a bigger presence and work with a much more established audience,” he said. It would be really cool to work with rappers that people know. The bigger the name, the more exciting.”

Of the Fact plans to put out an EP this summer.

Belzer said he wants to “continue to get more of a following. And continue to make music.”

Tags:  Blink-182 DJ Griffin Belzer GRYFN La Crosse Of the Fact pop punk scene Third Eye Blind wisconsin

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Kate Mishkin
Kate Mishkin is a junior majoring in English literature and minoring in journalism. This is her first year as managing editor, after having served as co-news editor and co-mosaic editor. Kate is the recipient of two awards from the Illinois College Press Association for news and feature stories and one award from the Associated Collegiate Press. In 2014 she won the Theodore Hazen Kimble Prize and Ida M. Tarbell Prize in Investigate Journalism. During the summer of 2014, she will be interning at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

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