Griffen Handshake – All My Friends Wanna Be Doctors | Modern Punk Mosh
Alternative punk band Griffen Handshake have released their latest mesmerizing rocking song All My Friends Wanna Be Doctors. Hailing from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the band has managed to sculpt themselves a name with their relatable themes and unique sound. Griffen Handshake consists of brothers, Millen (guitar, vocals) and Arjun Schuchert (drums, vocals).
The song contains a neat riff with thundering rhythm guitars forming the canvass. With the bass and drums added to the mix, the sound of the song sounds dense and full. The chorus has a pop punk feel albeit with tuned down guitars. The lyrics deal with wanting to stay true to one’s punk roots. This is in the context of friend pursuing jobs and attempting to live “adult” lives. Something all musicians face as the years catch up with them. Green Day meets The Smashing Pumpkins. Recording and mix engineer Evan Yester has done a phenomenal job on the mix.
The band mixes a grunge sound with the classic pop punk template. We get a very well toned tuned down sound, making the song sound heavy but energetic at the same time. This is a song one can groove, headbang, and mosh to all in equal measure. The style of Griffen Handshake might remind one of bands like Bowling for Soup and Fountains of Wayne but with a sonic signature that is unique. With a modern sound and the core of good pop punk, All My Friends Wanna Be Doctors is as anthemic as Griffen Handshake could have wished it to be.
We get to speak with band about the song.
1. The song is about wanting to pursue an artistic life while society wants you to pursue the standard careers. Do you think society actively discourages these over the standard and more usual profit seeking careers? How do you counter that tendency as individual bands or entities?
I think it really depends on what environment you are in and the people you surround yourself with. For example, I was talking to someone from the UK, and he was telling me the landscape of the medical community there and how doctors are very underpaid. Our song is truthfully not calling out doctors specifically. It’s more so calling out anyone who pushes other people down for being who they are. I’m always of the belief that we all have our own passions and purpose. And it’s important to stay true to that no matter what we pursue in life. In my case, there were some people that said things that stuck with me, who happened to want to be doctors, and that’s why I wrote this song.
2. The song sounds heavy as hell with that pop punk feel. How was the mixing and recording process life for the song, which achieved this tight and fully rounded sound?
We learned a lot after recording our first album, “My Box”. We knew going into the next set of songs that we needed to adjust how we were recording the songs and tweak the whole process as a whole. For instance, one of these changes was to the guitar. Instead of using a regular guitar amp, we plugged our guitars straight into the recording software to give us flexibility on the guitar sound. We also recorded vocals in our basement because we wanted to do that part on our own, rather than being on a time crunch in a studio. We owe so much to Evan Yester, our recording and mix engineer because he was able to shape the sound in a really cool way. He’s also a drummer, so having him there, we really go to hone in how could we make the drums pop as much as possible. John Davis, who mastered our track for us, also did an amazing job and we can’t thank him enough for his work.
3. Please tell us about your gear and what tunings are you using for the song recording?
In terms of gear, we used an ESP LTD cherry red guitar and a Ludwig drumset. The song is in standard tuning.
4. Who are your musical influences? I can hear some Green Day meets We Came As Romans vibes possibly? American classic punk bands or British ones?
This is always a hard question to answer because there are so many. But what it boils down to is we are fans of punk. Anything that has a unique sound to it with a bold message, that’s what we are drawn to.
5. Is there any particular incident that catalyzed you to write the song as such?
I can think of two instances which made this song come to life. The first was I got a text message in a group chat from someone that was joking around about how me and some others were not going into medicine. It was lighthearted and not with any bad intentions. But it’s a message that I have constantly heard throughout my life growing up on why I’m not pursuing something that is more stable. Even as harmless as that text was, because of the accumulation of how much I heard that message growing up, it got to me. And that’s how I came up with the lyrics in the chorus, “All my friends they wanna be doctors, while I’m just a wannabe punk rocker”. For the music of the song, it was inspired from a happier place. It was from our friends in the Pittsburgh music scene. There was one show where we played at Black Forge Coffeehouse II, and people started to mosh during our set. After that show, I was like we have to write a song where people can dance and mosh together. Because of their energy and enthusiasm, the riffs in “All My Friends” came naturally because we wanted to write a song musically for them.
We’re excited to tell this story, but for now, our band name is a secret. Go check out our instagram and facebook pages though. Sometimes we like to post cryptic captions with pictures that may hint at where we got the name from.
7. How do you go about playing live and what is next on the back burner?
We have been playing consistently across Pittsburgh over the last year or so. Venues such as Black Forge Coffeehouse II, Preserving Underground, Mr. Smalls Theatre have all given us so many memories. Our dream one day is to be able to go on a regional tour. And what’s next is we have new music still to come. We are excited to show you all the new songs that we have recorded following “All My Friends Wanna Be Doctors”.