A Swampy Mess: An Interview With Teen Ravine

– By Camille Banzon, Music Editor –

Do you ever feel stuck in a “swampy mess,” where each step buries you deeper and deeper—and at the end of it all, you still get drawn to everything and surrender to its beauty? Teen Ravine from Toronto creates chill pop music that feels like this: a damp blend of chill pop, r&b, and electronic that’s lush and enigmatic.

We sat down and talked with members Dan Griffin and Nick Rose, and we chatted about creating their debut EP after separate traumatic experiences, their influences, and creative beliefs.

How did you form the duo? What made you decide that you were going to form Teen Ravine?

We’ve known each other for a long time but we hadn’t started really collaborating musically until two years ago. We were both working on our own material and started sharing demos of songs that we needed help bringing to life. Eventually we realized that something new was emerging and we decided to give it a name.

How did you guys meet? How would you describe the connection between the two of you music-wise?

Dan was playing music in Hamilton and Nick was playing in Toronto. We would trade shows between our two bands and became friends over time. We had a really similar sensibility so it felt like a natural partnership but the timing wasn’t right until recently.

What hardware do you use to make music?

We keep things really simple and try to find interesting sounds through a lot of experimentation and processing. We have a couple mics, synth keyboards, a fender Rhodes and some guitars. We record in Logic.

We read that the album was a result of a joint therapeutic retreat. How did you guys end up in such a situation?

It was more about trying to articulate certain feelings and experiences.   Similar themes kept coming up in the songs so we wanted to keep pushing forward into those uncomfortable places. These songs are a reflection of where we are in our lives, trying to settle into adulthood, finding emotional intimacy in a chaotic environment.

Any specific highs or lows during the recording/ creating that you’d like to share with us? How would you describe your dynamic as a duo? How beneficial is it to the kind of music you make?

We try to give songs an opportunity to grow into something unexpected. Sometimes that means pushing each other to go further which can be confrontational and challenging individually. One of the best parts about working in a band is that you’re creatively accountable to each other.

How do you feel about being coined as “bedroom musicians?”

We’re ok with it. It’s just another way to describe music as intimate. And ultimately there are fewer barriers between us and the listener.

If you could describe the whole experience, how would it be?


Do you think that the creative process would be a lot different if you were not so unlucky in those circumstances?

Life is always throwing good and bad things at you…the hope is that we keep learning to channel it into something productive and empathetic.

Major influences? As a duo and individually?

We’re always exploring new music, but we definitely have an ongoing love affair with R&B like Brenda Russell, Luther Vandross, Sade. Recently we’ve been re-listening to a lot of early Paul McCartney again too.

Were you always drawn to electronic and chill-pop? Are there other genres that you thought of exploring?

There’s something about the merger of digital and organic sounds that seems to resonate with us right now. Maybe it’s because of how intimate our relationship with technology has become, but it seems natural to reflect that in music too.

“Hall of Horrors” must be our favorite from your released songs. We love the slow pace and how sultry the bassline is. Will you tell us the story/inspiration behind it?

It’s about a feeling of lying in bed alone, drunk and disoriented. Drifting in and out of past memories. It’s a kind of euphoric experience.


Why “Teen Ravine?”

Because we’re all in this swampy mess.

What’s in store for Teen Ravine for 2018?

We’ve got some exciting things coming soon. New music and more shows for sure.



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