Griffen Handshake is a Pittsburgh-based band that consists of two brothers, Millen (guitar and vocals) and Arjun Schuchert (drums, vocals). On September 2nd of this year, the band added “All My Friends Wanna Be Doctors” to their repertoire, which will undoubtedly be enjoyed by audiences all around the world. Their new music is a memorable blend of captivating melodies and energetic sounds that are easy to get lost in. As a result, we spoke with the band to learn more about “All My Friends Wanna Be Doctors” and other topics.
SONGWEB: Tell us about yourself and how your work as an artist is influenced by it.
MILLEN: We are an alt-punk band called, “Griffen Handshake”. The band is me (Millen) and my brother, Arjun. We grew up playing music together in our basement, and now we are making original music. What’s cool is I think every songwriter has their own unique way to write melodies and tell their story. And with songwriting, there is no right answer. It’s all about feeling. When we try to write songs, we try to capture our story in some way in hopes of trying to connect it to others.
SONGWEB: Who are your most important artistic influences?
MILLEN: We have so many artists we are influenced by. It’s hard to list all of them. But we have always loved punk and how real and raw it is. And I think punk can be defined in many different ways. It doesn’t always have to be loud guitars and screaming vocals. To me, more broadly speaking, punk can be anything where someone is stepping out of their shell and saying something that is bold and not conventional. Something that is veering away from the norm.
SONGWEB: Where do you get your inspiration and what trends influence your work?
MILLEN: We sometimes get our inspiration from the little things that happen in our day-to-day lives. I remember, the chorus for All My Friends Wanna Be Doctors” came about just because I was upset about a person that I knew poking fun at me and some others who were not pursuing a medical career. And this was over text. That little thing, which was harmless and very insignificant normally, gave me the idea for lyrics in the chorus. If that text message wasn’t sent to me, I don’t know if I would have come up with the chorus.
SONGWEB: Could you tell us about your current project and its production process?
MILLEN: All My Friends Wanna Be Doctors was written pretty fast. The first thing that came to me was the lyrics “All my friends they wanna be doctors, while I’m just a wannabe punk rocker”. From there, we found a chord progression that fits underneath those lyrics. And our whole goal was to make a song that people could mosh to, inspired by our friends at Black Forge Coffeehouse II. So when we were writing the verse, we wanted something punchy and fast. It was actually funny because the first riff of the song and the chorus were so different we had no idea how to piece it together. But eventually, we found a bluesy, punk vocal melody and found a quick pre chorus as a transition between the two separate parts. And it naturally came about from there.
For production, we recorded vocals in our basement. We recorded guitar, bass, and drums with Evan Yester. Evan also mixed the track. And then John Davis from Metropolis Studios mastered our track.
SONGWEB: In what ways has this project aided you in other aspects of your life?
MILLEN: This song has been our favorite to play at our live shows as of late. Just seeing people sing back the song to you and mosh to it, it’s really a special feeling. Even when it’s 3 people doing it. We’re really grateful to the people who have participated in the performance with us.
SONGWEB: Could you define briefly the objective or purpose of your work?
MILLEN: I think the objective and purpose of our work is to help people in any way we can. I think if we can offer a moment of escape for anyone in our live show or have a song’s message really resonate with someone, it would make this worth it. Both Arjun and I, like so many of us, have struggled with mental health a lot over the last few years. And I think in our work moving forward, we want to talk about those feelings and open that part of who we are up to others.
SONGWEB: Do you have any artist relationships, and how do they help you?
MILLEN: They do so much. We play a lot of shows where we are playing with 4 other bands on a given night. And it’s really cool because we get to meet the other groups and get to dance along to their set. And we take inspiration from these bands too because we see things sometimes that we have never seen before. We feed off the energy of the scene very much.
SONGWEB: Describe how we can help you advance your career.
MILLEN: I think one of our main goals is to get the Pittsburgh local scene recognized beyond Pittsburgh. We are so lucky to have a group of bands that are our friends and they mean so much to us. We hope we can bring light to the Pittsburgh music scene and broadcast that to the world.
SONGWEB: What have your critics and collectors had to say about your work?
MILLEN: We’re still working and got a long way to go. I think the reception on All My Friends Wanna Be Doctors has been a step forward for us. Playing live across Pittsburgh has helped us as musicians and creators over the last year. And I think the live music community really made this song come to life.
SONGWEB: How do you hone your abilities?
MILLEN: I have never really been a natural singer. So when I sing, I try to bring out as much emotion as I can. But I think at the end of the day, it’s all about practice and exercise.
-Arjun: My brothers and I used to play RockBand 2 growing up. My instrument on that was always the drums. I feel like I partly learned how to keep rhythm playing that game. And from there, I took lessons and played music with my brothers.
Overall, “All My Friends Wanna Be Doctors” is a captivating tune that immediately makes you want to pound your head. The rhythms are forceful, and the guitar melodies are bewitchingly woven together with sweet lyrics and talented singers. The extremely distorted guitar riff that runs throughout the song is just what anyone looking for in a rock tune. Above all, the song is strong and should be heard by everyone.
Listen to “All My Friends Wanna Be Doctors” by Griffen Handshake on Spotify and let us know your thoughts. Cheers!
You can follow the band here for more information.