GRiZ (dub)steps upWritten by Mighty Wyte (Matt Feher) | | firstname.lastname@example.org
As electronic dance music (EDM) has grown in popularity, artists such as Skrillex, Diplo and Pretty Lights are becoming larger-than-life producers who entrance voracious audiences.
One such EDM artist, GRiZ, is well-respected for his soulful and funky writing style and seamless integration of dubstep. The 22-year-old Detroiter has taken his love for production and turned it into a career. GRiZ, who will appear at the Clazel Theatre in Bowling Green on April 11, talked to Toledo Free Press Star about his recent rise to success and his goals for the future.
GRiZ’s fascination with music began at a very young age and he continued to pursue music through adolescence.
“I remember burning out my family’s VHS copy of ‘Fantasia,’” GRiZ said. “After that I learned how to play saxophone in 5th grade, and moved on to playing in bands. At one point I was introduced to [digital audio software] Fruity
Loops and that’s when I started getting into making music on a computer. That was a crucial moment for me because it was at that point you could make music and save it, go back and fix things and replay it.”
While attending college at Michigan State University, GRiZ started DJing.
“I was DJing around Michigan State and posting music on SoundCloud and this was before Diplo and Skrillex. It was a small open source thing and it was cool because it was just a bunch of people making and sharing music,” he said. “I actually routed my first tour via SoundCloud. I based where I’d play on SoundCloud fan messages.”
GRiZ developed his own recognizable sound; categorizing his music is a challenge.
“I would call my music electro-soul or future funk,” GRiZ said. “It’s more funk than hip-hop and more party than chillin’ music. Humans like to categorize things but this is all electronic music.
“I’m a huge fan of everything, I knew going into music that I was a fan and that I liked different styles. When you listen to my music you can expect to hear a lot of different stuff. A big chunk of it is where my heart lies, in the 90-102 bpm range, in the head-noddin’ hip-hop tempos. I like to blend slowed down funk music with that. That’s where you’ll hear the electro-soul future funk.”
GRiZ said he is not content to spin only electronic music.
“I love finding old tunes that I fell in love with and mashing them with stuff I wrote. I’ll start the set off with a groove and increase the intensity as the concert progresses. I’ll get into mid-tempo ranges and make the move into the heavy jump-cutting stuff. I skip the house music tempos most of the time because they’re hard for me to get into, but by the end of the show I’ll be focusing on the dubstep tempos, the 140-145 range.
“I’m going to spin music, but I’m also going to play sax over most of the songs I’ve recorded. On the live cuts and edits I’ll play a little, maybe solo and play some old remixes and mashups.”
GRiZ’s success did not come without risk. While in college, his music provided the chance to tour and play for a wide audience.
After talking to his parents about taking a semester off from school, GRiZ took the leap.
“You can only ride the coaster up once,” he said. “I had one shot and took it. I put everything on hold and lived on ramen, pasta and tuna for a year, just making music.”
GRiZ is now enjoying his reward.
“I’m always playing shows, or driving, doing interviews or keeping up with management. That’s why I’ve been going to this studio in the mountains to work,” he said. “I don’t get phone service or Internet up there so I’m not bothered by anything else, I’m just workin’.”
For more about GRiz, visit the web site www.mynameisgriz.com.