Interview by Arnold van der Walt
American producer, Grabbitz, rose to international fame after his hit single ‘Here With You Now’ gained a following. Even before that and since that release, Grabbitz has gone on to work with some of the biggest names in the electronic music industry such as deadmau5, Boombox Cartel, Pendulum, Faustix, and Pegboard Nerds just to name a few.
A multi-instrumentalist by nature, Grabbitz’ style is ever evolving as he continues to implement organic musicality, dynamic sound design, vivid lyricism and intimate attention to detail in each release. He recently signed to ULTRA as he approaches a new sound, yet again. Grabbitz has excelled in each undertaking from drumstep all the way across the spectrum to more pop tracks, he can do it all.
He released a brand new track today, called ‘Polaroid’ and not too long ago he shared ‘Information Overload’ with the world. ‘Information Overload’ also has an incredible music video that is filled with papercraft stop motion magic while Pierce Fulton’s vocal delivery blissfully floats across the bass-filled track.
We sat down with Grabbitz, and spoke about his latest release, signing with ULTRA, and performing for a single attendee.
To those not familiar with you, how would you describe your sound?
Alternative with an electronic heartbeat. Singing and sometimes rapping, or somewhere in between the both.
You recently released ‘Information Overload’. How did you end up working together with Pierce Fulton?
My buddy Gordon from Botnek were working together one time and he knows Pierce well. He noticed we both had made a transition from dance music to this alternative electronic style, so he suggested we meet. I hit up Pierce and the first demo he sent me was the one that turned into ‘Information Overload’.
What has the response been like since releasing ‘Information Overload’?
It hasn’t earned a platinum plaque yet, so pretty bad.
‘Information Overload’ has a distinct pop sound. What was the thought process behind this?
Pierce and I, with this song, set out to create an old-school meets new-school sound. That’s why we go right from an organic acoustic riff right into new age bass sounds… a beat that is simple, but thumps with a modern edge. Many of my musical heroes have delved into their falsetto vocal, so I decided to try mine here, which I think pops off the beat well.
Take us through your songwriting process. Are there any particular steps you take when putting music together? Do you think it’s advantageous to be a multi-instrumentalist like yourself when creating music?
I think that the more tools you have, the easier it is to create the sounds you’re hearing in your head… or the song you’re hearing in your head. I have no particular or methodical process. Sometimes I know exactly what I’m going for, sometimes I’m just playing. You don’t need to be a multi-instrumentalist, but if you have more tools, you have more boundaries to push.
Gary Numan is quoted as saying: “I have always been far more interested in sound than technique, and how sounds work together, how they can be layered. I think electronic music, (in its infancy anyway) allowed us to create music in a way that hadn’t really been possible before. It created a new kind of musician.” What are your thoughts on this statement?
I resonate with this. I’ve always had similar thoughts about “a new kind of musician/artist”, and what it means to be that. Music doesn’t have to go through endless producers and writers anymore, it can come directly from the artist. This opens up an environment where there are no rules and total artistic freedom, which can push boundaries of what’s acceptable and potentially innovate… Or it could just be garbage.
Studio work and music creation or performing and interacting with a live audience, which do you prefer?
There has to be a balance. I’m dying to get out on the road and get into rooms with people who enjoy my music. When you’re in the studio you create songs, when you’re live you create an experience. I want both.
What has been your most memorable performance so far?
Any of my home town Buffalo shows have been my most memorable. Probably my first live performance with my band last year. It was the first time we did it in front of a crowd, so we were still working out kinks, but man was it a good time, fuck ups and all. My city has really done me well and I can’t wait to give back more.
And which performance would you prefer to forget?
I did a show in Pennsylvania once for exactly 1 person. Chanel West Coast was supposed to headline but she wasn’t there yet, I left after my set and don’t know if she ever came…
You were recently signed to electronic music powerhouse, ULTRA Music. What has this experience been like?
Ultra supports my going against the grain. I want to blur genres and stumble upon something fresh and working with a team who wants to see me do that, is fulfilling.
Is there a specific country’s ULTRA festival you dream of performing at?
The one in Miami. After my performance, I want a Bombay Gin & Tonic with a lime squeezed into it.
Which three albums have influenced you the most creatively?
Just a preface, this is almost impossible to pick, so I’m just gonna list 3 albums that I love. Nine Inch Nails – The Downward Spiral, Justin Timberlake – FutureSex/LoveSounds, Coldplay – Viva La Vida.
If you could collaborate with, or perform alongside any artist, who would it be? And why?
I want to collaborate with Skrillex. I just think we would vibe.
Any new artists on your radar? Which tracks do you currently have on heavy rotation?
Most of the time I’m in creative mode so I don’t ingest a lot of new music, but as of the past few days I’ve been playing ‘Loner’ by Yungblud a lot. Dude’s a beast.
Do you have anything special planned for the near future? (gigs, releases, projects, etc)
All of my music will be steadily released this year, and I’ll be gearing up to get out and play them live.
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions for us. Before you leave, what are your famous last words….
“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”