Truancy Volume 58: Grinch

Grinch came to our attention in the beginning of this year with the release “Chapter 1” on his imprint Grinch Productions. Since its inception in 2011, the label has been an outlet for the work of him as well as his close friends. His 2012 release was indebted as much to dubstep as techno and straddled the two worlds with a grace few artists possess. He painted a barren scene, which had character that came from harsh noises and space. This isn’t a new concept but the way in which he tackles music is rare and commendable. He calls Connecticut home, though his current musical tastes pull him toward New York. In this city he frequents parties and clubs such as Turrbotax and The Bunker, which are renowned for the care they take in booking talent. When he’s not listening to music until the wee hours of the morning, he’s finishing up his Audio Engineering degree; he is someone with a lengthy musical background and production chops to back it up. Not to mention that he’s an outstanding DJ, and now behind the decks for our 58th Truancy Volume. During our chat he talks about how as a DJ he wants to take the listener on a journey, and we guarantee this mix will do just that.

Truancy Volume 58: Grinch by TRUANTS

Hi Woody, what have you been up to since the release of “Chapter 1”? “Well, we released another “Element EP” in early September by a new artist named Tenebare.” Is there a story behind that? Is he friend of yours or a local talent? “He’s a friend from Ireland whose production I really admire.” That’s far away from Connecticut, how did that relationship start? “We actually met through a friend that lives in Holland, who he was dating when I was in Europe one winter.” You said ‘we released’, does this mean the label is a joint project? “Yeah, it’s a joint project with another artist from Europe, who goes by Thinker. He was on the A-side of our first release.”

Since there was there was a Chapter 1 does that mean there will be a Chapter 2? Is this part of a series? “Haha, no the next one in the series is going to be called “Page 1”.” That’s clever. Are you going to delve deeper into the sounds you explored on “Chapter 1” or will this be something completely different? “Most likely it’s going to be deeper, but staying in the same realm – broken techno style beats.”

The influence techno has on your music is pretty clear, is that something you grew up with? “I grew up listening to a lot of hip hop and rock, but when I started college I really got into electronic music. I pretty much jumped around, listening to different forms of techno and four-four beats for the better part of four or five years. During those years I got to see a lot of the artists I had been listening to.” What kinds of artists were you listening to? “Well, when it came to hip-hop I started off at a really young age with groups like Public Enemy, Beastie Boys and Wu-Tang. In the years following that I started listening to rock – Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana, The Verve, and Sublime were artists I listened to a lot. When I was in high school my first electronic music exposure was to drum and bass of the late nineties, so people like DJ Dara, Ed Rush, and Optical / Dieselboy. I’ve really been all over the place. As far as techno goes, Richie Hawtin and the Minus crew were a big influence, especially Ambivalent and JPLS. That’s probably where I get most of my influence from.”

So you’ve kind of taken in a large chunk of the spectrum, do you feel that gives you an open mind when it comes to producing? “Definitely, when it comes to producing there’s nothing that I’m really opposed to. The only thing that I try to stay away from is making music that is boring and doesn’t get any kind of emotion across. Have you become comfortable in your sound or are you still developing your style? “I think I found the style I’m going for. I’m pretty comfortable with this style because it doesn’t confine me to one genre. I started off making four – four tunes, but I can make anything from techno to DnB now.”

Kind of in the same vein, when did you start producing and what’s your background in music (training and education)? “Well, in grade school I played the alto saxophone, African drums, and bass drum in band in addition to being in a mens’ acapella group. I didn’t start producing and DJing until around 2006.” So from early on music was an important part of your life. Do you incorporate any live instrumentation into your productions? “I haven’t as of yet, but I recently picked up an acoustic and electric guitar to start using in my productions. I’d also like to fix my sax, so I can sample that. Other than that just synths really.”

Who are some are some of the artist you’ve been feeling lately? “Recently, I’ve been listening to a lot of minimal DnB from artist like Data, Clarity, Fracture, ASC, and Consequence. Some other artists, as far as bass music is concerned, are Jon Convex, Boddika, dBridge and Pearson Sound. Also, Flying Lotus’s new album.”

That was a beautiful sounding album. Let’s talk about DJing for a little bit. You host a radio show on RWD FM, what’s your approach to DJing? “I try to start in one place and end somewhere totally different. I can’t really play one genre for two hours anymore, it just gets boring and I don’t enjoy myself. For the past few months I’ve been starting with hip-hop and ending in the DnB realm. DJing that way feels like its a progression or journey – like you’re riding a roller coaster, rather than just going through the motions.”

You’re based in Stratford, Connecticut, is there much of a music scene there? “I’m in Connecticut for about three to four days a week and the rest of the time I’m in the NYC area. The music scene in Connecticut is pretty rough and ruthless in the sense that people know what they want to hear if they don’t get it they aren’t very happy. I had people tell me to play dubstep during a 2562 track.” So it’s a bit militant (not in the UR way)? Is there any wiggle room or is it basically pop music and faux-house beats? “That or ravey electro and brostep. There is an underground community that appreciates the music I play, I just have to go out and find them. It’s really about touching base with the people who enjoy your music.” Are there any nights or clubs you’d recommend? “As far as Connecticut goes I haven’t played out or gone out here in awhile, maybe six months or more, but in Brooklyn I frequent the Bunker parties at Public Assembly and the Turbotax parties at what used to be The Cove. They’ll be starting at a new location at the beginning of next month.”

You’re not the only one that’s mentioned New York, it’s quite healthy at the moment. Do you have any long term goals music wise and for the label? “As far as long term goals I’ll be finished with audio engineering school in April, so I’ll be able to spend much more time working on music and growing the label. Right now I have two more EPs from new artists that haven’t released music on vinyl yet: Humble Dinosaur and P. Jay Fry. I really only have plans to put out more music and there isn’t any sign of slowing down, as long as we have the funds to put out the records. There will also be another release from Thinker too. So there are three EPs coming soon.” Sounds exciting, it’s great to see more small US labels crop up. “We also have a free digital only EP coming out around December since GRP is already one year old.”

And you’ve done a mix for us, what does it sound like? “It’s completely composed of tunes released and forthcoming on GRP or by artists under GRP. So tunes from Thinker, Tenebrae, Humble Dinosaur, P. Jay Fry and myself. Pretty much everything in the mix is out or will be in the future.”

Lastly, what’s your drink of choice? “I would have to say Grey Goose and Cranberry.”

Jonathon Alcindor

Writer & Techy. My word is bond, whatup doe? Twitter,

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