We speak with Gridlok, one of the pioneers of US Drum & Bass and a legend among producers worldwide, just before setting off on his European Tour.
I understand you are about to head overseas on a mini tour.
Yeah, I have a few dates in France, Spain & Germany. I’m also playing the Noisia Invites stage at Let It Roll in Prague. Last year I was there with Prolix for the Project Trendkill Tour and I’m honored that they’ve invited me back. That reminds me… The party is in 2 week and Let It Roll gave me 2 free tickets to giveaway on my Facebook page. I still haven’t picked a winner yet.
Tell us a little about your recent release The Call (featuring Codebreaker) and Bitcreep on Virus.
I don’t know? It’s my first time on Virus in 10 years. [The Call] is a cool tune, Codebreaker is sick. Bitcreep has swingy out of time elements that I’ve gotten complaints from djs about. I DON’T GIVE A FUCK.
Well, the quality you put into your release is apparent and shows that you do give a fuck. In this era of digital production do you still have and use any of your old analog gear?
Every time I take a digital drum and bass mix and start mixing it analog it instantly starts to come alive. All the boring cliches of digital being sterile etc etc etc etc. It’s all true, thats why it’s been debated for years. we WISH it was THAT easy, but not yet.
While your tunes are known to have a futuristic moody, almost cinematic vibe, I sense a subtle difference in each one. Is this on purpose?
I try not to do anything on purpose, it just limits the chance of coming up with something original. When I’m not working on music I spend a lot of time listening to muzak and movie soundtracks and jazz etc, so I guess I like to put those elements in my tunes, especially in the intros and breakdowns where its not roaring with drums and bass.
You mentioned movie soundtracks, do you have a goto movie that you could put on at anytime to get away?
Bladerunner… which I know is the fucking standard electronic music producer answer. Speaking of which I’m pretty stoked about the new one coming out. I believe Mr. Scott put the original film out as a passion project and would not do it a disservice now.
In a recent Facebook post you mentioned forthcoming collaborations with Optiv, BTK, and The Upbeats. Could you shed a little light on that?
All stuff in the works for my next album. The Optiv and the BTK ones are both written out and sounding sick, haven’t managed to link with The Upbeats yet, might have to wait till next time.
Can you talk more about this new album you mentioned?
I’m working on an album for Virus. After releasing The Call, Optical said he’s really feeling my beats and that the door is always open. So for me that meant going deep on a classic LP that stands up to their amazing back catalogue. Right now I’d guess i’m about 75% there. Several of the tracks are already starting to prove themselves in the club.
How do you manage daily life crammed in-between studio life, touring and running your label Project 51?
I don’t. It’s chaos.
While we are on the topic of Project 51, anything in the pipeline?
New music is coming threw soon from SPKTRM, Jamal, Borderline, Meth and Raiden, and a lot of people are excited to hear the new tune from Hive.
Hive, that’s a name we are glad to see back, especially on Project 51, how did that come about?
I had been in constant contact with Mike since he’s been mastering for the label (Project Trendkill LP and MDMX/Concrete). Hive had this killer tune called “Repentance” that was mostly done, it just needed a mix and a few drum sounds and other minor details. I’m happy to say all of that is sorted out and it will be dropping soon. As far as the release being on Project 51, There were other labels he considered, but in the end I convinced him that we would give it the most love and attention.
Mike is the Editor-In-Chief and co-founder of the DNB Vault who, notably, was a long time writer for the now defunct KMAG while covering music and events from Warp Tour, NOFX, Dirtyphonics and Benny Page.