The mysterious Grant made a major blip on our radar with this debut LP, The Acrobat, this year. Hitting a real deep house nerve that only Frank & Tony know how, he has sought to separate himself from a past-life alias through the small and specific label, The Lauren Bacall, which has had a short run of equally deep releases. Grant fuels a very slow-burning fire, which he intends to keep as such through his excellent ear for real, serious and patient dance music. After putting together an hour-long mix, of deep and jazzy tones (tracklist below), he also took the time to answer a few questions we had about the LP, the sound and the future.
Grant – The Acrobat LP is out now on The Lauren Bacall.
Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions. Your LP, The Acrobat is quite a serious deep house record. It seems to operate on a depth that is quite scarce outside of the usual suspects like Frank & Tony. Which sounds and artists did you have in mind when making this LP?
My main influence are late 90s / early 00s house, labels like Guidance, Deep4life, Svek, early Plastic City, Driftwood, Prescription, Balance….I can go on and on, but you get the idea. Deep, atmospherics house, tracks that are not flashy by any means but definitely stand the test of time in my mind.
You’ve said you see yourself more as a DJ than producer. How long have you been playing records seriously, and how has it informed your work as a Grant?
I have been buying and playing records quit obsessively for close to 15 years. I definitely have a record buying addiction that has made me broke more than once haha. But in the end it is worth it. All this influenced the outcome of Grant, and it took me more or less all that time to have the confidence to release music that I feel deeply linked too.
If you ever start DJing as Grant, what are some of the records that wouldn’t leave your bag?
Like I said I have been DJing for 15 years now and records that always find a way back into my bag are by artist like Darand Land, Jeremy, Ront Trent, Spectre-Callisto….just to many to mention really.
Where did this music first start for you as a producer? What evolutions in sound – if any – have you gone through?
Basically it took me 15 years to refine my production skills and have the confidence to put out a record that reflects my taste. So a long road, but one that was worth taking.
Throughout this 15 year journey, have you ever found it a problem trying to find places that accommodate such a deep sound within dance music?
You totally hit the nail on the coffin…especially as musical trends come and go over my career, some periods have not been welcoming to this type of sound. It takes a lot more patience, it is not immediate music with breakdowns and build ups etc. You need to commit to enjoy and most people have an attention span so short these days that they don’t give it a chance. That being said, I feel fortunate enough to have enjoyed many great events with like-minded music lovers and artist who made me feel I was doing something right.
In making The Acrobat, was there a particular piece of production equipment that really solidified the theme you were going for?
I worked a lot with Roland 808-909, Prophete, Blofield and then hardware processing via Tubtech and Cuture Vuture. Not to follow the trend of the all analogue thing, but the album was indeed made out of the box with editing in the Daw, which was as essential as editing the tracks in the right way. It can really make a difference and is an important part of my production process.
The record sticks together but also has its own very distinct moments. Are there any tracks off the LP you reach for more than others when DJing now, or is it still too early to say?
Well the album is clearly for the DJs, nothing downtempo or interlude. So I have played all the tracks out multiple times, but maybe if I have to choose three it would be those who got the most air time:
‘Cash & Cary’
What were the intentions behind The Lauren Bacall? It seems to be quite a small, cosy operation.
It is indeed. The basic idea is to release music freely from my close friends and myself who share the same taste.
Is there a specific objective or meaning behind the aesthetics and themes of the label?
I love the aesthetic of that era of Hollywood Noir. Incredible style, art and ideas came out of it so it is great source of inspiration to play on.
The label has only been going a short time, with pressings of each release being quite limited. Where do you see the direction of the label going?
For now we are continuing at this pace, putting out records when we have material to do so. So no grand plan of world domination just yet ;0
We understand that you were keen to separate Grant from your other music projects, but why was it important for you to start from scratch with this alias, with no connection to previous reputation?
People have tendencies to categories everything and once you are stuck in one it is very hard to get out of it. As an artist I find it normal to change and evolve style over the span of your career, especially when it goes for over 10 years, but the public is usually not very flexible in that sense. I wanted to showcase my music to fresh ears, so I don’t get judged even before the first beat sounds.
Now you’ve had time to observe the results of this anonymity, have you achieved what you set out to?
Well so far yes the experience has been quit successful. I was able to to expose my music to new audiences and hopefully let the music do the talking for me.
What’s up next for you? Any more releases before end of the year, or plans for touring?
Well we have one more LBC release out in December (REF 06), with two new artists involved – AVA and Bardot – and my first ever remix of one of them. We’re also planning LBC 07 for early 2016. In terms of touring, I should be doing my first Grant dates in upcoming months. My record collection is itching to hit the road, so promoters get on it and get in touch hehe 🙂
29.00: Bardot – Dachstock / LBC 06
36.00: Grant – Demo 2
45.00: Grant – Demo 3
64.00: Grant – Demo 4