Infusions: Grant mixes the soundtracks of filmmaker Spike Jonze

We’ve been curiously watching Grant’s ascendancy since his debut album in 2014. Now the idea of a secret identity has moved from a novelty to an accepted norm, focus has fallen fully on his productions, combining a classic US house reverence and a presentation somewhere between Frank & Tony and Lobster Theremin’s housier stable. Fresh off the back of his second album, we’ve invited him to explore some wider musical interests for our Infusions series. His name choice, both personal and for his first label The Lauren Bacall, makes so apologies for Grant’s interest in classic Hollywood films, but this Infusions theme looks to more contemporary works.

An extensively accomplished filmmaker, Spike Jonze has helped popularise the world of skateboarding on film through his work producing all the Jackass films and TV series. Away from his four-wheeled passion, he has also directed Her (2013) and Being Her John Malkovich (1999), while his music video credits include Jay-Z & Kanye West – ‘Otis’, Arcade Fire – ‘The Suburbs’, Ludacris – ‘Get Back’ and Fatboy Slim’s iconic ‘Weapon Of Chioce’ with Christopher Walken dancing round a hotel. Here, Grant mixes 45 minutes of his movie soundtracks and goes in depth about his theme choice.

Can you tell us a bit about your Infusions theme? What does it mean to you and why is it significant to you as a DJ and music lover?

The mix is made out of original music featured in various movies soundtrack from Spike Jonze. His filmography spans such a wide variety of styles from his beginning in the skate scene with the classic skate movie Video Days, all the way to indie hits such as Her, to twisted blockbusters like Wolf of Wall Street. Spike Jonze has this distinctive style that really speaks to me. He manages to stay true to his indie routes, never compromise to the mainstream yet he is widely successful on global scale. With this mixtape I wanted to put the focus on to his music curation which is genius as well!

Did you compile and arrange the mix with anything in mind?

I wanted to really put forward the music selection of Mr Jonze’s filmography. So many memorable tracks. The hardest part was to decide what to not include in the mix.

Any standouts from the mix you’d like to give special mention too?

Joe Bataan – ‘Aftershower Funk’. One of the most know track from this amazing latin jazz artist from the 1940/50’s in the US. Classic that never get’s old.

Group Home – ‘So Called Friends’. This track appears on one of the best hip-hop albums of all time. Hard to choose a favorite track from that album but this particular song features Guru one of the best voices in the game if you ask me.

Why do Spike Jonze’s films make such an impact on you?

I guess being more or less from the same generation, I grew up along his art. So many references he alludes to feel close to home, on top of that skateboarding being a huge part of my youth. I discovered his work from his humble beginnings and I’ve followed his work since then.

How do you feel he uses sound to enhance his visual art?

In the skate videos back in the days, I liked certain parts more because of the soundtrack to it. It would enhance the skaters’ tricks a lot for me. I would press replay on VHS just to listen to the music sometimes. In his movies I find he gets the balance right, where the music does not over power a scene but just carries it with the right intensity. Obviously because of my involvement in music I pay intention to the soundtrack more, so that rule does not 100 % apply to me. I find myself getting distracted and need to come back to a scene to focus on the movie from time to time.

Classic hollywood is clearly a big inspiration on your creative exploits. Aside from the names and imagery, how have you incorporated its sonic qualities into your music?

If there is any link sonically speaking. Maybe I would say the slow paced action you would find back then, where movies would take the time to develop slowly. I guess this can be felt in the fact that I touch on the deeper shade of things.

Congrats on your recent album. Would you say there’s much of an influence from movie soundtracks in that one?

Not intentionally at least. That being said movie soundtracks will always influence me in my work in the big picture. This album takes influence from the the deep house movement coming out from Chicago or Detroit in the late 90s and focuses on more melodic baselines and atmospheric ambiances.

What was the thinking behind starting up a new label to release the record? What’s your plans for the label in 2018?

I wanted to have a platform where i have total control over every aspect of the release
and be able to dabble in various style along the line. Also having creative control on the artwork is very important, since the label is also going to be a platform where I plan on releasing various merchandise such as artist focus zines, books, textile and so on. The second release DD002 is a collaborative album I produced with Dan Piu. It will come out early 2018 on triple vinyl, with this incredible artwork then the first book from the same photographer who shot the cover of DD002.

Anything else on the horizon you’re excited about?

Yes I am currently working on the opening of a coffee shop / roasting facility, which should see the day of light sometimes early 2018. Coffee is also one of my many passions , so very exited to be able to share that!

For more Grant on STW:
Stamp Mix #52: Grant
Premiere: Grant – ‘Social Standards’

Premiere: Grant – ‘Awful Truth’
Premiere: Grant – ‘Scatered Knowledge’

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