As on of North America’s foremost faces in the global dubstep circuit, DJG has had a fantastic couple of years. In 2010 he released Voids One & Two, a double album exploring the balance between ambient dub territory & his distinct brand of rolling, sub-heavy dance music. Oh yeah, HE GAVE IT AWAY FOR FREE. Easily one of 2010′s hilights, the San Franciscan is pushing forward through 2011 – he’s one of Bass Coast’s most anticipated headliners & for good reason; anyone who’s seen DJG perform cannot resist his intoxicating brand of bass-heavy body funk. Amy Kirtay managed to snag some words with the one Dean Grenier…
This spring you embarked on a tour of the UK and parts of Europe and gave fans a peek into what you were getting up to via your website. How did you enjoy the tour?
It was amazing! A really cool adventure. I met some incredibly wonderful people and played some sick gigs and got to see a bit of the world including countries I never thought I might visit. Can’t complain.
Did you get to play at any unique venues while in Europe?
One that comes to mind was this place in Poland in a city called Gdansk, essentially where World War II started. The venue was located in this abandoned shipyard, literally only a few feet away from houses that still had bullet holes on them from the war. It was quite a weird place to be raving.
I really like how you journal (through writing and photos) on your site because it seems that not all artists want to have a strong internet presence. Do you find yourself journaling for the fans or is it something you do more for yourself?
I think if I thought of it from the perspective that it was for the fans it might paralyze me, and to some extent it still does. But no, I just put things up there that I think are interesting or inspire me or little tidbits about what I’m up to. I think it’s important to reach out to people who might be interested but otherwise I think it’s best not to patronize people.
Actually, and on that note, there’s a quote on your site taken from an interview with BVDUB that I think is pretty brilliant:
“I think likely the main reason my music is built on repetitive passages is that my mind is built on them. I think just like my music sounds; one thought loops over and over, becomes more and more intense, and layers of more thoughts build on top of it, until it often becomes so consuming I sometimes literally forget everything around me.”
Does this quote sum up how you feel about your own production or is it just a quote that resonated with you?
I think maybe a little bit of both, though in the case of BVDUB’s music it’s probably a little more obvious. I certainly think I love working with loops, layering and energy. I also think of writing music as a way of getting lost in something that takes you somewhere else. This quote is definitely very cool to me.
When I listen to your music, I hear influences from some of UK’s dubstep innovators (Mala, Coki, Pinch) and in fact whenever I’ve seen you live I’ve heard you play throwback tunes from the early days (well, early as in early 2000’s.) Were you inspired by that collective of artists when you initially started producing or was it just a natural sound progression as you developed as an artist?
I would have to say the DMZ guys and Pinch and all the original dubstep producers had a huge effect on me, absolutely. Going to London in 2007 and hearing dubstep played by all those guys at a DMZ night in Brixton was really the beginning of DJG for me, so obviously that style was something that excited me. When I write tunes I don’t try to sound like any of those guys but I definitely think I’ve written music that can accompany their stuff in a DJ set maybe, naturally because I am a DJ as well. But lately I think I’ve tried to steer away from doing the UK dubstep thing, if only because ultimately I don’t live there and I think it’s really something one should draw influence from and apply in your own way.
Last year you released 12 previously unreleased tracks in two parts, Voids One/Voids Two, that fans were able to download for free (or pay what they wanted) on your site. What was the motivation behind this release and what do you feel it did for your career?
You know, I think it might make more sense to people if I were to say that it was all very calculated and strategic but I mean it when I say there was nothing even slightly cynical behind my reasons for doing Voids – I really just wanted to share this music with people in the purist way possible, from me to you. Plus I had a feeling about that music, it was all somewhat personal and I wanted it to be presented in a certain way and I knew if I went through a record label things might get distorted. I knew it was a risk, and some people told me it was foolish to give away that much music, and part of me did worry it might go unnoticed if only because there is so much crap being given away on the internet. But I honestly couldn’t have asked for a better response and looking back on it now I see just how much it helped my career, which to me is only a secondary gain. I’m just so happy people got to have all that music and that so many people seem to enjoy it.
Do you have a track that you’ve personally produced that stands out as a definite favourite?
No one has ever asked me that and I really don’t know. But it’s probably something off Voids.
If you were going to recommend some new music to us, any genre you like, what would you tell us to go and listen to?
Hmmm, well I can tell you I’ve been really enjoying a few new albums over the last few weeks by Zomby, Washed Out, The Weeknd and Tim Hecker.
So the main reason we get to chat today is because you’re going to be playing at Bass Coast Project Festival happening in the woods just outside Squamish, BC. How stoked are you for the festival?
So very very stoked. I played the first year of Bass Coast Project and it was one of the hilights of the year for me, and possibly one of my favourite DJing memories. I just can’t wait to be up there again and see everyone from BC who have been such an inspiration to me personally and musically over the last few years.
I know a few people have mentioned to me that they’re a little nervous about the thought of camping outdoors at a music festival but what about you? Are you more of a city boy or do you like to get down with nature?
I am a total city boy but I have the heart of an outdoorsman for sure. I’m a total camping newb who hates spiders but I honestly cant think of many things I love more than being out with the elements.
What can you tell people to expect when they see your set at Bass Coast?
If everything goes right, something special.