RL Grime Talks His Debut LP ‘Void,’ Tour Life & Exploring New Sounds: Idolator Interview
RL Grime popped up on the music scene back in 2011 with full vengeance, thanks to his injection of menacing, hip-hop-influenced sound. Grime, whose real name is Henry Steinway, has made fiery remixes of songs by Kanye West, Rihanna and Chief Keef as well as collaborating with Baauer, Ryan Hemsworth and What So Not. Now the 23-year-old LA-based producer is finally gearing up for his anticipated debut LP release, simply titled Void (available on November 17).
I spoke to RL Grime about his experience with creating the new record, the camaraderie with his producer colleagues and his rise in the trap music world. Read what he had to say in our Q+A after the jump!
Your music has so many different sounds involved in it, so what did you like to listen to growing up? RL GRIME: I went through a lot of different music phases. I started out listening to classic rock when I was really young, then quickly got into rap music. I think rap is definitely the biggest influence in my music now.
One of my favorite remixes that you’ve done is for Rihanna’s “Pour It Up.” Of all your remixes of popular songs, do you have a favorite? RL GRIME: It’s probably the “Mercy” one, because that was a big milestone in my career. I got to make that with Salva too. It was the first when where everything felt very fresh and new in that whole scene. I just remember putting it out and feeling that we had something big.
I consider you one of the main artists to bring trap music into the mainstream. Do you think you’re responsible for bringing that sound forth? RL GRIME: I guess so, but there are a lot of people who contributed. But it’s funny to hear the radio now playing songs like [Katy Perry‘s] “Dark Horse” and stuff that sounds a lot like the music people were putting out a year or two ago. It’s now in a pop context, and it’s interesting to see how it works in the mainstream.
Is there an artist or producer you’d like to collaborate with in the future? RL GRIME: I’d love to do something with this guy from Hawaii, called Mr. Carmack — I’m a big fan of him. I really like Travi$ Scott and PartyNextDoor too.
So I follow both you and Ryan Hemsworth on Twitter, and you guys talk back and forth a lot. How did your friendship with him get started? RL GRIME: We’re really good friends! I met him online like three years back, because I was watching a Boiler Room that Lunice was performing at and he played a mashup that Ryan did. I emailed Ryan the next day, and we kept talking from there.
Let’s talk about the upcoming album, Void. “Reminder” was one of the first singles people got to listen to, and it’s unexpected for people who are familiar with your music. Why did you chose to go in that direction? RL GRIME: We wanted to put “Reminder” out as the second single, just because it was statement to show the album is not going to be filled with bangers. It’s not a compilation of 12 random songs of dance tracks that I made. [Void] is actually a cohesive project, and I wanted that to get across to people. And that’s why we put it out. It’s been cool to see [the response.] I didn’t know what do expect because it’s quite a change from some of the other stuff that I’ve made. It’s gotten me even more excited to put out the album.
What is the overall sound that we can expect from the new album? RL GRIME: I use a lot of breaks and there’s some drum and bass ideas in it. It’s just all the stuff that I’ve always wanted to make but never felt like I could put it out just as a single. There’s a lot of stuff that makes sense in the album’s context, but wouldn’t make sense if I just put it out alone. I think it’s pretty diverse. I’m just really excited for it.
Are there any other collaborations on it besides How To Dress Well? RL GRIME: I have a track with this producer named Djemba Djemba, and I worked with Boys Noize and Big Sean. We’re gonna put out the Big Sean song about a week before the album release.
You’re currently on the Void tour, were you prepped for it? RL GRIME: I’m so ready! I’ve almost had a month off from shows, which was the first time I’ve ever had that in almost three years. There was just a lot of relaxing and preparing. The sets are new and fresh too. I’m really, really excited.
Do you have any crazy stories from touring in the past? RL GRIME: Going on tour with Baauer and Ryan may have been the best tour. That was definitely a first time experience. We didn’t do anything that crazy, we’re all pretty mellow guys. We spent most of the nights watching horror movies and playing video games. Nothing too wild!
When you came up in the industry, you had a lot of hype surrounding you since your sound was so different. With this album, do you feel any pressure? RL GRIME: I think any artist would feel pressure putting out an album. I’ve just embraced it and I think it’s natural. Yea, I want people to resonate with the album but I’m not necessarily going to make something that I just know will do well and that I don’t have any passion behind. So it’s kind of walking that line between making everyone happy and also making yourself happy and be proud of what you’re doing.
If I opened up your iTunes, what would be some of the most played artists? RL GRIME: Definitely Drake, PartyNextDoor, James Blake, Boards of Canada, Tim Hecker. I listen to a lot of downtempo stuff in my free time because the music I make is really energetic for the most part, and it’s nice to have this totally different vibe when I’m traveling or alone at home.
How do you feel about the other producers in your field — like Diplo, Lunice and Shlohmo? Is there a good community vibe with producers? RL GRIME: There’s always been that vibe within the dance music scene. Everyone at some point or another has hung out or reached out to each other. It’s really just like a group of friends, there’s no serious beef or anything. It’s just good people making good music.
RL Grime’s VOID Tour Dates
November 7, 2014 – Syracuse NY – Westcott Theater November 8, 2014 – Buffalo, NY – The Waiting Room November 9, 2014 – Millvale, PA – Mr. Smalls Theater November 10, 2014 – Cleveland, OH – House of Blues November 12, 2014 – Columbus, OH – The Bluestone November 13, 2014 – Royal Oak, MI – Royal Oak Theatre November 14, 2014 – Chicago, IL – Concord Music Hall November 15, 2014 – St Louis, MO – Old Rock House November 16, 2014 – Urbana, IL – The Canopy Club November 18, 2014 – Milwaukee, Wisconsin – Turner Hall November 19, 2014 – Madison, Wisconsin – Majestic Theater November 20, 2014 – Minneapolis, Minnesota – Mill City Nights November 21, 2014 – Lawrence, KS – Granada Theater November 22, 2014 – Lincoln, NE – Bourbon Theater November 23, 2014 – Denver, CO – The Ogden December 10, 2014 – Houston, TX – Warehouse Live December 11, 2014 – Austin, TX – Emo’s December 12, 2014 – Dallas, TX – Southside Music Hall December 13, 2014 – Baton Rouge, LA – Varsity Theater December 14, 2014 – Atlanta, GA – Terminal West December 16, 2014 – Nashville, TN – Exit / In December 17, 2014 – Asheville, NC – The Orange Peel December 18, 2014 – Norfolk, VA – The NorVA December 19, 2014 – New York, NY – Terminal 5
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